Wildfire preparedness a top concern for Sierra Nevada counties

May 6, 2021 | Regional Updates

This week is Wildfire Preparedness Week, and with the weather heating up, fire is at the forefront of people’s minds in rural Sierra Nevada communities.

We recently spoke with our county supervisor Boardmembers about wildfire risk in their counties. Their concerns include the destruction of people’s homes and businesses, damage to critical water supply infrastructure, and skyrocketing fire insurance for homeowners.

man talking in front of burned trees
Supervisor Magsig of Fresno County spoke to us from the Creek Fire burn area, where charred trunks and blackened empty lots are all that remain of a forested community. He stressed the need for more state-supported fuel reduction projects, like those near Shaver Lake that helped save lives during the Creek Fire, and an SNC-funded project starting this summer that will restore wildfire resilience to giant sequoia groves that contain the largest trees in the world.
woman standing outside in front of grass, bushes, trees, a flagpole and a few buildings in the distance
Supervisor Smallcombe shared the toll that wildfire risk has on everday life in Marisposa County, where the county seat narrowly escaped disaster in the 2018 Detwiler Fire. She finds that simple interactions, like shopping, often turn into conversations with her constituents regarding their wildfire concerns.

Amid these challenges, these county supervisors remain hopeful. Recent projects funded by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy demonstrate that fuels reduction projects help protect our rural communities from wildfire. And with more funding proposed for forest health and wildfire resilience work, more of this vital work can get done.

man standing in front of a street lines with gold rush era buildings and businesses
Supervisor Roen discussed how a recent SNC-funded fuel reduction project has improved evacuation options for some Sierra County residents, and how the North Yuba Forest Partnership is poised to expand forest and wildfire resilience across a 275,000 acre landscape that’s extremely vulnerable today.

Stay tuned—SNC will be sharing a series of video interviews with our boardmembers on our social media platforms in the coming weeks.