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Office of Emergency Services

Posted on: February 26, 2021

Nevada County Couple Develops Defensible Space Along Evacuation Route

Paul and Nancy

Nevada County’s Defensible Space Inspection program creates safer evacuation routes and properties by educating homeowners on the importance of defensible space. Over the past several months, the Nevada County Defensible Space Inspection (DSI) team has been busy completing hazardous vegetation inspections along private roadways. Eliminating overgrown ladder fuels and dense vegetation along roadways provides critical access for large emergency vehicles, like fire trucks, and maintains safe evacuation routes for homeowners and neighbors in the event of a wildfire.

In December, inspectors visited a home with a private roadway which connected to Newtown Road in Nevada City, not far from the site of the Jones Fire.  After the inspection, homeowners Paul and Nancy received a letter from the Defensible Space Inspection team letting them know their road did not have adequate defensible space to meet the Nevada County Hazardous Vegetation Abatement Ordinance.

The couple reached out to the County Defensible Space team to determine what should be done to make their home and roadway safer.  In coordination with Paul and Nancy, the Defensible Space team developed a plan and flexible timeline to make the property more resilient to wildfire and ultimately bring their property into compliance with the local ordinance.  

Before (1)

Paul and Nancy were aware that the dry, dense vegetation along the edge of their roadway needed to be addressed. They were not aware that the Nevada County Hazardous Vegetation Ordinance requires removal of vegetation ten feet laterally on either side of the road and fifteen feet vertically from the edge of the road.  

Paul and Nancy, both in their 80s, brought their road into compliance by clearing approximately five hundred and fifty feet of hazardous vegetation along their roadway.  They tackled this work by committing an hour and half of work each day with an electrical reciprocating saw and handheld loppers.  As a result of this abatement, they transported forty-one pickup truckloads of green waste to their burn pile.  Paul and Nancy admit it was very hard work, but they are pleased with the outcome of their efforts to build defensible space along their roadway.  

The Office of Emergency Services thanks Paul and Nancy for their heroic hard work reducing the threat of wildfire around their home.

If you or a loved one have concerns about maintaining defensible space in Nevada County, information and resources to help get you started can be found here.

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