The Living Firebreak

We were contacted several months ago by the local fire protection district, which was seeking grant money to fund a fuel reduction project. Our property runs for about 2500 feet along highway 132, and the fire protection district was proposing to create a “living firebreak” 100 feet deep, on both sids of the highway, all the way from the county line to where highway 132 meets with highway 120, a mile or so up from our place.

Hell yeah, we said, and filled out and returned the form they sent us allowing them to clean up 250,000 square feet of highway frontage on our property, at no cost to us.

A “living firebreak” in this case means that every tree under 10 inches in diameter is cut down, the remaining trees are “laddered” (lower branches from the ground to about head high are cut off, to prevent making a “ladder” allowing a grass fire to get into the tree crown), and all dead trees are cut down, all fallen trees are chopped up, and all of it is thrown into a chipper and the resulting wood chips broadcast onto the ground.

clearing2

Okay, so wow. They spent a day last week cutting down little trees and piling them up in a strip from one edge of our driveway, along the highway which is the western boundary of our property, to the neighbors’ road which meets the highway and is the southern boundary of our property.  So a swath 100 feet wide by about 700 feet long.

Then this morning, starting at 6AM, they were back with a couple of guys on chainsaws, a guy running a big chipper, a couple guys hauling cut stuff from the piles to the chipper, a CalFire truck, and 2 flagmen directing traffic.

Holy cow! And it will take them another 3 or 4 days just to grind their way along the whole 2500 feet of our property!

Thank you fire protection district!

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