Community Work Day & Wildfire Preparedness
On May 7, National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, residents of Washington Hill in Grass Valley put tools, trucks, trailers, and people to work making their neighborhood safer from fire. Some homeowners created and improved the defensible space on their property; others cleared ground fuels and debris on each side of Jill Road, a major evacuation route for this neighborhood.
The Washington Hill Fire Coalition is a nationally and locally recognized Firewise Community. Homes within the community boundary are certified through the National Fire Prevention Association as a neighborhood working to improve fire resilience. “We are in our third year of certification,” says Ginger Whitehead, a member of the steering committee. “Forming meaningful bonds with neighbors, setting goals for projects, and doing the physical work together has been invaluable for our group. We have dedicated, highly trained firefighters in Nevada County, and by hardening our homes and neighborhoods on our own, firefighters’ efforts can be more effective.”
The coalition was awarded a grant from AAA and NFPA, which paid for a large dumpster to stay in the Washington Hill neighborhood for a week. “We filled it in 5 days!” says Whitehead. “Now all that fuel is out of our neighborhood, and we have earned credits toward keeping our certificate through 2023. And our neighborhood looks like the cared-for community it is.”