Sierra wildfire prompts town meeting on prevention |

Sierra wildfire prompts town meeting on prevention

TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) – Local officials are holding a town meeting on fire prevention after one of the West’s largest forest fires of the season so far.

With the 14,500-acre Martis Fire along the Nevada line east of here contained and still fresh in residents’ minds, Nevada County Supervisor Barbara Green thinks now is the time to act.

Noting fire danger remains high across the Sierra, Green has called a town meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Town Hall.

”We have to try and do something,” she told Truckee’s Sierra Sun newspaper. ”Even if (we) make a few homes safer, it’s something.

”I noticed an anxiety among people in Truckee during the Martis Fire. If we want to develop rational thinking about fire (prevention), then we have to do it now.”

While formulating a city-wide fire prevention plan is a daunting task, creating neighborhood fire prevention committees may be a more realistic goal, Green said.

She hopes the public will use the town meeting as a forum for creating such groups.

She also hopes to address the dangers of shake roofs and pine needles, and the need for evacuation plans to be in place.

”If you had to evacuate, where would you go, what would you take?” she asked.

Residents also can consider such steps as applying for grants for fire prevention and having insurance companies assess their fire danger, she said.

Despite the Martis Fire, many Truckee homes still lack defensible space, said Truckee Fire Chief Mike Terwilliger.

”Some people clear and a whole lot don’t,” he said. ”Defensible space gives us a place to operate safely. And it’s the law.”

The Martis Fire was contained July 1 after a two-week, $16.3 million battle involving as many as 3,000 firefighters.

The blaze erupted June 17 at a suspected illicit marijuana farm east of Truckee amid the region’s driest conditions in a half-century. Its cause is under investigation.

The blaze did most of its damage the first day, consuming 12,000 acres, shutting down Interstate 80 and a major rail line, and threatening homes in Hirschdale, Calif.

The fire destroyed a mobile home, a cabin, three vehicles and a railroad trestle.

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