April 22, 2010

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Board of Directors  Meeting

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Board of Directors Meeting

Attendance via email: Lloyd Smith, Ed Royce, Sharon Rooney, Gordon Ehmann, Christine Hancock, Gordon Hancock, Gordon Ehmann, Chris Horgan, Patrick Pontes and Kimberley Cushman.


President's Report

+ I continued to work with Ben McFarland, Congressman McCarthy's representative, on the National Fire Plan reauthorization. The authorization is included in H.R. 4578 "The Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2001" (106th Congress). I have provided comments that would apply to new authorization.

+ I attended the Kern Fire Safe Council meeting 17 March 2010. A final review of Living With Fire was completed. I took an action to prepare an application for a State Farm grant to provide funds for printing and distribution (A $2,500 grant was awarded (4/9/2010) for printing and distribution of Living With Fire for the three councils in Kern County). Battalion Chief Bob Lechtreck announced his retirement for 2 April. Battalion Chief Don Brady was introduced as the possible replacement.

+ I had an extensive discussion with Tim Smith, BLM Bakersfield District, as a follow up to my letter to each of the agencies. Tim agreed to provide a presentation on the BLM activities and priorities at our 20 May 2010 meeting.

+ I attended the California Fire Alliance meeting in Fresno on 24 March 2010. Many source of educational material were identified and have been passed to Chris Horgan.

+ I responded to a UC Berkeley researcher doing a survey on the development and stakeholder participation of the CALFIRE mandated Wildfire Management Plans that each contract county (Kern County is a contract county) is required to prepare each year. I had never seen the plan before, nor had Ed Royce. The KRVFSC is definitely a stakeholder in this document where the KRVFSC CWPP and grants are cited. I will investigate further how the plan was developed by KCFD.

+ I visited with the new Public Information Officer (PIO) for the USFS, Cody Norris. Since Cody is new to the area I shared what the council does and how, and then invited him to our events (meetings, projects, and chipper days).

+ I will be developing the agenda for the 20 May 2010, 0930 to 1130, meeting next week. I plan to turn the meeting around by having the presentation first (30 minutes), then the committee reports, then the agency reports. Please plan to have your committee report organized so as to facilitate the process.

Treasurer's Report

This month Sharon Rooney received a $175 donation check from Kern Valley Exchange Club and $250 donation check from Ed Royce.
This month the bills that were paid are $340.00 to Sierra Signs for the road sign stickers and $212.75 for the Web Site.
Patrick has submitted and Ed Royce have approved detailed invoices covering his work monitoring the Bodfish II and Pala Grant projects. Payment of these invoices will zero out those accounts. These invoices document additional effort on these two projects, totaling $190. In view of all the truly superior work that Patrick has done for us, I propose that we also reimburse him for this amount out of our general fund. We are not required to do this by our contract with Patrick, however. I ask Board approval by "reply to" for this expenditure. Lloyd Smith seconds and six yes votes

Fund-Raising Committee

+ Lloyd developed and sent a request to Southern California Edison (Debbie Hess) for support of the KRVFSC.
+ Lloyd sent a thank you letter to Atchison Propane for their in-kind contribution of printing and distributing the one-page information sheet.
+ Total cash contributions through 12 April are $875.00.

Education Committee Report

+ Lloyd retrieved the Walker Pass roadside sign frame materials from USFS Kernville, and complete the restoration, fabrication, and reinstallation (84 miles for match).
+ Lloyd picked up the new website stickers from Chris Horgan and returned the display board (use at the Fire Alliance meeting in Fresno) to Christine Hancock (88 miles for match).
+ On 7 April, with the assistance of Matthew Quezada and Shawn Rambo of the Forest Service, rotated the message boards and put the new website stickers on the signs at Paul's Place, Walker Basin, and Borel (190 miles for match). Lloyd also installed the website stickers on all of the other message boards. Lloyd returned the spreader that Sierra Sign loan us to install the stickers. The sticker project is completed, thanks Chris Horgan.
+ I am scheduled to give a 15 minute presentation at the Kern Valley Exchange Club meeting on 22 April (75 miles for match). Thank you Patrick Pontes for provided many current photos of the 2009 and 2010 grant project

Atchison Propane has sent out about 1000 Fire Safe Info sheets along with the bills this month and will send them out again next month, since the bills are not necessarily to the same people each month
Atchison Propane printed and mailed them and no cost to the Fire Safe

Chris Horgan developed the Info Sheets using data provided in other Fire Safe material, laws or regulations and created the artwork all at no charge

Kern County, BLM & Forest Service have asked to be added to the Fire Safe Info Sheet as endorsement
Kern Sun will be printing the info sheet in the paper sometime over the next month as space permits
Debbie Santiago-BLM hopes to be able to help with the Fire Safe Talk 6/5 at Audubon Society if she is not on a fire

Stickers have been printed to replace the old web address on Fire Safe signs and Lloyd is working on installing them with the Forest Service

The State Farm grant for the distribution of Living With Fire has been approved. The $2,500 check is being mailed to me and I will get it to Sharon for deposit. The grant application I prepared was for the benefit of all three fire councils in Kern County. The $2,500 will be disbursed in proportion to the number of Living With Fire each council receives. The decision to print 22,000 Living With Fire has been made and went to the printer last week with Kern County Fire Department paying $2,500 (about 19,000copies). So the State Farm grant is to be use to pay for the additional 3,000 and distribution.

Website Committee Report

The following updates to the web site have been made: changed Board and officers, changed contact numbers in several places, new honor roll, project descriptions updated to reflect completion of 2009 projects and addition of 2010 projects, new calendar, Minutes posted, additional news stories and the elimination of old news. There are a few glitches that need correction (most notably the KRV CWPP in four parts rather than as a single file).

