Projects & Programs

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Council Minutes

Honor Roll


The Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council was formed in 2000. This Council enjoys a high level of partner collaboration with the Kern County Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Camp Erwin Owen (juvenile probation camp), private business and valley residents.

Our vision is to "Create a wildland fire safe community in the Kern River Valley". We will do this by "Providing awareness through education and information exchange, and facilitate interagency coordination, fire protection and fire safety projects within Kern River Valley".

The Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council has been incorporated as 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization since 2004 (Federal Tax ID# 56-2293142). The Council first applied for a federal grant in 2000. Including projects to be completed in 2009, the Council has obtained approximately $1,500,000 in grant funding through the National fire Plan supported by the U.S. Forest Service and BLM.

Here's what we've done so far:

1. Kern River Valley Community Fire Safe Plan ($25,000 - USFS): This Plan has identified myriad areas where fuel reduction is needed. The Plan has been instrumental in terms of applying for additional grants to assist with those specific recommendations. The Plan has been distributed to the Kern County Fire Department, BLM, Forest Service, our Kern County Supervisors, and KRVR and most recently referred to for the development of the Kern River Valley Specific Plan. Completed and officially endorsed by the Kern County Fire Department (also as a contract county for CalFire) and the Bureau of Land Management in February 2008.

2. KRV FSC Plan Coordinator ($50,000-BLM): The Coordinator position was needed to assist with the many projects the Council was undertaking and continues to be a viable component to the success of this Council.

3. Defensible Space Demonstration Lots ($27,000-BLM): Sixteen parcels throughout the Kern River Valley were chosen to help residents understand what defensible space should look like. Kern County Fire Department crews limbed up trees, chipped the down and dead fuels and cleared the lots of all grasses and flammable materials, leaving bushes spaced according to fire safe guidelines. Defensible Space Demonstration Lot signs were placed on each parcel. These lots will be maintained as a continuing reminder. Project completed November 2002.

4. Fuels Reduction Chipper Program ($30,000-BLM): A chipper was purchased for the purpose of having chipper day projects for Valley property owners associations and neighborhoods. Residents do their clearing, placing the cut vegetation by the side of the road. The material is chipped and is either hauled away or left in piles for the residents to use as mulch or for dust abatement. Projects have been completed throughout the Valley and will be an ongoing program. In addition, the chipper will be used to facilitate future fuel reduction grant projects. Chipper purchased in January 2003

5. Coordinator Extension ($50,000-BLM): The Coordinator position was extended to carry on with the myriad grants, educational outreach programs and the general business of the Council. (Note: Funding of this position is now an integral part of all grants).

6. Sawmill Fuel Reduction Grant ($122,500-BLM): This fuel reduction project is completed, treating 60 acres on private land. The project involved the brushing of the main interior roads to provide better access for emergency equipment and safer egress for residents. Additionally, a shaded fuelbreak was constructed on the east and south sides of the community to inhibit fire from outside entering the community or fire from within spreading outside. Project completed November 2004.

7. Myers Canyon Fuel Reduction Grant ($128,640-BLM): This fuel reduction project treated 30 acres of mostly private land (some BLM) which borders the Myers Canyon neighborhood in Bodfish. The grant also funded the development of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the Myers Canyon community. The plan addressed structure ignitability issues, fuels conditions, water systems and supply, evacuation routes and a pre-suppression plan for emergency responders. Project completed November 2004. The Myers Canyon Community Wildfire Protection Plan was officially appended to the Kern River Valley Community Wildfire Protection Plan as Appendix H in July 2009.

8. Rodgers Road Fuel Reduction Grant ($21,710-USFS): This fuel reduction project covered a five acre canyon between two housing developments and was identified in our Fire Safe Plan. Rodgers Road was a shaded fuelbreak project, an example within the Kernville community that fire safety does not have to mean removal of all vegetation. Project completed December 2004.

9. Alta Sierra Fuel Reduction Grant ($200,000-USFS): This fuel reduction project treated 80 acres comprised of private and Kern County Parks land surrounding a portion of Alta Sierra, a high wildfire risk mountain-summit community. This project will tie into a recent Forest Service fuels reduction project thus providing a perimeter fire break for this community. Project completed December 2004.

10. Alta Sierra Community Fire Safe Plan ($56,400-USFS): This grant allowed a thorough assessment of wildfire risks within the Alta Sierra community; an emergency evacuation plan; a fuels management plan and a small diameter timber market assessment and feasibility study. Project completed December 2004, and officially appended to the Kern River Valley Community Wildfire Protection Plan as Appendix I in July 2009.

