The City of Portola has the potential for a number of natural disasters that you and your family should be aware of and prepared for. The most significant threat to the community is wildfire. The fire season is a year-round reality, requiring firefighters and residents to be prepared for the threat of a wildfire. Fire is a natural aspect of our environment however, climate change, tree mortality, and a legacy of fire suppression have resulted in unprecedented levels of fuel load that puts communities like ours at risk. It is not a question of if, but when the next major wildfire will occur.
The majority of Portola residents live within the Wildland- Urban Interface (WUI) – a high-risk wildfire area containing natural fuels where the houses are built. Each year, wildfires consume hundreds of homes and structures in the WUI. As many as 1369 residential structures and 129 non-residential structures in the City are at risk during a wildfire.
GET READY! PREPARE YOUR HOME AND PROPERTY
Link: City of Portola - Defensible Space and Home Hardening Guide
Subtitle: Defensible Space Making sure that your home is ready for fire season is a year-round effort. Creating defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Defensible space is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surrounds it. This space is essential to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching the fire – either from direct flame contact, embers, or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home.
Subtitle: Green Waste Options While developing defensible space on your property, you will most likely create a lot of green waste including pine needles, tree limbs, small trees and bushes, etc. Here are some local ways to properly dispose of the waste and learn about resources.
Intermountain Disposal - http://www.intermountaindisposal.com/ Intermountain Disposal has many options for properly disposing of green waste. Sign up for curbside pickup April to October or dispose at the Delleker Transfer Station. 73980 Industrial Way, Delleker, CA 96122 530-832-4879
Plumas County Green Waste Program - https://plumascounty.us/2399/Solid-Green-Waste Green Waste can be taken to the Quincy Transfer Station for reduced and non-reduced rates. The Transfer Station allows for Woody Green Waste and Non-Woody Green Waste. 39 Abernathy Lane, Quincy, CA 95971 530-283-2004
Subtitle: Home Hardening During wildfires, embers, or burning pieces of wood, are transported through the air increasing the rate of fire spread. Embers can ignite a fire more than 2 miles from the fire front. Embers find the weak spots in your home’s fire protection scheme. Harden your home to reduce your risk, and build frequent fuel removal into your maintenance routine.
Tour your property and take an inventory of the conditions. Some of the recommendations take time, while others require a financial investment. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Subtitle: Fire Resistant Landscaping A fire-resistant landscape isn’t necessarily the same thing as a well-maintained yard. This type of landscape uses fire-resistant plants that are strategically planted to resist the spread of fire to your home. Fire resistant plants are great in California because they are often drought tolerant, too.
The good news is, you don’t need a lot of money to make your landscape fire resistant. And you will find that a fire-resistant landscape can increase your property value and conserve water while beautifying your home.
Heading: GET SET! MAKE A PLAN, PREPARE, PLAN AND STAY INFORMED BEFORE AN EMERGENCY
Link: City of Portola - Prepare your Evacuation Plan & Emergency Supply Kits
Making a plan for you and your family ahead of time is an important step toward saving lives and being able to focus during an emergency. Once you complete your plan, rehearse and discuss it regularly with your family and be familiar with your routes!
PRINT EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT Assemble a few Emergency Supply Kits before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep them easily accessible for when you need to evacuate. Backpacks work great for kits with the exception of food and water supplies and are quick to grab.
Emergency Supply Kit Checklist Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person. Map marked with at least two evacuation routes Prescriptions or special medications Change of clothing Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks First aid kit Flashlight Battery-powered radio and extra batteries Sanitation supplies Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.) Don’t forget pet food and water! Items to take if time allows: Easily carried valuables Family photos and other irreplaceable items Personal computer information on hard drives and disks Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc. Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.
Heading:GO! Evacuation preparation steps, when to evacuate, and evacuation checklist
Link - City of Portola Evacuation Guide
Evacuation routes may become severely congested in an emergency. Late evacuations contribute to traffic jams and put you, your family, neighbors, and first responders at serious risk. Leaving early can be the difference between life and death. If an evacuation is ordered, every minute counts. Do not wait. Be prepared: know where your Go Bag is, be sure you can open your garage if the power goes out, and keep children and pets close.
Plumas County Fire Safe Council https://www.plumasfiresafe.org/ Plumas County Fire Safe Council helps to reduce the loss of natural and human made resources caused by wildfire through Firewise community programs and pre-fire activities.
Assistance Opportunities: Community Chipping Program Free chipping of up to 16 linear feet that is no more than 4 feet high of woody material if piled along a road or accessible driveway. It is necessary that individual pieces be no shorter than 3 feet in length and it is preferable that they are no longer than 12 feet. Any material in excess of 16 linear feet can be chipped at a rate of $100/hour and needs to be pre-arranged with the program manager. Available to all residents up the limits of current funding Chipping schedule and guidelines available online at www.plumasfiresafe.org/chipping To participate: submit an application at www.plumasfiresafe.org/applicationCommunity Hazardous Fuel Reduction The goal of the Council’s Community Hazardous Fuel Reduction Program is to provide technical and cost share assistance to communities seeking fuel reduction treatments. Thinning of shrubs and small trees (and large trees when appropriate) in areas beyond 100 feet from a structure or on undeveloped lots Suitable for large landowners or small parcel owners who want to work with neighbors to treat 100+ acres within a community Landowner provides a $250 per acre cost share for treatment areas To request more information contact the FSC Coordinator at 530-927-5281 To participate: submit an application at www.plumasfiresafe.org/application2
Senior Disabled Defensible Space Clearance Assistance Clearance of vegetation and leaf litter from the roof, deck, and within 100 feet of the home for compliance with Public Resources Code 4291 Available for residents over the age of 65 years old or with a physical disability. The Plumas Fire Safe Council will provide a free consultation to determine what work is necessary. More information at www.plumasfiresafe.org/senior-disabled-assistance To participate: contact the Program Manager at 530-283-0829
Code Red Sign-up Code Red Local Emergency Alerts - https://www.plumascounty.us/2163/CodeRed-Emergency-Alert-System Plumas County has instituted a new rapid emergency notification service called CodeRED®. The new system will distribute emergency messages via telephone to targeted areas or the entire county at a rate of 1,000 calls per minute. CodeRED® employs a one-of-a-kind Internet mapping capability for geographic targeting of calls, coupled with a high speed telephone calling system capable of delivering customized pre-recorded emergency messages directly to homes and businesses, live individuals and answering machines.
By registering, you'll be added to the emergency call list.
This service can be used in case of fires, chemical spills, evacuations, lock downs, downed power lines, lost individuals, natural disasters, abductions, water system problems, bomb threats, or other emergencies. Calls can be geographically targeted for localized messaging. If widespread, the entire community could be called within 20 to 30 minutes. The system also reports who did not get a call so that they may be contacted by other means.
Plumas County residents are welcome and encouraged to enter their contact information for home, business, and mobile phones so they may be contacted by the system in the event of an emergency. It is important for city residents and businesses customers to register, especially if they use unlisted numbers, cell phones, or VOIP. Those who do not register their address and phone number may not be notified with CodeRED in the case of an emergency. Registration is confidential, free, and easy.