About Us

Covid-19 Letter from Fire Safe Council - COVID-19FSC.pdf

Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities 

The Coalition of Firewise Communities is composed of representatives from each of our Firewise Communities that have been working hard in their neighborhoods to promote safe practices in a dangerous wildfire environment. We are an all-volunteer organization with no dues and no budget. As part of a well-respected national movement, our individual Firewise Communities are certified through, and supported by, the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County.

The Coalition was created to bring together, on a monthly basis, individual FWCs, both certified and those "in training" (not yet NFPA-certified), to share ideas and information with each other and to amplify the county-wide effort to educate residents on wildfire preparedness.

  • FORM OF ORGANIZATION: The Coalition is an unincorporated nonprofit association as defined by California Corporations Code Section 18020(a).
  • MISSION: The Coalition promotes fire safety through advocacy, education, and community involvement with other stakeholders interested in working toward stronger fire safety practices.
  • GOAL: To support the formation and functioning of neighborhood-based Firewise communities through information-sharing and collaborative problem-solving, in coordination with key public and private Nevada County organizations, in the recognition that fire is everyone's fight. 
    • All Nevada County residential communities certified as a “Firewise Community” under the NFPA’s Firewise USA Program, plus those considered “in training” by the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, are Members of the Coalition. Individual county residents may also join. "Joining" simply means getting on our mailing list. There are no dues.
    • Each member Firewise community (both NFPA-certified and in training) has one designated representative. If that representative cannot attend a meeting, another member of that community may fill in for him or her.
    • A member may terminate membership at any time by notifying the Coalition Chair in writing or by email.

Our regular meeting time is the first Tuesday of every month at 5:30 pm (unless re-scheduled due to holiday/weather).

Our normal meeting place is Esterly Hall (Nevada County Association of Realtors), 336 Crown Point Circle, Grass Valley, CA 95945. As of Spring 2020 our meetings are now held on Zoom until we can meet in person again.  Join our mailing list to get the Zoom link information.

Chair - Bob Long
Vice Chair - Susan Rogers
Secretary - Virginia Gompertz
Technical Support/Communications - Jeff Peach

By Laws

By Laws - Adopted August 7, 2018

Coalition Creation - Press Release December 2017

Chair and Vice Chair Job Description - Coalition-Position-Descriptions.pdf

Join the Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities Email List - Stay Informed!

Meeting Agenda


We apologize, our planning is not up to snuff here at the end of the year.  We postponed our meeting from election night to tomorrow, Tuesday Nov 10th, to only discover that all our presenters had already made other plans.  HOWEVER:

  •  Fire season is not over.  Please be Aware.  Even in this worsening weather keep up the yard maintenance and maintain those “GO BAGS”
  • We will have a zoom meeting on Dec 1st.  But your entry ticket is you must wear your ugliest Christmas hat or sweater.  No fair turning off video.
  • I am still looking for my replacement.  Remember Susan and I are not leaving the Coalition, we just want to step down from the responsibility of monthly meetings.  We will still be involved with the leadership staff.  Call or write to me at boblong162@gmail.com or 530-913-0287
  • We will NOT have a January meeting due to its proximity to New Year’s Eve.  We will pick it up again on Feb 2nd 2021

Just incase you miss our jokes --  Where do Dads store their jokes….   In a Dada Base🤣

Thank you all for your involvement

Bob, Susan, Jeff & Virginia

Zoom Meeting Archive

All-County Education Event

All-County Firewise Community Education Event

This page has the presentations given at the August 4, 2020 online event organized by the Coalition. The goal was to provide fire preparedness information to all residents of Nevada County Firewise Communities as well as the interested public, since neighborhood meetings are not allowed under COVID-19 restrictions.

Please share a link to this page to as many people as possible.

Here is the Q&A  with answers to residents' questions during the meeting about evacuation routes and staging areas, CodeRED and the Emergency Dashboard, and more.

Featured Speakers

Firewise Communities

County Map of Firewise Communities (also showing In-Training Communities) - January 2020 FWC&InTrainJan2020.pdf

Are you in a Firewise USA® community? Use the interactive GIS map to find out.

