News.bytes, BLM CaliforniaNews.bytes Extra, issue 172

BLM Director pledges funds for emergency stabilization of hillsides above fire-scarred French Gulch

Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke pledged $1.9 million in federal funds for emergency stabilization work on the hillsides above the fire-scarred community of French Gulch, when she visited the area Friday, Aug. 27.

Residents of the small western Shasta County town are pulling together to recover from the blaze that burned more than 13,000 acres of rugged, forested hillsides and destroyed 28 homes after it broke out Aug. 14.

The director visited children in the small French Gulch-Whiskeytown School during her tour, and met with members of the Department of the Interior's interagency, multi-disciplinary Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team during her visit to the community.

Earlier in the day Director Clarke and California Second District Representative Wally Herger saw first hand the value of community fire prevention projects, when they joined members of the Yankee Hill and Butte County Fire Safe Councils for a project tour.

Brenda Rightmyer of the Butte County Fire Safe Council briefed Congressman Herger, Director Clarke and BLM State Director Mike Pool on the fire prevention efforts taken in the Yankee Hill area which lies area between the communities of Paradise and Oroville.

Residents, whose homes are tucked away in a rugged, heavily wooded landscape, have faced several wildfires in the past several years. They are now working with fire safe councils on multiple fire protection projects. The fire safe projects, including property clean up work, chipper projects and construction of shaded fuel breaks, helped fire fighters save 200 homes worth approximately $39 million, when the 1,800-acre Oregon Fire burned through the area in early August.

A dooryard education program, funded partly by a BLM National Fire Plan grant, was especially effective for property threatened by the Oregon Fire. Funds were used to support educational programs in which members of the Yankee Hill Fire Safe Council traveled from door to door providing information on how yard clean up projects can help make properties more fire safe.

More than $112 million worth of property in the Yankee Hill area has been protected from wildfire through fuel breaks, defensible space and community education activities which have benefited from more than $282,000 in grant funds provided by the BLM as part of the National Fire Plan.

News.bytes, issue 172 - BLM California