We will do another consolidated update later this month -- fixing glitches and adding minutes. Please let me know any other changes you-all would like to have. Also, the Council/Board/Education Committee needs to decide what it wants to have posted on the website for Wildfire Awareness Week. For example, do we have a file of the current version of Living with Fire that could be posted? Lloyd? Please get any changes to me by the 23rd.

Grants Committee Report

Patrick Pontes' detailed report is attached. Briefly: (1) Final closeout documentation for the 2009 fuel reduction projects (Paiute Meadow, Pala, and Bodfish II) has been submitted. This includes before and after photos, and Patrick has offered to make a power point presentation to the Council of these photos if there is interest. Lloyd? (2) All clearances have been completed for our 2010 projects (Burma and Bodfish III). Funds are now promised to arrive electronically on the 26th: 39.1k for Bodfish III and 44.7k for Burma. Project work will start when KCFD has crews available.

Our 2011 fuel reduction project proposals (Lake Isabella and Pala II aka Mountain Shadows) are with the state evaluation panel run by the state FSC. We will learn if they are to be funded on June 14th. Cathy Brooke reports via Patrick that approximate total funds statewide available are 200k from the BLM and 9 mill for the USFS (plus a trivial amount for the NPS). (Last year these funds totaled about 20 mill.) Total submissions are in excess of these amounts by some 40 mill, so the competition will be even more severe than before. Congressman Nunes (Tulare County) has stated he will support continued appropriations for fuel reduction work under the National Fire Plan (phone call from a staffer), and Lloyd continues to work with Congressman McCarthy's staff on the issue.

As indicated in the president's report, the Forest Service has decided to fund a 300k, 3-year Alta Sierra-Wofford Heights fuel reduction project through the KRVFSC. Lloyd has worked out the needed documentation with Nickie Washington of the Forest Service, and that documentation (a "Cooperative Agreement") is under review with the Forest Service fiscal folks. Patrick and Ed met with Kern Fire folks on the 13th to work out the details of making the KCFD a "subgrantee" or "subrecipient." The meeting went well, and documentation will be by a "letter of commitment" from the KCFD to do the work and to meet all of the terms and conditions the Forest Service is laying on the FSC. Progress will be tracked quarterly. All (quarterly) reports from the Fire Department will go to the FSC (Patrick), to support the FSC's quarterly reports to the Forest Service. Operationally, the project will be handled by Patrick in the same way as our other fuel reduction projects, except that Patrick's (KRVFSC) reports will go to the Forest Service, rather than the state FSC.

Attending the meeting from the Forest Service were Derrick Davis and Don Brady. Bob Lechtreck's job has been abolished, and Don has been assigned the duties of that position, in addition to his current duties (battalion chief?) in charge of aviation operations. Whether or not he will attend our meetings remains to be seen.

As indicated in the last report, Ed continued to participate in the planning of a potential Forest Service fuel reduction project on Greenhorn/Sawmill Ridge

+ We received a letter from the Sequoia National Forest that we would receive funding for the grant proposal that was prepared during December 2009. The grant project titled is Alta Sierra and Wofford Heights Fuels Reduction Project. The total value is $300,000 over a three year period. I took the action to prepare the necessary documentation (thirteen separate forms) for the KRVFSC to receive the funding from the USFS, and took the completed signed package to Kernville (84 miles for match). Nickie Washington of USFS is our principal point of contact, and she will forward the documents to the USFS contracts person. Ed Royce and Patrick Pontes will work on an agreement between KRVFSC and KCFD to execute the project.

Publicity Committee Report

The Courier included the Fire Safe Brochure in all 5000 of their papers last week. Thanks very much to Christine and Gordon for helping to stuff the papers with the Courier staff
The Sun included 4500 in their papers
Thanks both to the Sun and the Courier for including the Fire Safe Brochure at no charge

We have 500 copies of the Fire Safe Brochure remaining for distribution, plus perhaps 500 of last years at Lloyd's house.


The new Chipper Day Committee met for the first time in February, 2010, at committee chair Gordon Ehmann's home. The committee members are listed on the attached "Chipper Day Contacts" list. Initial planning for handling Chipper Day requests and events was discussed. All subsequent committee activity has been via email and telephone.

Currently, five (5) communities have requested a Chipper Day event (see attached "Chipper Day Schedule"). Kern County Fire Department's (KCFD) says their commitment to this schedule is very tentative due to shortages of personnel and funding. Extensive discussions with our contacts (Captain Loren Lange and Battalion Chief Don Brady) about feasible alternatives are continuing as well as KVFSC President Lloyd Smith's continuing contacts with Supervisor Jon McQuiston and his staff on this matter. Each of the five communities has been told that Chipper Day action may not take place as scheduled and may be as late as July. Suggestions to "firesafe" their piles has been made. It's possible that Camp Owen will be able to help with this. We are being told that KCFD will be "understanding" about the chipper piles that will be present during the June fire hazard inspections.

There are KCFD personnel in Kern River Valley on duty and trained for Chipper Day activities and the FireSafe Council chipper is fully maintained and ready for use. Additionally, a crew from Camp Owen's Boys Camp is available (and assigned) to help with all Chipper Day activities as well (except for the Walker Pass event that they will not be participating in). All this is, of course, dependant upon Kern County deciding that this is where they would spend funding and not somewhere else due to the tight budget and the necessary political posturing that inevitably and necessarily takes place when funding is restricted.

Bottom line…. Chipper Day events could logistically take place as planned, but the KCFD personnel and funding issues probably won't be worked out until well into June or July and we can only put the five communities on a "hold" until this situation clears up. That's all that can be done for now.

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

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

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