Alpine Fire Safe Council
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Markleeville Forest Fuels Project 2011—Phase 1
This project is to be conducted entirely within an urban forest setting, among and adjacent to homes within the Markleevillage and Shay Creek Subdivisions. Trees will be marked with the intent of reducing fuels/hazards to the existing structures and improvement of the overall health of the forest. Retention of vegetation for visual screening of adjacent homes will be given consideration, but will be a secondary consideration to the intent of the project.
The post treatment stand will be characterized by healthy, larger diameter, more fire resistant trees. This will reduce the possibility of a crown fire occurring and spreading to the adjacent trees given the event of a house fire or wild fire in moderate burning conditions. Severe or extreme burning conditions would require a treatment intensity that would be unacceptable to the homeowners.
Since this project is voluntary, participating landowners will have the ultimate decision whether or not to remove any marked tree, with the exception of vegetation required for removal as per California Public Resources Code section 4291.
Tree Removal Priority
Understory trees—saplings or shade tolerant species regenerating under the general overstory. Selected healthy individuals will be retained for screening and as replacement to overstory trees.
Suppressed trees—those of the same age as the larger overstory with a small, sparse live canopy.
Limbs—remove limbs from remaining trees from ground level up to 12’ or on smaller trees, remove no more than 1/3 of the live green crown.
Brush—remove all brush from within one full canopy diameter from any remaining tree.
Brush fields—remove brush to a spacing of 3 times the average height of the brush field between individual bushes. Bitter brush to be retained as forage for deer unless the stand is entirely Bitter brush, then the specified spacing will be established.
Tree Removal Priority (continued)
Hazard trees—trees in any canopy category (suppressed, intermediate, codominant or dominant) that are dead, live with dead tops, diseased, and
those adjacent to homes that are impinging on the roof or damaging the foundation.
Intermediate trees—those beneath the larger overstory trees that when removed will increase the distance between, or reduce the amount of canopy fuel that could carry fire between adjacent tree tops (crown fire).
Codominant trees—those that are of the general height of the overall stand. Removal of selected individuals will reduce the volume of fuel in the canopy and provide clear space between the crowns and reduce the possibility of fire being carried through the canopy. Ten feet of clear space between crowns will be the target distance, but given the urban nature of the stand, this may vary considerably.
Dominant trees—those that are obviously taller and larger than the adjacent trees. These would not be marked for removal unless they fall within the “Hazard” category.
Implementation of the above treatment prescription will not guarantee protection of homes or structures from damage in the event of unseen weakness in trees due to internal disease or mechanical damage or the event of house or wildfire. Such conditions are dependent upon numerous uncontrollable variables, such as weather, soil conditions, existing pathogens and available fire control personnel, etc. Accordingly, neither the Alpine Fire Safe Council nor the Consultant will be held liable for any damage or loss due to any of the above events.
Participating landowners are fully responsible for location of their property boundaries prior to any tree marking. Neither the Alpine Fire Safe Council nor the Consultant will be liable for any tree marked for removal on a non-participating property owner’s lot due to unclear property boundaries.
Reflective Address Signs Can "Save a Life"
During an emergency situation every second counts, which is why a clearly marked address sign that is visible both day and night is so important. Often house numbers are difficult to locate and cannot be seen at night or if the air is filled with smoke or blowing snow. Reflective address markers can easily be seen from the street and help emergency responders to help YOU in the event of an emergency. These markers will help save lives and protect your property.
If you would like to purchase a marker or get more information, contact Shirley Taylor at (530) 694-2681. The signs are $20.00 with all the proceeds from the sales to benefit the Alpine County EMS and the Woodfords and Markleeville Volunteer Fire Departments. The address markers are green metal signs with 4 inch white numbers and pre-drilled holes in the corners. Numbers can be positioned vertically or horizontally. They can be placed on posts, fences, trees or homes, preferably near the road. Thank you for your support!
Woodfords Tank Project
Alpine County Public Works Department has received grant funds to construct two 50,000 gallon water tanks in the Woodfords area. The grant funds are not sufficient to cover the entire cost of the projects. The Dept. of Public Works will approach the County to secure Developer Impact Fees to meet the balance of project costs. The County may also be asked to provide land for the site(s). Both tanks will be used primarily for fire fighting purposes. The County, USFS, BLM, and other fire agencies would have access to the tanks. A Mesa Vista tank would be filled by water tankers until a well comes on line. Access to the tank would be from a gravity fed hydrant. A Woodfords County Yard tank would most likely have access to the county well and power to pump to the Woodfords Fire Station.
Woodfords County Yard Tank:
One tank would be planned adjacent to the Woodfords Fire station on County owned property. Board approval for use of the land would be required.
Mesa Vista Tank:
One tank will be placed in the Mesa Vista Area. There are four potential sites considered feasible for tank construction (see map below.)
