January 2005

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General Meeting

January 20, 2005

Those present: Marcine Hughes, Robin Wyatt-Little, Richard Olson, Sandy and Charles Stockinger, Ed Royce, Jim Bauer, Margie Clack, John Smith, Ken Stevens, Jim Davis, Dave Bacalis, Emily Diggles, Delores Walmer, Debbie Santiago, Sue Rocha, Angie Yearwood, Dan Dumas, Jennifer Mata, Eric Hutchins.

Meeting convened by President Marcine Hughes at 8:30 A.M.

Minutes of November 18, 2004 were read. Motion to accept: Emily Diggles – 1st. Delores Walmer – 2nd. Unanimous approval. Minutes on file.

Treasurers’ Report given by Robin in Sharon Rooney’s’ absence. Total balance on hand is $95,458.21. Of this amount approximately $1,000.00 is the FSC operating account, the balance being grant funds for the Myers Canyon fuel reduction project. Motion to accept: Robin Wyatt-Little – 1st. Jim Davis – 2nd. Unanimous approval. Report on file.

Grant Administrator Report: Rich Olson reports that four grant applications are being submitted to the Grant Clearinghouse for consideration:

1.      Kennedy Meadows Community Fire Safe Plan – 30K

2.      Plater Road fuel reduction/chipper project – 53K

3.      Tillie Creek fuel reduction/fuel break project – 103K (this project will tie in with Forest Service and BLM fuel reduction projects providing a continuous fuel break to Old State Road.

4.      Hungry Gulch fuel reduction/road brushing project – 108K ( this project will tie in with the Forest Service campground and act as a buffer to the Sawmill fuel break.

Rich reports that the “cutting” portion of the Alta Sierra Fuel Reduction Grant is completed. Burning of the piles will be completed as weather permits and crews are available. Rich pointed out that this project was a superb collaboration between the Fire Safe Council grant project and the Forest Service: 60% of the fuel break was funded through grant funds on private property and 40% was completed on Forest Service land.

Two portions of the Alta Sierra Community Fire Safe Plan (Structure Protection Plan and Evacuation Plan) will be extracted from the overall plan and given to the Kern County Fire Department and Sheriffs Department.

Rich Olson will be participating in aerial monitoring and photographing of the Fire Safe Councils’ fuel reduction projects. Debbie Santiago requested that sharing of photo monitoring with the agencies would be appropriate. Rich will do this and also forward photos to be placed on the KRV FSC website.

Rich reports that the Myers Canyon project has 90% of the license to enter documentation completed. Many of the original letters were returned with “incorrect address” notations. BLM is completing their biological inventories, noting wilderness boundaries in relationship to the project area. Fuel reduction work should begin as soon as fuel crews are hired in March.

Rich reports that grant period extension requests for both Alta Sierra projects were granted which will accommodate final burning and cleanup of project sites when snow melts.

Rich recommends that the FSC, Kern County Fire Department, BLM and the Forest Service schedule a meeting to discuss development of an amendment process to the Kern River Valley Community Fire Safe Plan. New wildfire mitigation projects need to be identified, prioritized and amended into the original plan.

It was also recommended that the FSC take necessary steps to have the KRV Community Fire Safe Plan officially recognized by CWPP (California Wildfire Protection Plan.) Having this formal recognition of CWPP guidelines will help to streamline future FSC projects i.e. NEPA process etc.

Ken Stevens, on behalf of the newly formed Tehachapi Fire Safe Council, asked if the Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council would act as fiscal agent for their Community Fire Plan Grant Application. They are in the process of obtaining their 501c3 status. Treasurer Sharon Rooney felt this could be easily handled from a bookkeeping perspective. Discussion followed and it was agreed that the KRV FSC could meet this request. It was further agreed that there would be a $500.00 fiscal agent fee for this service. This fee would become part of the KRV FSC operating account. The motion was made by Robin Wyatt-Little. Rich Olson – 2nd. Unanimous approval.

