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I had a great opportunity last week to spend valuable time with California partners including the [California Fire Safe Council | http://www.firesafecouncil.org/] staff (who serve as the state's [Firewise liaison | http://submissions.nfpa.org/firewise/fw_state_liaisons.php]) and staff of the [Sacramento Metro Fire District | http://metrofire.ca.gov/] (who have hosted numerous offerings of NFPA's Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone workshop). Luckily I was also near a place that is an excellent example of a local Fire Safe Council using Firewise principles and the [Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program | http://www.firewise.org/usa] with great success.
Carbon Canyon was first recognized in 2009, more than 5 years ago. It's a longstanding community of about 3,000 residents that straddles three counties: San Bernardino, Orange and Los Angeles. Jim Powderly, Fire Prevention Officer/Investigator with the Chino Valley Fire District , welcomed Katie Martel of the California Fire Safe Council and me for a briefing at the fire department offices and brought along local Fire Safe Council volunteers Reyna George and Ray Marquez (also a Chino Hills city council member).
Not only did the district welcome us warmly, the folks involved also gave us a crash course in how a motivated community gets things done. We reviewed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) document created by volunteers that was one of the more readable and action-oriented local plans that I have encountered. They showed us photos of a recent fuel reduction project on Carbon Canyon Creek accomplished by partnering with the Santa Ana Watershed Association for a win-win-win-win on fire safety, environmental quality, flood control and community amenity. We also saw an illustrated list of recent accomplishments, from fire safety signs to brush clean-up days to fire safe gardens to invasive weed removal.
Jim Powderly reflected on how the local Fire Safe Council embraced Firewise and in return earned not only the formal recognition, but also the respect of the city council and others for this small "bedroom" community which helped in its partnerships and accomplishments. This is one area that is truly on its way to being a Fire Adapted Community .
A big thanks to Jim and his crew of staff and volunteers for sharing these wonderful successes! Look for more about Firewise success stories in California coming soon.
Photo by Massiel Ladron De Guevara, Chino Valley Fire District. Left to right: Katie Martel, California Fire Safe Council; Michele Steinberg, NFPA; Reyna George, Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council; Jim Powderly, Chino Valley Fire District.</p>