Site 1: The USFS has 40 acres located off Emigrant Trail that they would consider for a tank site. Access to the parcel would be through Washoe Tribal lands. It would be the intent to secure an easement along the Tribal property line for access for construction and maintenance. The tank would have a 6-8” line to gravity feed to a hydrant at Emigrant Trail. The water line would lie within the Tribal easement. The Tribe will be given a proposal for consideration and has walked the proposed project site. The Tribe has indicated that they may be willing to work with The County on the project. Consideration for the Tribe may be that the tank water would be potable and available to the Tribe for future development. The Tribe may also provide power and well water for the tank.
The USFS parcel was used by the County as a dump in the past. The location is in an area that will not disturb views for homeowners and no homes are currently near the property. The site is high enough to provide adequate hydrant pressure at Emigrant Trail. This tank site would serve the west end of the Mesa better than the east end.
Estimated Cost: $75,000
Site 2: A five acre parcel at the end of Gold Rush Trail is privately owned. The site is convenient since it is more near the center of the Mesa and has an emergency access to Highway 88. No easements would be required and all utilities are to the site. The owner would consider selling the parcel to the County. Caltrans would play a role in allowing access from Highway 88. The site is close to homes and within the Highway 88 view corridor.
Estimated Cost: $285,000 (including land purchase)
Site 3: The county and STPUD co-own 20 acres at the corner of River Ranch road and Highway 88. The site would provide excellent access from Highway 88 and the eastern side of the Mesa. The site is in a wetlands area with a high water table as well as being in the view corridor with homes nearby.
Estimated Cost: $120,000 (including infrastructure)
Site 4: A private landowner on Foothill Road has a pond which provides good pressure through a 6” line to his ranch. The owner has tentatively agreed to allow the County to tap the existing line on the Foothill Road right-of-way and install a hydrant there. This would provide a water source for the east side of the Mesa. There would be no tank required, but approximately $15,000 may have to be spent for the dredging of the pond, installation of the hydrant, and the screening of the inlet pipes.
Estimated Cost: $15,000
The Woodfords Tank Project was initiated as a result of the Mesa Vista/River Ranch Water Supply study. More information on this study can be found here.
Hot Springs Road Fuels Reduction
Hot Springs Road is the only exit from Markleevillage, Thornburg subdivision, Shay Creek subdivision and the Grover Hot Springs State Park. During the summer the number of residents and visitors that might need to evacuate in a hurry in the event of a catastrophic wildfire ranges from several hundred to over a 1,000. Reducing the fuels that have built up bordering the roadway will help keep fire from blocking Hot Springs Road when it is most needed as the only evacuation route.
Most of the first part of this project is on private land, and the permission of the landowners will be critical to completing the project.
Note: In 2005, the Alpine Fire Safe Council received grant funds to carry out this project. While Sierra Pacific Power was able to complete their portion of the project, lack of cooperation from the primary landowners along Hot Springs Road resulted in a premature termination of the project and forfeiture of the grant funds. The primary objective (securing safe public access during a wildfire) was not met and remains to be completed.
However due to snow and other reasons some residents were not able to complete their fuels reduction during those two months, and stricter air quality regulations will eventually not permit the open burning that has been done in the past. Thanks to a $9,000 grant from the Resource Advisory Committee the Alpine Fire Safe Council is able to keep the burn pile open an additional two months. In addition we are exploring alternatives to both the location and to burning it, which hopefully will eventually lead to a year round solution.
This program which was begun by the Markleeville and Woodfords Fire Departments is the most successful fuels reduction program in the County. A copy of the 2006 Performance Report for the burn pile may be viewed here.
Update Community Fire Plan
The Alpine County Community Fire Plan has been completed and updated. All communities are required to have community fire plans that deal with the risk related to catastrophic wildfires. National and State Fire Plans mandate legitimate community-based planning efforts with full stakeholder participation, coordination, project identification, prioritization, funding review, and multi-agency cooperation. In the past fire planning has been done by federal and state agencies with little meaningful input from the community and other stakeholders.
Future funding for projects in Alpine County related to reducing the risk due to catastrophic wildfires will depend on having a good Community Fire Plan.
The Alpine Fire Safe Council has been able to complete this update due to $10,000 in funding provided through the Resource Advisory Committee and $2,500 in funding provided through Alpine County. The ultimate source of the funds is the federal Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000.
The Alpine County Board of Supervisors adopted the Community Fire Plan at their June 5th board meeting.
Hot Springs Road Evacuation Plan
An evacuation plan has been developed and implemented for the residents as well as the visitors to Grover Hot Springs State Park. You can download a copy of the Hot Springs Road Evacuation Plan (443 KB) and maps (459 KB) here.
Courtesy Fire Safe Reviews
In the meantime, contact us for a free Courtesy Fire Safe Review.
This page last updated August 16, 2012