An alphabetical list of CERTIFIED FIREWISE COMMUNITIES and individual FWCommunity maps can be found on the Fire Safe Council website here: https://www.areyoufiresafe.com/programs/firewise-usa

How to become a Firewise Community brochure: onscreen versionThis version of our tri-fold brochure is easiest to read on-screen, but printing it requires legal-size paper (8 1/2 x 14). PDF

How to become a Firewise Community brochure: print-at-home version8 1/2 x11, 6 pages PDF

Resources for Administering Your Firewise Community

FIREWISE COMMUNITIES – IN TRAINING. These are neighborhoods that have taken the steps necessary to become a Firewise Community and are now waiting for their Hazard Assessment to be performed and documented by a qualified fire expert, with funding obtained by the Fire Safe Council. The community then creates its own 1-to-2 page Action Plan based on the Assessment, and the Fire Safe Council registers the new Firewise Community with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Prior to certification, all "in training" communities are encouraged to act like a certified Firewise Community, have one or more representatives attend monthly Coalition meetings, etc.

CERTIFIED FIREWISE COMMUNITIES IN TRAINING list and maps can be found on the Fire Safe Council website here: https://www.areyoufiresafe.com/programs/firewise-usa

 Contact the Coalition if you have difficulty locating your map.

Education Resources

Best of the Best education resources for residents:

Be Ember Prepared: Will Your House Survive When the Embers Arrive? From the University of Nevada, Reno, a 26-minute video with excellent information and powerful visuals driving home the message that no matter what you might do about defensible space and landscape maintenance, it's the little things in and around your house that could determine if your house burns down (or not). This is the BEST EDUCATION TOOL we've seen so far because of the great visuals and the focus on the dangers of the ember storm that is responsible for most burned homes.

The best information about home hardening (what you need to do in and around your buildings) is from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. These are comprehensive, detailed and based on scientific research. The first one was a handout from Dr. Kate Wilkin at the December 2019 Coalition meeting. Yes, it's a lot of information but it's all in one place, and it's proven by research performed by people who aren't trying to sell you anything. Download both:

Early Warning Alerts-Weather & How to Stay Informed 19Aug2020.pdf This one-pager tells you how to check daily wind forecasts, sign up in advance for emergency alerts, and, during an ACTUAL EMERGENCY, how to stay updated and informed (radio, websites, text alerts and other methods for real-time information)

Roadside Clearing Regulations: make your roads safe for firefighters to get IN and for you to get OUTThis unofficial one-page PDF created by the Coalition of Firewise Communities tells you the requirements, in the unincorporated County, City of Grass Valley and Nevada City, for clearing back from the sides of private roads. Diagrams help make it clear. There are three times as many private roads in the County as there are public roads, and the property owners are responsible for meeting these requirements.

Generators: how to decide what kind to buy, pros and cons of the different types, maintenance tips and how to stay safe when using a generator. From the October 2020 Coalition meeting.

Presenters' Powerpoints/PDFs from meetings of the Coalition of Firewise Communities:

See this page for presentations given at the All-Nevada County Education Event held online Aug. 4, 2020. See below for other presentations.

Official Sites of public and private wildfire safety organizations, with helpful information

Ready-Set-Go Resources

  • Code RED Flyer - Everything you need to know about CodeRED. To sign up for CodeRED, go to this page.
  • Red Flag Warning informational handout - Everything you need to know about a Red Flag Warning & a Personal Wildland Fire Action Plan Handout. See above (Early Warning Alerts-Weather & How to Stay Informed) for how to sign up for County OES alerts which can give you advance notice of Red Flag Warnings.
  • Wildland Fire Action Guide - Comprehensive Guide to preparing for the Wildland Fire
  • An excellent 44-page Home Inventory Guide flipbook from the office of the state Insurance Commissioner. Download it and fill it out, so you're ready if you need to make a claim.



My Fire Department

Which Fire Agency Provides Protection Services for Your Neighborhood? - Check the map here 

Nevada County fire agencies have Joint Services agreements with each other and work closely together to respond to all fire emergencies. However, just ONE of them is officially responsible for your neighborhood. Click the map link above to see which one is yours. You need to know which agency this is, because they are the fire officials who you, as a Firewise Community representative, will be working with on activities to ensure fire safety in your community (for example, with the 30-Day Courtesy Notice to owners of non-compliant properties).