11. Hungry Gulch Fuel Reduction ($96,000-BLM): This project involves the treatment of approximately 40 acres. It includes brushing of all roads within the community and a shaded fuelbreak surrounding the homes. In conjunction with a BLM fuelbreak, this project connects Hungry Gulch with the Sawmill Fuel break project. Project completed March 2007.

12. Kennedy Meadows Fire Safe Plan Grant ($36,000-BLM): The plan identified defensible space and other measures that homeowners can take to make their properties more fire resistant and the need for a roadside fuel reduction project to improve the safety of ingress and egress to properties and to provide fuel breaks that fire fighters can take advantage of in slowing the advance of a fire. Project completed April 2007.

13. Kennedy Meadows Roadside Hazard Reduction ($75,900-BLM): This project is the community fuel reduction project called for in the community fire safe plan. Project completed August 2008.

14. Bodfish Canyon Escape Route Hazard Reduction (Phase I - $99,400-BLM, Phase II - $112,400, and Phase III - $121,090): This project will improve the safety of ingress and egress to the Bodfish community over the only road serving the community. This became a three phase effort started in summer 2008with Phase III planned to be completed in early 2011.

15. Pala Ranches Community Shaded Fuelbreak ($116,800-BLM): Thirty five acres were mechanically treated on the western edge of the community with a combination of shaded fuelbreak, a reduction of heavy fuel concentrations in the gullies, drainages and other areas of high volume fuels. Project completed December 2009.

16. Piute Meadows Community Escape Route ($116,467-USFS): County Fire personnel determined that there were 5 miles of key arterial roads that need to be cleared to provide an adequate escape route for residents. Project completed December 2009.

17. Burma Interagency Extension Fuelbreak ($105,690-USFS): This 2010 project is to construct a shaded fuelbreak adjacent to and west of Kernville separating the homes from the Sequoia National Forest wildland. The project is designed to work in conjunction with the Sequoia National Forest to provide a shaded fuelbreak on public land around upper Kernville. Our Burma Extension Project is a shaded fuelbreak on private land that will connect with the Forest Service unit "B" which is 29 acres of completed fuels treatment.

18. Alta Sierra and Wofford Heights Fuel Reduction Project ($300,000-USFS): This 2010 Award of Domestic Cooperative Agreement is designed to develop roadside fuelbreaks, maintain an existing fuelbreak adjacent to the communities and to complete a slash cleanup project from a timber harvest. This is a three year effort.

19. Lake Isabella Community Defense Zone ($151,100-USFS): This project 2011 project will construct a defensible space shaded fuelbreak (37 acres) on the upper slope and immediately behind the community of Lake Isabella.

20. Mountain Shadows Interagency Defense Zone ($162,727-BLM): This 2011 project will construct a shaded fuelbreak (41 acres) between the communities of Mountain Shadows and Old State Road.

21. Defensible Space Demonstration and Assistance for Hardship Cases ($6,000-USFS): This 2011 Title II Award of Domestic Cooperative Agreement is intended to create defensible space demonstration lots on selected private properties that are highly visible and for which a hardship situation has been identified.

The Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council hosted a Firewise Community Workshop Conference in Bakersfield, California in January 2003, and a Home Ignitions Zone Workshop in Bakersfield, California in May 2009 immediately followed by a workshop in the Kern River Valley the following day.

A Student Conservation Association Team spent the summers of 2003, 2005, and 2008 in the Kern River Valley thanks to our BLM partner representative Deborah Santiago. This energetic group of young people visited various communities doing home and property fire risk hazard assessments. They assisted with chipper projects and became fully invested in the Fire Safe Council educational efforts...

Since April 2003 the Council has sponsored 35 Chipper Days in the communities and neighborhoods throughout the Kern River Valley.

Kern County Fire Department (a Fire Safe Council partner) has assisted in the development and publication of Living With Fire which has been distributed in the Kern River Valley every year since 2002. These informational inserts cover a wide range of material designed to help residents understand their wildfire risks and the steps needed to mitigate them.

The Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council has a speaker's bureau, giving fire safe/defensible space/home ignition zone educational presentations to private groups and several Valley organizations.

The Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, developed four roadside signs with nine rotating message boards to increase wildfire awareness for travelers entering the Kern River Valley along its major highways.

For further information about the Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council please contact Lloyd Smith at (760) 377-3542, attend our quarterly meeting or email us at

January 2011

Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council - Board and Agency Representatives

Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council ● PO Box 633, Kernville, CA 93238

General information: Judy Hyatt

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