July 3, 2010 (Crest) – How can you protect your community from wildfire at a time when firefighting budgets are being slashed? The community of Crest, which lost more than 300 homes during the 2003 Cedar Fire, provided a demonstration last week of how residents have banded together to protect properties and lives—before the next wildfire strikes.
Crest Fire Safe Council, along with a variety of community partners, has created a successful fuel reduction program that combines a variety of methods including goats, machines, and hand crews. Last week, residents completed the final portion of the 160-acre project.
To fund protection for their community, Crest property owners pay $370 a year above normal taxes (about $31 a month) to keep their fire station operational and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Crest residents also created a dedicated community safety website, emergency e-mail alerts, an emergency notification siren, and a community action plan that includes volunteers going door-to-door with handouts.
After 308 homes burned to the ground in 2003, the community was again threatened during the 2007 firestorms. Crest residents have vowed never again to be vulnerable to losing their homes and businesses.
To find a fire safe council in your community, visit http://www.firesafecouncil.org/find/index.cfm.