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Best of the Best education resources:
(scroll down for even more)
Your Home Can Survive a Wildfire - Watch giant nozzles blow burning embers at mock "houses" in a monster testing facility. In this 13-minute video with great visuals, Dr. Jack Cohen, Fire Science Researcher with the USDA Forest Service, explains current research about how homes ignite during wildfires. You will be inspired and feel more confident that the action steps you take after watching this can help your home survive the impacts of flames and embers.
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
- 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.
- Don't want 40 pages? The IBHS has split the guide into individual Research Fact Sheets here on the NFPA website-- 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.
How to Get Alerts and Stay Informed During Wildfire Season One page with where to find weather advisories, how to sign up for emergency alerts, and, during an ACTUAL EMERGENCY, how to stay updated and informed. 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 these 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
- KCRA 2-minute news clip on well-managed forest and a homeowners' defensible space - Summer 2021, Caldor Fire.
- 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. Prefer written format? Here's a one-page PDF from the IBHS.
- Firewise Garden Design 21 slide PDF (incl. photos) from the March 2020 Coalition meeting, by landscape designer Sheri Brown Dion. In this 12-minute video, Sheri discusses the last 5 slides which are about plant selection. Here's a PDF with a few Reference Websites for Fire Resistant Planting.
- Landscaping Tips to Help Defend Your Home from Wildfire, a 53-slide Powerpoint PDF with many visuals, by Master Gardener Cathé Fish. Here is the 10-year-old "Firewise Plants for Western Nevada County" document (the most recent available) referred to in her slides.
- 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)
- Generators: What Kind to Buy and How to Run it Safely -- by Greg Cameron, October 2020 Coalition speaker: Comprehensive presentation on types of generators, pros and cons of each type, how-to tips, and how to stay safe while using a generator.
- 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).
- How to stay safe using a generator- easy 2-pager from Consumer Reports, Sept 2019
YOUR HOUSE: protecting your dwelling
- 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 and the one with Dr. Jack Cohen (top of this page) are the BEST VIDEO RESOURCES we've seen because they focus on the ember storm that is responsible for most burned homes.
- Home Hardening Priorities & Resources - 12 slides linking you to the home-hardening information (click on the gold words) at Cal Fire, NFPA, UCCE and IBHS, by Kristen Cook, Coalition Steering Committee, from the April 2021 meeting.
- You Can Reduce the Chance of Your Home Burning - December 2019 Meeting - 27-slide PDF from Dr. Kate Wilkins from UC Extension
- National Fire Prevention Assoc. Videos
- How I Changed My House Vents to 1/8" Screen - 29-slide Powerpoint PDF with photos showing every step of the DIY project by Susan Rogers, from the Nov 2019 Coalition meeting, or one-page summary (no photos).
- A 44-page Home Inventory Guide flipbook from the state Insurance Commissioner's office. 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
- CodeRED EXPLAINER: a 2-sided PDF showing the differences between the County CodeRED Emergency Alert System, the CodeRED Mobile App, and other alerts you may receive. Clearly shows why you need to be signed up for our Nevada County CodeRED System. The County also has a very simple, clear graphic chart on this page (scroll down past the video Overviews).
- Know Your Evacuation Zone - see the County of Nevada section below, third bullet point. It's vital to know your Evacuation Zone number.
- The Hi-Lo Siren means your life and property are under imminent threat. Learn what the Hi-Lo Siren sounds like (2:30min County video) because it means "YOU MUST LEAVE NOW."
Lists and Checklists:
Take the Advice of Firefighters:
- What you can do 6-12 Hours Before Evacuation from Chief Matt Wallen, Cal Fire, at the June 2021 Coalition meeting, in multiple formats:
- What to Wear (and supplies to take) When You Evacuate by former firefighter Christopher Reilly, in multiple formats:
- Safety During an Evacuation & What If You Are Trapped from Chief Jim Mathias, Cal Fire in multiple formats:
Leaving Early: How to Make That Decision, with Susan Rogers of the Coalition of Firewise Communities, is a 22-slide PDF reviewing how and why you should leave ahead of official notices, and how to make that decision more easily and with less hesitation. Here's the 13-minute video from 2020 with Susan discussing the slides with additional commentary.
- Frequently asked questions about evacuation (and the answers) from the chat box of the 2020 All-County Educational Event.
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. This is the one mailed to every residential address in the county, every year.
- CodeRED Emergency Alerts - official county alerts sent by phone, text and/or email. Sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts on this page.
- Know Your Evacuation Zone: click here to find out what your Zone Number is for your home or business address (type your address into the upper left box). When evacuation warnings/orders are issued, they will be by Zone Number, NOT by street names (NOT "south of Ridge Road, west of Hwy 20" etc.). 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 make it a Contact in your cellphone (First name: "Evacuation," Last name: "Zone"). Here's a PDF you can make into a large, printed map of ALL ZONES: Evacuation Zone Map Packet - Nevada County.pdf
- The Ready Nevada County Dashboard has many helpful features. In a wildfire event large enough to trigger the opening of the County's Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the Dashboard is 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.)
- County Road Vegetation Maintenance - then-County Department of Public Works Director Trisha Tillotson, in the April 2021 Coalition meeting, showed these 14 slides to illustrate their plan for brush clearing for safer ingress and egress on County roads.