MENDOCINO Co, CA, 2/3/23 — After a November community engagement meeting helped Cal Fire identify where to build fuel breaks across Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF), the state agency will hold a second community meeting on Feb. 7 to share how staff have incorporated residents’ feedback into the Fuel Treatment Project Plan. The meeting at the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Station will also include presentations from State Parks Wildfire and Forest Resilience Program, the University of California Cooperative Extension, and the Mendocino Fire Safe Council.
Many coastal residents were concerned about fire hazards in the Mitchell Creek area, and Cal Fire confirmed by news release that the agency is assessing the forest fuels in that neighborhood.
Also at the last meeting, some residents asked for clearer data around the effectiveness of fuel breaks. Firefighters create breaks like these when making a stand against wildland fires; Doing that work ahead of time is meant to save valuable hours and also increase firefighters’ familiarity with a given landscape. However, a study in 2011 found that fires stopped at fuel breaks 46% of the time, and only when firefighters were present.
“University of California Cooperative Extension will cover general fuel break effectiveness and ecological impact research, as well as upcoming opportunities [like] community pile burning classes,” Cal Fire representatives wrote in a news release.
In addition to giving an overview of its own projects and plans, State Parks will attend because some of the key areas for fuel breaks in JDSF border State Parks land. “Interagency collaboration will be vital,” the news release explained.
These meetings also serve to connect residents with community organizations to aid in at-home fire resilience. The Mendocino Fire Safe Council will be on hand to talk about coordinating fire readiness efforts that start at the household level.
“These fuel breaks will work best if they are planned and implemented in collaboration with JDSF’s neighbors,” the agency wrote online.
Anyone interested can attend the meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Mendocino Volunteer Fire Station, 44700 Little Lake Rd, Mendocino. A webinar option will be available for those unable to attend in-person. Email [email protected] to request a link.
Note: Kate Fishman covers the environment & natural resources for The Mendocino Voice in partnership with a Report For America. Her position is funded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino, Report for America, & our readers. You can support Fishman’s work with a tax-deductible donation here or by emailing [email protected]. Contact her at KFishman@mendovoice.com or at (707) 234-7735. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.