County needs to pick up the pace preparing for tough fire season

Feather Publishing

CalFire inspectors begin visiting residents next month, and in their wake property owners will be trimming trees, removing debris and raking up pine needles. The inspections are part of CalFire’s effort to make Plumas County communities more resilient to wildfire. But ticking off the items on CalFire’s checklist might be an expensive and time-consuming process depending on the size and state of the property.

The ability to meet CalFire requirements could be even more difficult and costly for Quincy area residents because Sierra Pacific Industries no longer accepts green waste as it prepares to build a new sawmill.

That means the only remaining option for most Quincy residents is the transfer station, which will accept yard debris as solid waste, subject to the same fees as household garbage. Not only is it expensive, but the waste isn’t diverted and used to produce energy or other products.

The mill stopped accepting waste in November and the Plumas County supervisors immediately began discussing the need to find alternatives, not only for Quincy but potentially countywide.

At the end of January the supervisors endorsed Public Works Director Bob Perreault’s recommendation to issue a request for proposals to see what solutions might be out there. Nearly two months later, that request for proposals is being published. Once ideas are submitted they must be evaluated, and, all the while, the clock is ticking.

Local, state and federal agencies are gearing up for a severe fire season. It’s of paramount importance that homeowners do whatever they can to make their homes as safe as possible. Sparks and embers spread far in advance of a fire, and if they land in a vulnerable area, such as in a woodpile stored next to a house or a tree branch that overhangs a roof, the result could be devastating.

But individuals need help. They need a place to take this debris. Dooryard debris burning is not allowed in many areas, and isn’t a preferred solution. Others can’t afford to pay transfer station disposal costs. Officials fear that could lead to illegal debris dumping, which only adds fuel to an already dry forest and comes with the risk of fines.

We encourage the supervisors to make this a priority — both for the short term and the long term. Fire danger is here to stay and to prevent the devastation that has destroyed communities throughout the West, we must be proactive, and minimize the danger.

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