Community safety with proper fire planning
Let’s face it: wildfire is a big concern in Butte County. Residents have seen first-hand the devastating effects it can have, and many lived through it. In the valley, most of Chico is at a slight advantage with fewer hard-to-navigate mountains.
However, wildfire education is still extremely important for Chico residents. Our goal, said Fire Chief Standridge in a recent City Council meeting is to “educate the community about the ability to harden their home by creating additional defensible space.”
Fortunately, Valley’s Edge is designed with defensible space and fire safety in mind and provides maintained fire breaks that don’t exist currently exist today.
Protecting the community
Valley’s Edge has designated the importance of creating and maintaining big firebreaks which allow firefighters to protect an area. This protection from wildfire doesn’t exist on this unmanaged land in its current use today. Valley’s Edge will help protect Chico if fire comes over the hill from Paradise or the canyon.
The plan for Valley’s Edge establishes guidelines, management, and standards enabling the area to develop into a more fire-resistant community.
- A combination of elements such as landscaping, construction, and natural resources including a lake to protect residents from fire.
- Open space buffers and firebreaks help minimize fire hazards and spread.
- Firewise construction for buildings along the Wildlife Urban Interface (WUI) means reduced threat of ignition and minimized risk of spread of structure fires.
VE will act much like the Wildland Buffer Project
Spearheaded by Dan Efseaff, the District Manager for the Paradise Recreation and Park District (PRPD), the Wildland Buffer Project is developing a strip of managed land around the outside of the Town of Paradise consisting of empty lots, trails, parks, etc. The plan is to use this area as a firebreak and reduce the risk of wildfire through this buffer zone. In places that you can give nature some room, said Efseaff, you actually help fortify our infrastructure.”
Valley’s Edge Creates Improved Access for Fire Professionals
Chief Steve Standridge also noted Valley’s Edge helps provide easy access for firefighters to bring in trucks and supplies.
“Valley’s Edge has done a remarkable job of taking our feedback and building [fire protection access] access into their plans,” Standridge said. “Specifically, north-south access which we struggle with. For example, in Canyon Oaks, it makes it very difficult for us to put resources deep into that community and then relocate them to other more critical areas.”
Environmental Impact Report Demonstrates Improved Fire Safety
The most recent Environmental Impact Report for Valley’s Edge indicates the plan can help provide additional safety to the city of Chico: “Adherence to the plan would minimize the potential for construction-related ignition events to occur. This, in turn, would not only provide protection to the project but also to the surrounding areas by limiting the potential for on-site ignitions to occur and potentially impact off-site areas.”
Valley’s Edge is designed with fire safety and fire protection access in mind. Want to learn more? Head over to the website for Valley’s Edge.