Seashore Continues to Assist Marin Communities with Wildland Fire Protection through the National Fire Plan
Contact: Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133
The National Park Service announced today that two community partnership projects will receive continued funding this fiscal year to achieve greater wildland fire protection in the vicinity of Point Reyes National Seashore, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and neighboring open space lands.
The two projects which have received grant funding are:
The Cascade Canyon project provides a shaded fuel break along existing fire roads and removes fuel from areas near homes surrounding the Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve. These fuel reduction efforts will reduce the wildfire hazard on public land and provide safer access for firefighters during suppression actions if a wildfire does occur. Understory shrubs, dead trees and other heavy fuels will be removed. Trees will also be limbed up to remove “ladder fuels”, so that lower branches will not carry fire from the ground into tree tops. These fuel treatments were recommended in the 2002 Cascade Canyon / White Hill Preserves Management Plan. Cascade Canyon also received $45,000 in 2003.
The Olema Slash Debris Disposal Program provides a temporary transfer site for residents to drop off vegetation removed from around homes to create defensible space. Since the community lost its only refuse site, the slash Debris Disposal Program has been operated on National Park Service land at the corner of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and Highway 1 in Olema. The site will be staffed by Marin County Fire Department personnel, and will be open for five weekends in the early part of fire season. Chipping and final disposal of the debris will also be managed by Marin County Fire Department. This program supports the efforts of homeowners to remove fuel on their property. A minimum of 30 feet of defensible space around structures is called for under the public resource code. The Olema Slash Debris Disposal Program also received $20,000 in 2001 and $20,000 in 2003.
Federal funding for these projects is provided through the Wildland-Urban Interface Program, a component of the National Fire Plan. Combined with the two previous years, over $2 million dollars has been allocated for wildland fire protection in communities located near parklands in Marin County. The National Fire Plan focuses on reducing hazardous fuels in places where fuel accumulation threatens communities and wildlands with increased potential for wildfire.
The 2004 projects are a collaborative effort between Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County Fire Department, and Marin County Open Space District. Administration of the projects is accomplished through a cooperative agreement between the National Park Service and FIRESafe MARIN, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing wildland fire hazards and improving fire safety awareness in Marin County, California. The environmental planning for the projects is coordinated by the National Park Service.
Regarding the recent funding allocation, Ken Massucco, Chief of Marin County Fire Department says, “The wildfires in San Diego last fall should be a reminder to all of us here in Marin, that we need to be prepared.”
Don Neubacher, Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore, stated, “The National Fire Plan is a cooperative program. Getting all the stakeholders involved is very important in all aspects of fire management for both community protection and natural resource management. We are fortunate to have very strong partnerships in Marin working together on everything from water to fire to tourism.”
For more information on the National Fire Plan, please visit www.fireplan.gov.