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News.bytes Extra, issue 510

Tip Top helps save Big Oak Flat

Preparation for wildfire proved its worth last week as a fuel break constructed this year by the Bureau of Land Management helped save the community of Big Oak Flat.

The 3-acre Ferndale Fire, started by a vehicle on Priest Grade on Highway 120 Thursday, was fanned by high winds and headed for Big Oak Flat.

Luckily, the Tip Top Fuel Break had been cleared this year by BLM’s Mother Lode Field Office. Fuel breaks were being cleared along the historic Ponderosa Fuel Break and Wagner Ridge, including the Tip Top Fuel Break, in Tuolumne County.

 “The fuel break helped the firefighters control the fire before it reached the community,” said Jerry Martinez, fire management officer for the Mother Lode Field Office.

The office has used AmeriCorp crews, inmate crews, Forest Service personnel, personnel from other BLM offices, Midnight Sun Hotshots and volunteers the last three years to construct fuel breaks in land managed by the field office, which extends from the Yuba River to the Merced River.  

a power shovel operator clears brush
Dan Lusby, BLM Mother Lode Field Office heavy equipment operator, clears a fuel break near Big Oak Flat.

firefighters fan out over a charred hillside
Firefighters mop up the remains of the Ferndale Fire, which the BLM fuel break helped contain.

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 510 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.

Last updated: 12-08-2011