Nevada County Fire Districts

Grass Valley Fire Department

Higgins Fire Protection District

Nevada City Fire Department

Nevada County Consolidated Fire District

North San Juan Fire District

Ophir Hill Fire Protection District

Peardale-Chicago Park Fire Department

Penn Valley Fire Protection District

Rough & Ready Fire Department

Truckee Fire Protection District

Codes & Ordinances

Unincorporated Nevada County:

California’s PRC 4291, which applies in all unincorporated parts of Nevada County, is the code that mandates defensible space around habitable structures up to the property line. (The definitions of terms used in 4291 are at PRC 4211). The County of Nevada also has a hazardous vegetation ordinance, entitled Nuisance Declared; Duty to Abate Hazardous Vegetation and Combustible Material (Click #7.4) which requires defensible space around habitable structures (100 feet) as well as along roadways 10 feet wide and 15 feet high) beyond the shoulder of roadways (both sides) that serve as primary ingress and egress routes.

County Code for Private Driveway Construction Standards

City of Grass Valley Weed Abatement Ordinance:


Follow this path:

  1. Click on - Open Municipal Codes Window
  2. Click the blue box, Browse Table of Contents
  3. Scroll to Chapter 8, Health and Safety, click on the down arrow to open Chapter 8
  4. Weed Abatement is Chapter 8.36

City of Nevada City:

Vegetation Management, Debris Removal and Abatement Regulations

Roadside Clearing Regulations: make your roads safe for firefighters to get IN and for you to get OUT. This unofficial one-sheet PDF handout from the Coalition of Firewise Communities tells you the requirements, in the unincorporated County, Grass Valley and Nevada City, for clearing back from the sides of private roads. Diagrams help make it clear. There are three times as many private roads in the County as there are public roads, and the property owners are responsible for meeting these requirements.

Talking to your neighbors about defensible spacehelpful PDF from Fire Safe Council with good tips on getting neighbors to buy into the idea of fire safety

It's the Law! (pdf from Cascade Shores Firewise Committee)

Link to all Nevada County Ordinances:  http://qcode.us/codes/nevadacounty/

Link to all City of Grass Valley Ordinances: https://library.municode.com/ca/grass_valley/codes/code_of_ordinances

Link to all Nevada City Ordinances: https://library.municode.com/ca/nevada_city/codes/code_of_ordinances

Insurance Issues

Many local residents are facing cancellation of their homeowners insurance. Unfortunately, almost nothing can be done at the local level to help with this problem. This page provides a few resources that might help you figure out your next steps.

You may not know that all local insurance agencies, even those affiliated with the same national brand, are independently owned brokerages that have different relationships with different Surplus Line Insurers (see definition of that below). This means that if one Allstate (for example) agent can't help you, another Allstate agent might be able to. You have to make a lot of phone calls. Call around. 

List of Approved Surplus Line Insurers (LASLI) 

What does "Surplus Lines" mean? Often called the “safety valve” of the insurance industry, surplus lines insurers (which are usually non-admitted carriers, see below) fill the need for coverage in the marketplace by insuring those risks that are declined by the standard underwriting and pricing processes of admitted insurance carriers.

Admitted vs Non-Admitted Insurance Company - what does that mean? PDF

Website of the California Fair Plan - insurer of last resort. 

Watch this video of the town hall held in Grass Valley on August 23, 2019 with state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, which has helpful information for those who are being non-renewed. To avoid local politician's opening remarks, skip to the 6-minute mark to start watching.

The following relates to Coalition activities only -- not helpful for individual residents

Insurance Questionnaire PDF For Coalition Survey

Insurance Questionnaire Word (Type directly onto document and return to Bob as attachment)

Fire Threat Areas - Map from the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC)

Fire Safe Council

The Nevada County Coalition of Firewise Communities (the website where you are now) and the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County are two separate organizations. The Coalition's About Us page has information on our all-volunteer organization.

The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County  is a public benefit, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation with paid staff and a board of directors, formed in 1998 by citizens concerned about the very high potential for catastrophic wildfire in our communities and adjacent forestland.

Track chipper available from Fire Safe CouncilThe Fire Safe Council supports and assists in the formation of individual Firewise Communities (FWCs), and manages the certification (and re-certification) of all FWCs through the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). It pays for the meeting space used monthly by the Coalition, and pays for the Coalition website.

Coalition meetings always have one or two representatives of the Fire Safe Council in attendance. The Coalition works together closely with the Council to advance fire safety efforts in Nevada County.

The Council's office has a wealth of literature from various fire agencies that will help homeowners on virtually any wild-fire related topic. They offer a chipping program, a Special Needs Assistance Program for low-income elderly and disabled, and other services.

