Best of the Best education resources:
(scroll down for even more)
Be Ember Prepared: Will Your House Survive When the Embers Arrive? From the University of Nevada, Reno, a 26-minute video demonstrating that no matter what you do about defensible space, it's little things in and around your house that can determine if your house burns down (or not). This is the BEST VIDEO RESOURCE we've seen because it focuses on the ember storm that is responsible for most burned homes.
Wildfire Defensible Space: Zone Zero - 7-minute video about the most important defensible space zone, 0-to 5 feet around your house. See description below in the OUTSIDE category.
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 (IBHS). These are comprehensive, detailed and based on scientific research performed by people who aren't trying to sell you anything. Download the first checklist and then either the second "everything" guide or the individual fact sheets (in the third bullet):
- An 11-page Wildfire Home Assessment & Checklist IBHS Wildfire Home Assessment Checklist.pdf
- A 40-page Protect Your Property From Wildfire guide, covering roof covering, gutters, vents, windows and doors, decks/patios/porches, siding, fences, outbuildings, fuel tanks and more. IBHS-Home-Hardening.pdf
- Don't want 40 pages? The IBHS has split the guide into individual Research Fact Sheets -- get only the topics you want: Attic & Crawl Space Vents; Coatings; Decks; Exterior Sprinkler Systems; Fencing; Fire Spread on Ember-Ignited Decks; Roofing Materials; Skylights; Under-Eave Construction, and Immediate (noncombustible) Zone around your house. Here is where to find the individual Fact Sheets on the NFPA Firewise USA website.
How to Stay Informed During Wildfire Season This one-pager tells you where to find weather advisories, how to sign up 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). Print and post it on your refrigerator!
Roadside Clearing Regulations: make your roads safe for firefighters to get IN and for you to get OUT. This unofficial one-page PDF with diagrams, 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. 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. See "Rules & Enforcement" for how to report violations of the roadside clearing regulations.
What do you do when your 100 feet of defensible space goes onto a neighbor's property? Or onto government land? What if your neighbor refuses to clear her property? The five-page document linked here, "What If Your 100 Feet of Defensible Space Goes Beyond Your Property Line?," tells you how to proceed under different scenarios. Read additional detail on our Rules & Enforcement page.
In addition to the above, check out these other great resources (many from past Coalition meetings).
OUTSIDE: defensible space, landscaping, generators
- Defensible Space: good diagrams & information from the Cal Fire website, ReadyforWildfire.org, explaining state law requirements for defensible space. The website also has information on fire-resistant landscaping.
- Wildfire Defensible Space: Zone Zero - outstanding short (7-minute) video reflecting the newest research (also mentioned on the Cal Fire site above) about "Ground Zero," the 0-to-5 foot Zone Zero around your home that has been proven to be key to reducing your home's risk of burning down. Great visuals.
- Firewise Garden Design 21 slides with photos from the March 2020 Coalition meeting, by landscape designer Sheri Brown Dion. Sheri discusses the last five slides on plant selection in this 12-minute video. Reference Websites for Fire Resistant Planting - PDF.
- Firesafe Landscaping Tips from Master Gardener Cathé Fish
- Prescribed Burn Information - see this page, last bullet point.
- 30-Second Visual of Defensible Space Brush Clearing compared to Not Cleared/Not Defensible (Marty Main)
- Generator Safety Tips & Burn Piles/Permit (with photos) October 2019 - Cal Fire Chief Jim Mathias talks about preventing generator-related fires and being safe with burn piles. This site tells you when it's a burn day (in unincorporated county only, prohibited in GV/NC city limits).
- Generators: How to Decide -- by Greg Cameron, October 2020: Comprehensive presentation on types of generators, pros and cons of each type, how-to tips, and how to stay safe while using a generator.
- How to stay safe using a generator- from Consumer Reports, September 2019
YOUR HOUSE: protecting your dwelling
- Home Hardening Priorities - 12 slides with great links to resources (click on the gold words), by Kristen Cook, Coalition Steering Committee member, from the April 2021 meeting.
- Fire Resistant Homes and Defensible Space - December 2019 Meeting - PDF from Dr. Kate Wilkins from UC Extension
- Your Home Can Survive a Wildfire - Dr. Jack Cohen, Fire Science Researcher with the USDA Forest Service, explains current research about how homes ignite during wildfires, and the actions that homeowners can take to help their home survive the impacts of flames and embers. Highly recommended. 13 minutes, great visuals.
- National Fire Prevention Assoc. Videos
- Change Your Foundation Vents to 1/8" Screen (hardware cloth) - one-page summary of the DIY project by Susan Rogers presented at the November 2019 Coalition meeting.
- An excellent 44-page Home Inventory Guide flipbook from the office of the state Insurance Commissioner. Download it, print it and fill it out, so you're ready if you need to make a claim. (OR use your phone to video-record the contents of every room in your house, including the contents of all closets, cabinets and drawers. Narrate the video with the same information in the flipbook, e.g. when purchased, amount paid, etc.)
YOU & YOURS: how to prepare, evacuating
What is the County of Nevada doing about wildfire preparedness?
Answer: A LOT! Visit the County's emergency preparedness website, ReadyNevadaCounty.org, for links to many great resources.
- Ready/Set/Go Handbook - 36-page official Handbook for Wildfire Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
- CodeRED Emergency Alerts - official county alerts sent by phone, text and/or email. Sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts on this page.
- Know Your Zone: click here to see the map of NEW evacuation zones. YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR ZONE NUMBER -- when evacuation warnings/orders are issued, they will be by Zone Number, NOT by street names (i.e., they will NOT say, "south of Ridge Road, west of Hwy 20" etc., they will use Zone numbers). Enter your address in the white search box (upper left of map) to find out YOUR zone number. Write it down! Post it on your refrigerator and store it in your smartphone.
- The Ready Nevada County Dashboard has many helpful features. During a large wildfire event that triggers the opening of the County's Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the Dashboard is THE PLACE where you will find constantly updated information on fire status, evacuations, available shelters and more.
- Hi Lo Siren County Video - hear what the "YOU MUST LEAVE NOW" warning siren sounds like.
- Neighbors refusing to clear their hazardous vegetation in unincorporated Nevada County? Register for a free Citizen Access account and Request a Defensible Space Inspection by a county inspector who has the authority to enforce county codes. (If you live in the city of Grass Valley or Nevada City, the steps for reporting a hazard can be found on page 5 of this document.)
- Ingress and Egress Road Vegetation Maintenance - then County Department of Public Works Director Trisha Tillotson, in the April 2021 Coalition meeting, showed these 14 descriptive slides.