A Message from District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler’s Office —
MADERA COUNTY — Supervisor Wheeler has been working non-stop on the tree mortality issues that we face in Eastern Madera County. Now, he is organizing a Tree Mortality Resource Fair for constituents to get one-on-one time with key partners that may be able to provide resources or educational information.
The Resource Fair will take place on Saturday, Apr. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Oakhurst Elementary School Auditorium. Booths from a number of organizations will be set up and the public can come in at any time during the Fair to talk with them directly . Representatives onsite will include:
- Home Owners Insurance Contacts
- Madera County FireWise Program & Coordinator
- Natural Resource Conservation Services
- Office of Emergency Service – Madera & Mariposa County
- Pacific Gas & Electric
- Sierra Nevada Conservancy
- United States Forest Service, Bass Lake Ranger District
- Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council
Here is a recap of efforts to date and to let everyone know that while a lot has been done, it is not enough, and that he will continue to fight for resources —
· Supervisor Wheeler hosted his first informational meeting on the Bark Beetle in May 2015 where nearly 200 people were present and has continued to update the public at his monthly town hall meetings
· When the number of dead and dying trees increased in late summer 2015 he began an initiative to get a County wide emergency in place which became effective in September 2015
· In October he had a meeting with the Governor about the need for a State wide emergency and by October 30th the Governor released his emergency Executive Order
· In November the Governor convened a Tree Mortality Task Force (TMTF) who set priorities and agreed to meet monthly – http://www.fire.ca.gov/treetaskforce/
· At the December TMTF meeting eight working groups were established and six priority counties were identified, including Madera
· At the January TMTF working groups reported out for the first time which let us better understand the larger picture, which includes millions of dead trees – numbers are expected to continue growing
· Throughout this process Supervisor Wheeler has been advocating for private land owners. Supervisor Wheeler has weekly meetings with key staff and partners to try and identify resources that may be available and find ways to move forward in these difficult time
· In February all six of the priority counties presented at the Governors Tree Mortality Task Force meeting where Supervisor Wheeler pushed for private land owner resources as well as the need for equipment, contractor support and a place/market for the material
Supervisor Wheeler continues to be at the forefront of this issue and hopes that sometime in the near future either FEMA support dollars, tax credits or low interest rate loans will be available for private land owners. In the meantime he has worked with Cal Fire to identify priority roads in Eastern Madera County to make our roads safe which double as fuel breaks for our communities.
Please note that this is only a recap. A lot of other parallel efforts are occurring simultaneously. Do not hesitate to call Supervisor Wheeler’s Office at 559-662-6050 if you have any questions. Thanks for your time and patience during these difficult times and we hope to see you at the Resource Fair on Saturday, Apr. 2.