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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 email@example.com