Visit the Fire Safe Council website. The Council's phone number is (530) 272-1122, and their address is 143 B Spring Hill Drive, Suite 13, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Check their website for office hours. Park in the spaces marked with white letters "OCS" at the edge of the lot facing Spring Hill Drive. Many spaces directly in front of their office are marked/reserved for other businesses .


Fire Threat Areas - Map

Sign up for Alerts about when PGE will turn off power. Register for power shut off notifications here.

Manage Trees and Plants Near Powerlines

PG&E Community Wildfire Safety Program - Information on the PGE - COMMUNITY WILDFIRE SAFETY PROGRAM  - Working together to create fire defense zones around power lines.

Contact - Joanne Drummond, local PG&E representative for the Community Wildfire Safety Program

Joanne Drummond
Vegetation Program Manager, CEMA - Fuels Reduction
Joanne.Drummond@pge.com | Office (530) 889-3166 | Cell (530) 510-1064

Articles about PGE

For FWC Admin

This page has information and resources for helping the leaders of individual Firewise Communities (FWCs) administer their local FWC.


Is there a "problem" property in your FWC, a neighbor (or absentee owner) who doesn't comply with required county or city abatement ordinances? Try using this: 30-Day Courtesy Notice Program: Resources for Implementing. Download and read both documents linked below. This has been successfully used in numerous Firewise Communities to convince owners of "dirty" properties that they need to come into compliance with the law.

Generic 30 Day Notice  MS Word

30 Day Notice Guidelines  Making the "30 Day Notice" program work - MS Word

Communication with your FWC Residents

Newsletter - this generic newsletter, created by Marty Main, can be used by any Firewise Community to help educate your residents.

Winter 2019

How Do Other FWCs Communicate With Their Residents? -  a PDF summary of 36 Firewise communitiesthat responded to a survey asking about the methods, frequency and effectiveness of communicating firewise messages to their member households, as of November 2019. Gives you a good idea of what others are doing (email, newsletters, etc.) and the challenges they are facing.

Names of the rep who filled out the survey are included, but contact information is not provided for privacy reasons. If you want to contact a rep, please use the "Contact the Coalition" form on this website to request his or her phone and email.

Common Findings From Firewise Hazard Assessments Powerpoint presented at October 2019 Coalition meeting (with photos) converted to PDF - Fire scientist Jo Ann Fites-Kaufman described the many problems she sees when she evaluates in-training Firewise Communities for their NFPA certification. Does your FWC have these problems?

Evacuation Signage PDF - a non-official way your residents can use signs to tell law enforcement that they have either already evacuated OR that they need help. Note: as of July 2020, the County Sheriff's office is giving away similar tags for use in the unincorporated county.

Alert Tag Instructions PDF

Garage Evacuation SignPDF

Shovel Ready Projects - Checklist. Gives you a basic idea of what's needed if your neighborhood has a large project that requires funding to get it done. "Shovel ready" means that if it were to get funded, you could almost immediately put a shovel in the ground and start, because you've already figured out (and obtained) the permits or permissions needed, gotten bids from contractors, etc. Helps document your project so that it can be "bundled" with other projects in grant-funding proposals by the Fire Safe Council.

Guidelines for Websites for individual FWCs: If your Firewise Community is able to create and maintain your own website:

  • The primary focus of your FWCommunity website should be to post your LOCAL neighborhood/community information such as:
    • Your map, showing the boundaries of your Firewise Community
    • Your Community date of certification or when you became an "In Training" community
    • Important contact information for members of your Firewise Community
    • Community Evacuation Map w/ routes and instructions to find 2+ ways out of community

  • Please do not create your own pages with generic educational information, such as on defensible space, roadside clearing specs, emergency planning, etc. It is important to lead homeowners and residents to sites with the most up-to-date information from government and fire agencies, because the information can and does change. Create links to these official websites on your local community website. See the "Official Sites" section here on our Education Resources page.



Enforcement Document Action Plan - Formally adopted by coalition vote, February 27, 2018


Evacuation Document Action Plan - Formally adopted by coalition vote, February 27, 2018

Emergency Alert Buddy SystemPDF 

Emergency Alert Buddy System  Word (For editing to accommodate your FWC)

Emergency Alert Buddy System PowerPoint  - Virginia Gompertz - Lake Wildwood

Real Estate

Rea Estate

Ask a Question