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Railroad Fire along Highway 41, photo by Gina Clugston

Strategic Wildfire Mitigation Includes Major Fuel Break Project

NORTH FORK — Several fires in the last few years, including the Courtney Fire (2014), Railroad Fire (2017), and Mission Fire (2017), posed significant risks to public health and safety and destroyed homes and infrastructure.

In many cases, defensible space and thinned areas made the difference in preventing further high severity fire and economic loss.

The Madera Strategic Wildfire Mitigation Project (MSWMP), initiated by Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council (YSRCDC), will fund the strategic implementation of fuel breaks and defensible landscape projects in Eastern Madera County.

Five to seven projects over three years will protect 15,000 habitable structures, as well as businesses, infrastructure and community resources. Treatments will vary based on fuel types and conditions — slope, elevation, etc. — but could include tree felling, mechanical or hand crew thinning, chipping and pile burning to accomplish public safety and fuel reduction goals.

In the next few months YSRCDC will be initiating a multi-stakeholder prioritization process to identify priority projects for implementation over the next three years.

This adaptive process will also be integrated into a 10-year strategic fuel break implementation and monitoring plan.

The prioritization and planning process will be developed in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire, Madera County, tribal governments and other natural resources experts. There will be multiple opportunities for public participation in the prioritization and planning processes, including workshops, field trips, and surveys.

Interested parties can visit the website for Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council (YSRCDC) or subscribe to their newsletter for updates on the project and information on how to get involved.

Funding for this project is provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program. Work on the fuel breaks is expected to begin this summer.

The Madera Strategic Wildfire Mitigation Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment —particularly in disadvantaged communities.

The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California.

For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website.

The Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to natural resource conservation and economic development. The Council service area includes the rural and foothill communities of Fresno, Madera, Mariposa and Tulare counties.

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