Authored by: Faith Berry, Fire Adapted Communities Ambassador
In 2008 the Camp Fire, part of the Lightning Complex, originated in Plumas County and traveled into Butte County scorching 60,000 acres. It also destroyed over 200 homes and took a life. It affected the Concow side of the Yankee Hill Concow Firewise Community that is also a Firesafe Council. Before the fire occurred, residents in Concow had fortunately taken a multi-pronged fire adapted approach to reducing their risk by participating in the Firewise Community program, writing and implementing a a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, performing mitigation activities such as limbing up trees and properly spacing them, hardening homes, implementing Ready, Set, Go! principles, and identifying water sources with their local fire departments.
On the night of July 7th 2008, the fire decimated 350 acres of an unmanaged treed lot, threatening the homeowner across the street as the fire crowned in the trees. Fire burned through so hot that mature conifers perished, resulting in a clear cut brush field.
Because the homeowner has been a good steward of her property through Firewise landscaping techniques, (limbing and spacing trees, eliminating ladder fuels), most of her mature trees survived even though there are still fire scars visible on the bark. The fire went from a crown fire from the decimated neighboring property across the street and dropped to the ground on the homeowner’s Firewise property, lowering the intensity of the fire. Her home also has well watered landscape and the building materials are fire resistive. In addition, she had an approved water source that was identified. This combination helped her home's chance of survival, and illustrates the value of preparing your home through Firewise principles before a wildfire event.
I recently attended a workshop in this community where residents discussed how they could capitalize on their Firewise Community efforts and increase their resilience even more in the event of another wildfire event. They looked at the steps listed on the Fire Adapted Communities website, and in the new Fire Adapted Community brochure to see what additional ways they could increase their resilience.
Is your community prepared in the event of a wildfire? Take action today and learn how you can be better prepared, have better plans and work collaboratively with agency partners start by visiting the Fire Adapted Community Website www.fireadapted.org, where you can also learn about the Firewise Communities and Ready Set Go! programs. "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." — Benjamin Franklin. Protect your home and the lives of those you love.