Local News: Upcoming Brush Removal Program

Starting this coming Monday, March 7, 2016, thanks to a $190,000 Cal Fire grant won by our Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Fire District, clearing work will begin on all roads in Mi Wuk Village and Sugar Pine.  The grant money comes from the SRA fee that we’ve been paying the last few years.  It’s nice to really see some of those dollars actually coming back to our community.

The Fire District has hired Hope’s Tree Service, out of Groveland, to do the project.  (Yes, this project was put out for bids.)  This also keeps those SRA funds within Tuolumne County.

The easements (county property) adjacent all roads will be cleared of flammable vegetation and overgrowth increasing both visibility and accessibility for all vehicles during a wildfire.   The crew WILL NOT BE REMOVING ANY PINE NEEDLES from your property or piles that you may place by the roadside, nor will they be touching any growth on private property.  Obvious ornamental plants placed by the homeowner in the easement area will not be disturbed unless it’s just trimming within the confines of the specs for the project.

What exactly will be done?

  • The work will begin on Pine Lake Road starting at Sugar Pine Road, continuing to Yellow Pine Road and Hekeke Lane and then move around the perimeters of Mi Wuk on the various Lama Roads.  Lama Teumete, Lama Hisum and Lama Tamalin.
  • The work will remove all dead and dying plant material within ten feet of the roadway.  Groundcover will be trimmed down to below four inches.
  • All vegetation over the road will be removed to fifteen feet above the road surface.

When work begins (March 7th) a Site Supervisor will be available to meet with homeowners and residents who want to know more about what will or will not be done.

Firefighters are not involved in the project unless the fire conditions require that a fire engine be present for operation.

What can you do to help?  Flag your property boundary stakes marking your property to prevent encroachment on private property.

Throughout this project you may call the Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Prevention phone number, 209-586-5158, and leave a message or email prevention@mwspfire.us.  Calls and emails will be responded to as soon as possible.

This road clearing project will complement the ongoing PRC 4291 defensible space inspection program.  This year’s inspections will begin on May 1st.  This inspection program was also fortunate to have won a small grant which will allow for two paid part time supervisor positions.  That translates as having knowledgeable leaders out with inspection teams (known as VIPs who are also quite knowledgeable) hopefully 5-6 days/week to get our properties compliant.  We hope to complete the first round inspections in May with second round (those who had round 1 non-compliant items to fix) inspections starting in June.

Here’s where we need your help.  We are looking for additional volunteer defensible space inspectors for this project.  Training is provided.  The more inspectors we have, the faster we can cover the community properties and then begin second round re-inspections.  We hope to complete initial inspections in May.  Remember–this program, set up by Cal Fire, is created to make our community as fire safe as possible.  We know where we live…..in a forest.  But that doesn’t mean we have to be careless or negligent in clearing our space of pine needles, debris, low hanging dead limbs etc etc etc.

By involving our community in getting their properties cleared we can look insurance providers in the eye and show them the ISO rating we are earning due to cleared properties.  The rating in our Mi Wuk Sugar Pine District has gone from a 5 to a 4 (the lower the better) in the last few years and that’s fabulous for us as homeowners.

The property inspection program is a Cal Fire program but there is also a small (as in s-m-a-l-l) office set up at the Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Station to take your calls and answer any concerns you might have.  209-586-5158

You can always direct any questions to me as a comment to this post.  Or just send me an email.  blythek@mac.com   I can find the answers quickly since I have “connections”.  (You’re supposed to laugh here!)

Let’s cross our fingers for snow this weekend!  It’s a possibility.

Blythe's snow signature

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