El Dorado County Fire Safe Council
Board of Directors
Meeting Minutes October 27, 2004

The monthly meeting of the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council was called to order by Vicki Yorty, FSC Coordinator, at approximately 1:00 PM in the Training Room at the Gold Hill Fire Station 60051 Gold Hill Road, Placerville. CA 95667.

Attendees: Jennifer Boyd, Maria Capraun, Mary Cornelison, FSC Board, Jose Crummett, Joan Darling, Richard Englefield, FSC Board Treasurer, Greg Houghton, Penny Humphreys, Joan Jennings, FSC Board, Bob Krieg, Tom Mahach, FSC Board Vice-Chair, Teri Mizuhara, Gene Murphy, Jana Newman, Fred Ott, Audrey Paye, Ed/Audrey Pomato, Barbara Rebiskie, Bill Robinson, Jim Stewart, Walt Tyler, FSC Board Secretary, Jill Anderson, Mina Johnson, Linda Szczepanik

Vicki presented the agenda, which was approved as submitted by those present. There were no changes or additions to the previous meeting minutes. The minutes were approved by those present.

Vicki reviewed the 10-22-'04 El Dorado County Fire Safe Council Board of Directors (BOD) meeting. She explained that due to the additional time required for the BOD meeting as agenda items increase and more time necessary, the BOD would meet one week prior to the Council meeting. The BOD meeting time would continue to be at 10:00 AM and the Council at 1:00 PM. She explained that the primary purpose of the meeting was to review and comment on the proposed El Dorado County Wildfire Protection Plan. A copy was passed around the room for review. Jose Crummett, Manager EDC GIS Department, was complemented for the excellent map work he completed. The plan is scheduled for completion by November 30th and put on web site. It is proposed that individual hard copies will be available for sale through the EDCFSC. Vicki stated that the plan cost was approximately $9,000 due to utilizing the expertise of local BOD and Council members. It was estimated that a Wildfire Protection Plan prepared by a contractor or agency could cost between $25,000 and $50,000. A round of applause for all involved!

Rich Englefield described the progress with the accounting firm of Smith Maloney. He plans to have the books complete by the next BOD meeting and be able to make his report.

Vicki explained that she and Walt had met that AM regarding the RSP for the contract position(s) of Chipping Coordinator and Senior and Disabled Assistance Program Coordinator. Len Newell had previously prepared drafts of Requests for Proposals and Scope of Work. It was decided that Vicki would develop a draft RSP and e-mail copy to Personnel Committee members for review and comments.

Jana Newman announced that she would not continue her contract for Chipping Coordinator and Senior and Disabled Assistance Program Coordinator after December 31, 2004. However, she will continue to do special projects such as calendars, etc. Contract problems, which have held up payment to contractors, have been solved. The new requirement that becomes effective 1-1-05 that requires 100 feet of fire defensible space surrounding occupied dwellings/structures will have a significant impact on the Senior and Disabled Assistance Program budget. The '05 calendars are ready for distribution but the defensible space of 30' needs to be changed to 100' minimum. It is suggested that labels be prepared to attach to all informational materials regarding defensive space to show the new minimum requirement.

Vicki explained Title III funding. She indicated there will be approximately $90,000 less that expected but there will be enough funding to continue providing services. She will continue to seek additional funding wherever available.

Jennifer Boyd, USFS, and Linda Szczepanik (USDF) presented an interesting summary of the Freds and Tower fires. They described the strategies used to keep the fire out of the dwellings at Kyburz and indicated that the threat now will be landslides. Linda explained that a shortage of available equipment added to the difficulties to contain the Freds Fire. Jennifer related that the Tower Fire was on extremely difficult terrain. A large amount of old growth timber was lost to the fire. Linda stated that Sierra Pacific Industries was very helpful utilizing their equipment and manpower to help contain the Freds Fire. Linda described a map showing every residence and building in the Kyburz area indicating access by fire equipment (drive in or back in), if the building can be saved or not, resources available (water, etc.). The map/plan was the result of the Freds Fire and it is recommended that all communities develop a similar plan for action. Local Fire Safe Councils are encouraged to initiate and develop these plans. The cause of the Freds Fire and Tower Fire are still under investigation. Arson and lightning were not the cause.

A question was asked regarding the use of breathing protection masks because of the intense smoke during the Freds Fire. Appropriate masks were not available. The standard dust mask does not provide protection from smoke. Persons affected by smoke should leave the area. Vicki is exploring the availability of appropriate smoke protection masks.

Teri Mizuhara, CDF, presented information regarding minimum clearance requirements for occupied dwellings/structures effective January 1, 2005. See "S.B. 1369, Key Points: Prepared by Tom Hoffman CDF staff Chief for Fire Prevention and Pre-fire Management; October 2004." Also see Senate Bill 1369, Chapter 720, approved by Governor September 23, 2004. It is not clear what the impact will be for CDF. It is believed that fire districts will have more authority to enforce clearing of defensible spaces.

Vicki provided information from IINC., Insurance Information Network of California. A survey was conducted comparing 11 communities that face persistent fire dangers. Coordinated planning, community involvement, natural conditions, evacuation routes, building codes and other factors affecting regional fire safety were considered. El Dorado was within the third ranking.

Ed and Audrey Pomato from Outingdale asked for information to start a Fire Safe Council in Outingdale. Vicki said she would help.

Rich Englefield reported that the "hits" on the web site increased significantly during the Freds and Tower fires. The web site provided up to date information on fire and related conditions.

Gene Murphy indicated some apprehension regarding the increased need for fire prevention planning and services by qualified persons when the El Dorado County General Plan is approved. Many developments have been on hold pending approval of the plan.

Fred Ott, State Farm Insurance, provided information regarding homeowner's policies. Some older policies do not provide for current building codes or increased replacement costs. If your residence should be destroyed and you decide to rebuild, you will be required to build per current codes. If your policy does not provide for current replacement costs, you should contact your agent. Your policy will only pay up to the policy value unless additional replacement provisions are included.

Mina Johnson, Noah's Wish, reported on the animal evacuation during Freds Fire. No serious problems were encountered. Vicki said they did a super job.

Mary Cornelison reported that two of the fuel reduction demonstration areas have been completed in the Volcanoville area. She and her husband had applied for the current tree removal permit that does not require a Timber Harvest Plan. The trees have been removed and the property looks rough but it is expected to be park like in a few months.

The next EDFSC meeting will be November 17, 2004.

Submitted by: Walt Tyler, Secretary, EDCFSC