Work on 1.5 miles of fuel breaks along the access road leading to Mountain Meadows Reservoir is underway by Holt Logging, Inc., of Westwood. Photo submitted

Work on reservoir fire break begins

Work on 1.5 miles of fuel breaks along the access road leading to Mountain Meadows Reservoir between Westwood and Clear Creek begins with a grant obtained by Lassen County Fire Safe Council in partnership with the Clear Creek Community Services District fire prevention project.

Holt Logging, Inc., of Westwood, is doing the work.

Funds for the project come from the California Climate Investments Initiative administered by CalFire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to improve public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

More than 1,000 acres have already been treated within and around the local region involving the removal of a large volume of dead and dying trees, understory, and surface and ladder fuels that posed a threat to infrastructure in the event of a wildland fire.

Tom Esgate, managing director of the Lassen County Fire Safe Council said the fuel break along the road that provides access to Mountain Meadows Reservoir between Clear Creek and Westwood will reduce wildland fire risk for 979 habitable structures within the 5,404-acre project area, a Wildland Urban Interface Zone which is ranked as high priority.

The project will not only reduce the risks associated with wildfire to habitable structures by reducing the potential for ember showers raining down on the communities of Clear Creek, Westwood and Pine Town, but officials will also identify any additional assets at risk that will benefit from the project, said Esgate.

These may include, but are not limited to, domestic and municipal water supplies, power lines, communication facilities and community centers.

Once completed on or around March 15, 2020, and with removal of dense understory lowering the risk of utility-caused ignitions, the threat of wildfire spreading will not only substantially reduce fire hazards but also at the same time will improve ingress and egress along roads used by the public and also used for fire suppression activities.

Safer evacuation routes for community residents and Mountain Meadows Reservoir visitors will also be a positive outcome of the clearing.

The fuel break project is aligned with the implementation of goals set forth by the Westwood-Clear Creek Community Fire Safe Plan: removal of vegetation that poses a threat to habitable structures.

For more information on the project, call Tom Esgate at 310-0146 or email him at: [email protected]