County continues to work on wildfire preparedness

Debra Moore
Staff Writer


When fire breaks out in Plumas County, residents need evacuation plans and now three areas have them: Greenhorn, Lake Davis Highlands and Mohawk Vista.

Sue McCourt, the county’s fire prevention specialist, worked with local fire departments, the Forest Service, CalFire and a geographic information system specialist to map the communities and highlight evacuation routes.

“The routes would change depending on fire direction,” McCourt told the Board of Supervisors on Feb. 18.

McCourt provides regular updates of her activities to the board.

In addition to evacuation routes, McCourt is working with communities to receive Firewise certification. The designation means that the communities have taken steps to become more fire resilient.

The Graeagle Fire Protection District, Gold Mountain, Lake Almanor Country Club and Lake Almanor West have already received the distinction, while Greenhorn is working to attain it.

During an interview Feb. 27, McCourt said that the Firewise program puts the future of the community “in local hands.”

“Neighbors have more sense of an awareness of how working together benefits all of them,” McCourt said.

Her work dovetails with CalFire’s ramped-up education and inspection program set to begin this spring.

Funded by the $150 CalFire fee, Shane Vargas, CalFire’s fire captain for Plumas, Lassen and Modoc, and four inspectors will focus on making Plumas County residences more fire resilient by going house to house in various neighborhoods where they will share information and inspect the properties to ensure that they meet safety standards.

The inspections begin April 1 and in the upcoming weeks, Vargas will share tips about how to prepare homes for fire season.

Vargas and McCourt are also working with a host of organizations to participate in the Meadow Valley Wildland Fire Drill planned for Sunday, June 1.

The Forest Service, Meadow Valley Fire Department, the sheriff’s department, public works, public health, the Red Cross, search and rescue, radio operators and others will be involved in this large exercise.

All of the activities are designed to ensure that Plumas County is better prepared for fire season.

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