Jim Davis, President of the Isabella Highlands/Sawmill Property Owners Association reports that a letter of appreciation for Kern County’s support in the Sawmill fuels reduction project was sent to Supervisor McQuiston. He will send a copy to Rich Olson for the final grant report. A copy will also be sent to Deborah Santiago for BLM purposes.

Robin Wyatt-Little reports that the Frontier Trail Homeowners Association will be submitting their letters of appreciation to Supervisor McQuiston, the Forest Service, Kern County Fire Department and the KRV FSC for the Rodgers Road fuels reduction project. FTHA POA is amenable to continuation of this fuel break if funds are available. Ken Stevens reported that out of 62 grant funding applications submitted, only 6 were funded. Monies are less plentiful.

Dave Bacalis reports that he will be working on correct addresses for the Alta Sierra community. Dave will see that a letter from the Greenhorn Property Owners Association will be sent to Supervisor McQuiston for Kern County’s support of recent grant projects at Alta Sierra.

Emily Diggles reports that there are five new property owners in the Myers Canyon area of Bodfish. One of the properties is fifteen acres and the owner is busy clearing.

Margie Clack tells us that this is the 100th birthday of the U.S. Forest Service. The FS will have a commensurate presence in the Whiskey Flat Parade. Margie also mentioned that the Forest Service National Review Team will be contacting our FSC (Marcine Hughes) for an interview regarding collaborative wildfire mitigation projects.

Eric Hutchins (FS) reports that the north end of the Kernville fuel break continues. Eric raised the discussion about new 100’ fire clearance requirements for parcels/lots and the interpretation that this would mean that smaller parcels/lots would have to be totally cleared of all vegetation. Discussion to be continued. People with letters stating defensible space requirements from their insurance company will send a copy of the letter to Marcine Hughes for documentation purposes.

Debbie Santiago (BLM) introduced Sue Rocha who is the FMO for the desert area. Sue asked for input from this FSC as she begins to develop FSC’s in her area.

Debbie tells us that our FSC receives “high marks” from BLM for our wildfire mitigation grant projects. She also reports that HDFPA has installed its new Board (Debbie is Chair this year) and they will have plans soon for the poster contest. Deb requested that copies of the KRV FSC grant applications be forwarded to her to insure better interagency coordination. Rich will follow through with this request.

John Smith (KCFD) reports that on Tuesday, January 25, 2005, 9:00 A.M. KCFD Chiefs Thompson and Castle will be making a presentation to the Kern County Board of Supervisors regarding the KCFD history of progress with fuel reduction work and the need for future stable funding levels. It was agreed that letters should be sent to the Board of Supervisors thanking them for continued support of wildfire mitigation projects and the fuels crews.

John requested discussion about the original intent of the demonstration lot project and the need to change its format. Some of the original lots have not been maintained by the property owners. Perhaps a new direction might be to identify private parcels/lots that have been cleared and ask permission for a defensible space sign to be placed on the property. The sign(s) could express appreciation for the defensible space efforts. Discussion to be continued.

John would also like to revamp the chipper day program. Specifically he would like to streamline the format so that the chipper is used for larger neighborhood projects. Dave Bacalis volunteered to work with John on this.

Emily Diggles asked if our 2005 FSC Newsletter was developed yet. To be done soon.

Emily said the Wildfire Prevention newspaper inserts are needed in both KRV Chamber of Commerce offices. They disappear quickly. To be done soon.

Ed Royce (Kennedy Meadows POA) asked for advice as to sending a letter to Tulare County Supervisor Jim Maples regarding the Kennedy Meadows grant application for a Community Fire Safe Plan. It was agreed that it might be helpful to keep Mr. Maples informed of wildfire mitigation efforts within his district.

Nominations for January 2005 KRV FSC Officers were as follows:

        President: Marcine Hughes

        Vice President: Dave Bacalis

        Treasurer: Sharon Rooney

        Secretary: Robin Wyatt-Little

Board of Directors nominations will be made at the February 17th meeting.

Meeting was adjourned at l0:55 A.M.

Respectfully submitted by: Robin Wyatt-Little, Secretary

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

General information: Lloyd Smith ● (760) 377-3542

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