CALL TO ORDER:
PINE/STRAWBERRY FUEL REDUCTION, INC. COMMUNITY MEETING
NOVEMBER 7, 2015
President Melvin Palmer called the meeting to order at 10:00 A.M. The meeting was held at the Pine Cultural Hall
Mel led the Pledge of Allegiance
MEMBERS PRESENT: Melvin Palmer (President), Mike Brandt (Vice-President), Jack Malloy (Secretary, Darwin Huber (Treasurer), Janet Brandt, Katie Calderon, Ron Calderon,
MEMBERS ABSENT: None
POWER POINT PRESENTATION: A LINK WILL TO THIS BE ON THE P/SFR WEBSITE (PSFUELREDUCTION.ORG) WITH THESE NOVEMBER 7, 2015 APPROVED MINUTES.
Darwin spoke to the power-point presentation outlining: -Who we are
-2015 Brush Pick-up Results
-Challenges for 2016 Brush Pick-up
THOUGHTS FROM PS FIRE DEPARTMENT’S CHIEF GARY MORRIS
The FD owns the brush pick-up equipment, truck, trailer and bobcat. They were obtained in 2005. The fuels program as existed in the past is a significant fire prevention program and he wants the FD to be able to support it as best they can. The equipment was leased to P/SFR on a one-dollar lease with P/SFR responsible for insurance coverage, fuel and maintenance. The failure of the engine this year was significant. “With the age of the truck we have, even with the new engine in it, you’ve got the future possibilities, because of wear and tear on it, hauling 20 tons at a time to the dump. There’s that possibility in the future that you’re going to have a breakdown in the middle of operations. Therefore, do we have the money to replace it? And if we get started and we have a breakdown and don’t have money, then we’ve got piles of stuff in the community that hasn’t been picked up. And how do we resolve that issue?”
The Chief mentioned on the down side donations are becoming less for a variety of reasons. At the same time there are other escalating costs for old equipment. Along with that, the County, as noted on the power-point, will no longer waive the dump fees. So, “we’re in a bit of a fix.”
The FD has been awarded a 90/10 grant to thin properties immediately adjacent to forest lands.
El Nino this winter will probably generate low-level grass that will get more and more dense as years progress.
The Chief noted the firebreak around Pine and Strawberry as a good buffer. However, fire coming in can throw firebrands 1-3 miles in front. While the FD is out on fire lines, if those drop on a property not firewised it can start fire inside community.
Chief Morris touched on an education program, as discussed at last Board meeting, to place more responsibility on property owners. Provide education in spring that it’s time to clean properties, and include firewise criteria. He also touched on the question of enforcement. He is having the Fire District’s attorney look into what the FD can and can’t do. As a government entity, the FD can adopt a fire code and can amend the fire code and include the firewise national standards in a fire code and possibly enforce, cite and fine.
P/SFR can be responsible to put out an annual mailer in the spring for voluntary firewising compliance. Then the FD can go out to properties and red tag if a property is not in compliance and leave a packet with what the owner needs to do and contact information. Over time, like 90 days or 12 months, follow up with the enforcement. This would not be a costly yet could have a high impact on the safety of the community.
COMMENTS FROM MEL
He and Mike will be meeting with all contractors interested in picking up individual owners brush. One idea is to have them pick up, in one zone at a time, all those property owners interested and charging each owner accordingly.
Also there is a need to complete the thinning of Arrowhead Canyon that poses a wildfire threat to Pine.
COMMENTS FROM MIKE
Brush pick-up started in 2005 with PSFD’s first grant (written by P/SFR) that would let owners have the DOC crew firewise their property at a 50% reduction in the cost and included was the brush pick-up, year around (NOTE: The brush pick-up was operated by the FD.) Those grants have dried up and it is now time for property owners to take on the responsibility. The recent funding by P/SFR (through donations only) (and the running) of the brush pick-up has completely consumed the other types of projects this organization has been involved with. (NOTE: Those projects can be found on the P/SFR web site psfuelreduction.org) Other projects of importance the brush pick-up has diverted funds from are pushing the forest back by increasing the fire break, creating new fuel breaks like Arrowhead Canyon, cleaning up Pine Creek Canyon of the dead, fallen brush and getting back to educating the community on firrewising techniques and their importance.
Even though the brush pick-up, in the form it is in now, is a great tool, it may be done in a different form and not take the amount of money and effort this current brush pick-up takes.
QUESTIONS / COMMENTS
- Disposition of Equipment?
-At present time not on FD Board agenda.
- Former assessment of 20% survivability in Pine. What is it now?
-Person who did the assessment is in the process of getting back to do a follow-up.
- Does FD still make individual property assessments? -Yes, that program is still in effect.
- P/SFR should take on a more positive approach when dealing with firewising.
- Cost/property owner to continue program?
-Year around about $20-30. P/SFR has looked into this without success on how to collect such a fee.
- People are already putting out brush piles in anticipation of a pick up next year.
-Max Foster agreed to inform in his column.
- Reduced fee at dump?
-That was a P/SFR hope. No dump fee reductions after 2015.
- Involvement of bike race funds for brush pick up?
-Separate projects with their own needs. The brush pick up project needs to be funded
independently from other P/SFR projects.
- If P/SFR employs people to do low cost thinning it will cut into those landscape services that already
-They come 20 at a time and were good for the large properties we helped thin from our community grants. As the property sizes became smaller it was more difficult to be able to use such a large crew. They will still be contacted when there are large enough properties to accommodate the crew at one time.
IDEAS FOR FUNDRAISERS
- Chairish event
- Chili Dinner
- Musical Festival & Dinner
- The Bear
- Casino Night
- Email to Darwin-Please let them know that I will do a fundraiser for the cause. I have a smoker/grill,
and I have already talked to the Strawberry market. I was thinking of setting up in front of the Strawberry market, and selling hamburgers, brisket, hotdogs…or whatever we want to sell. Just need to come up with a date. I am fully licensed to do so. I am cooking brisket/prime rib on the smoker November 14th for the free masons.Not sure if this would be a better spring time event, or whatever. I don’t think I will be available for the meeting on the 7th -Duane Ridl – Agent
ALTERNATIVES TO A P/SFR BRUSH PICK-UP
- FD adopts firewise code and FD enforce.
-FD attorney is looking into the feasibility of citing and fining.
- Get financial support from each property owner in P-S.
- Pick up trucks are all over the place. Get them involved.
- Lien sales on properties that don’t comply with FW code.
- Pay for services. Get people to do minimal wage brush clean up to reduce the cost of thinning.
Would volunteer expertise to organize this – Loren Peterson
- Work with those who make their livelihoods off of thinning to get cost reduced to a reasonable
- Pick up every other year and get the money now for the following year.
- Use DOC crews.
Mel adjourned the meeting at 11:15 A.M.
Respectfully submitted by Jack Malloy, P/SFR Secretary