Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Council making Sand Ridge fire safe

DSC_1500e

NASHVILLE-SAND RIDGE Fire Safe Council members,left to right, are Gary Peters, Linda Colombo, Fire Safe Council President Miles Matlack, Chairman Suz Walker. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene

By
From page A1 | May 08, 2013 | 3 Comments

Where once was brush and overhanging branches along Sand Ridge Road, thanks to the Greater Sand Ridge Firewise Watershed Council, there is now open space.

In 2005, the Nashville-Sand Ridge Fire Safe Council began the work of clearing defensible space in case of fires. Over the past decade, multiple fires have used the brush and overhanging branches as fuel and as a way to jump over roads, burning more area, Linda Columbo, former chair of the council said.

Work began in earnest two years ago, and picked up even more last summer, when the western half of the road was annexed, covering 12.54 miles and two fire district jurisdictions. The council was tasked with clearing foliage from Highway 49 to Bucks Bar Road.

Thanks to grants and help from Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, Diamond Springs and Pioneer fire districts and the Sand Ridge community, areas began to clear of fire fuel. Miles Matlack, president of the council, noted that in some cases, if the council put up 25 percent of the cost to remove the brush, the government would assist by backing the other 75 percent of the funds. From there, it was up to the community to allow access to individual properties.

Although the main focus of the project was to clear Sand Ridge  Road, a secondary project was to clear alternate route loops in case traffic from those trying to escape the fire clogged the road.

“We still have more to do,” Matlack said.

The goal for each property was to create 30 feet of defensible space from the road into the properties and to clear the road of overhanging branches between 10 and 14 feet up, which could interfere with fire engines racing to a fire. When a neighbor would see the space cleared and that it “looks like a park,” Columbo said, a chain reaction would start. They would clear their land with help from the council or in some cases by themselves, and their neighbor would see the results and do the same, and so on, said current Council Chair Suz Walker. “It’s phenomenal,” she said.

Plus, Walker said, “People help for the sake of fire safety.”

“We had to get them tuned in,” chimed in council member Gary Peters, whose property is at the junction of Highway 49 and Sand Ridge Road and was one of the first to start clearing.

“I’m so proud,” Columbo said of those helping clear the road. “We couldn’t do it if they all didn’t sign on.”

The last progress report of the council will be on May 31. Although many property owners have cleared space, leaving visibility on the road greatly improved, there are still those who have not joined the effort. The council hopes that, by then, those resisting will see the benefits of clearing foliage and help make the length of the road not only beautiful, but defensible against fires.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

  • Ernie LouisMay 07, 2013 - 12:54 pm

    Way to go Sand Ridge. We can make things a lot safer for us all with a little help from our friends. You did the right thing and As you said: “Thanks to grants and help from Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, Diamond Springs and Pioneer fire districts and the Sand Ridge community, areas began to clear of fire fuel. Miles Matlack, president of the council, noted that in some cases, if the council put up 25 percent of the cost to remove the brush, the government would assist by backing the other 75 percent of the funds. From there, it was up to the community to allow access to individual properties.” Supervisor Ray Nutting is being accused by Joe Harn and Vern Person that this is illegal and they may include you in their investigation of Ray. All good deeds will not go un-punished according to our elected auditor and DA. Good luck to us all. And BTW – Good Job! Ernie Louis

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • LarryMay 08, 2013 - 9:14 am

    Thank you to all of the Sand Ridge residents for taking advantage of this opportunity and making it a safer place to live. Thank you to the council for making this possible, and for your continuing support. It is unfortunate that the resident who has had the most fires on this long road (the last three major ones, in fact) has denied residents near his vast property the safety of having his cleared. I truly hope he has a change of heart and allows the clearing of the property, especially considering it's not just his property he is affecting by his decision.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Walking TallMay 08, 2013 - 9:26 am

    Damage control huh Ray, lets put it all out there and have an audit of the three million that has gone to Fire Safe Council of El Dorado County. Let's see wher the money has gone and while we are at it let's see all the Fire Permits, Timber Harvest Permits and then show the Forester Plan and what has been done to comply with the rules and the application. We know that Ray has said he didn't have anything to do with the different Council locations. But then why did Ray attend the meetings and suggest that they apply for the grants and with no accountability for the money for other councils. We do have the minutes to tell us what really happened and upon what Ray recommended, I am sure that the DA also has these documents in their 500 pages of supporting documents. Just follow the money and who has benefited from it and the picture will be clear, you can't remember Ray well look it up and see that on 10/2/2010 you did attend and did recomend that the FSC apply, so you did do more than just clean your property huh. I am sure that the grants are just the tip of the iceberg and that the DA has much more that you and David Wiener will have to answer for, just tell the truth Ray and it will set you free, from the twelve years of lies and money.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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