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Escaping 2015 Napa/Lake County Fire

A YouTube video (above) posted by a resident escaping the Anderson Springs neighborhood of Lake county during the Valley Fire on September 10th, 2015 shows startling similarities to what could happen within Skyline Blvd communities during an serious fire emergency.  The video shows ground cover and tree canopies both engulfed in flame as the resident comes out of his neighborhood onto Highway 175.  Once fire gets into the tree canopies it is very dangerous to traverse roads through the fire.  

Not unlike what it might be for you exiting your neighborhood onto Highway 35?  Unless we take steps toward prevention of such disasters.

A South Skyline FireSafe Council sponsored project in the summer of 2014 cleared a Shaded Fuel Break along Skyline Blvd from the San Mateo county border (2 miles north of Highway 9) north to Rapley Ranch Rd (Fogerty Winery).  A fuel break cannot guarantee safe passage for residents and emergency vehicles during a fire, but it can increase the likelihood.  The project supervised by SSFSC volunteers and CalFIRE fire crews, CalTrans highway workers thinned trees of less than 6" in diameter and trimmed branches of others up to 8ft into trees.  It is shaded in that large trees are left fully intact so as not to detract from the rural feel and California Scenic Highway designation. 

SSFSC Skyline Blvd. Shaded Fuel Break Project 2014

2014 SSFSC Skyline Blvd Shaded Fuel Break Project

Ground cover such as coyote brush and Scotch broom were removed.  All debris was chipped and either scattered or trucked away (much of it used as mulch by local residents).  Crews spent 10 hrs per day, 4 days per week for two months except when CalFIRE crews were pulled away to respond to local fires.  One or two 12 member crews from the Ben Lomand CalFIRE Camp worked with SSFSC volunteers that provided direction and supervision.

Anderson Springs Neighborhood Before the Valley Fire

Get involved with SSFSC to help protect the South Skyline area.

You can train to become a CalFIRE supervisor for follow-on projects in our area.  Contact SSFSC for more information.  If your area would like to put together a grant proposal to create a shaded fuel break in your area, again contact us at SSFSC. Sign up for the Free Chipping Days to support creating a defensible space around your home.