AGENDA FOR A MEETING OF THE
I. CALL TO ORDER: 11:03
WILDFIRE MITIGATION COMMISSION
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
11:00AM to 1:00PM
Conference Room, Ashland Fire Station #1
455 Siskiyou Blvd
Welcome Douglas Kay, our new Wildfire Mitigation Commissioner. Former HOA President for Mountain Meadows
Attendees: Douglas Kay, Chris Chambers, Frank Betlejewski, Vicky Sturtevant, Bruce Moats, Ron Parker, Tim Bewley, Luis Ibañez, Kevin Preister, Alison Lerch Guest: Don Morris (Ross Lane Firewise Community)
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
August 12, 2015
Tim moved to approve the minutes, Vicky 2nd
, all in favor.
IV. PUBLIC FORUM
Vicky brought up the risk assessment/survey from Sandy Schaefer for the current Ashland Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The survey sampled a ribbon of people living in the wildfire hazard zone only. The current survey with Social Ecology is a broader sample of the community. It will be interesting to compare the results.
Don mentioned the current California fires asking the group why the town of Middleton burned to the ground like Oak Knoll. He also asked if anyone is doing an analysis comparing the risk to these recent California fires (Middleton) to help push the Ashland City Council to adopt stricter codes/regulations. Chris responded that there may be an opportunity of analysis if the Middleton has done a CWPP or any Firewise mitigation. Don also wondered if the houses were properly constructed/landscaped, would they still have gone up in flames. He would like to supply information to Ashland residents, as “lessons learned” themed “Post Mortems on Neighborhoods.” This could help bring Ashland’s wildfire risk to the forefront of people’s minds. Tim was impressed with the fine fuel mitigation (grass) along the highway while driving through Northern California. Vicky brought up how we need to get to people through Living in Fire Country. Vicky found the Middleton CWPP online. The group mentioned that Ashland is doing a Risk Assessment and that Firewise is an ongoing program/process. There will always be unwilling landowners and we need to work on educating the benefits of being Firewise over having privacy from your neighbors.
V. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
ACTION ITEM: Chris and Alison will talk to Chief Karns about sending information to the AIR attendees.
- Ashland Fire & Rescue Updates
- Firewise Communities
- 23 Firewise Communities (Ravenwood is the newest community), 6 communities in progress (Crestview, Henley, The Cottages, Woodland, Chautaqua Terrace & Park Estates). At least 10 new communities from AIR. Alison has contacted all existing Firewise communities, met with 11, scheduled to meet with 3 more, and will follow up with the remaining 9 communities that have not gotten back to her.
- AIR-Ashland Is Ready 2015
- Can we house the new CWPP at a location where the public can access it? If allowed, we could send out a notification to AIR participants when the CWPP is completed.
ACTION ITEM: Chris will send out an invite to the Risk Assessment meeting on September 24th
ACTION ITEM: Bruce will be added to the Risk Assessment Committee
- Risk Assessment
- The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is leading the county effort to stratify the region by risk and come up with priorities for forest restoration and fuels reduction for the Jackson County CWPP. WMC would like to tie into this effort for the Ashland CWPP. We are meeting on September 24th to see if the WMC can utilize existing risk information. That will be determined by how close in we can zoom in and how big/small the data is parceled out. We will pan through the map/data to see if we can gain a meaningful risk assessment for Ashland. The WMC has not provided funding to the county risk assessment.
ACTION ITEM: Frank will send the Social Chapter before October meeting. Alison will set a reminder in 2 weeks to ask Frank for the Social Chapter.
AGENDA ITEM FOR OCTOBER: 10 minutes for Frank to show WMC the risk assessment on the map
- Ashland Forest Plan
- Frank met with Mark Shibley to clarify some language. The Forest Lands Commission is planning on sending the updated Forest Plan to the WMC in December, but they can send the Social Chapter sooner if needed. Chris gave Frank access to the City’s GIS files, and he can now overlap the risk on the map.
- Ashland Forest Resiliency (AFR)
- A new partnership agreement of $2.4 million is signed and ready for implementation. Concurrent with that, utilizing City funding, Lomakatsi finished marking over 1,000 acres in the watershed. AFR hosted a public tour on August 29th with 27 people. There was an article featured on the front page of the Daily Tidings. This fall there will be helicopter thinning. Chris is getting bids and contracts next week, another field tour in 2 weeks, and would like to make a final decision by the 1st of November. If this timeline doesn’t work out then implementation will begin spring 2016. Starting in early October, a couple hundred acres will be treated using ground based equipment off of existing roads and trails. We will see log trucks coming through the Plaza. Existing piles will be burned this winter. This year we are going to burn every day we have clearance. There will be public outreach about “good” smoke because smoke will be more prevalent this winter. To keep up on project maintenance there will need to be 600-700 acres of burning/year. Chris is working with a local interested in biomass utilization. Some discussion from the group:
- How fast does the undergrowth come back? Natural cycle is 7-11 years. Where there is a lot of madrone, you have to be back every 5-7 years.
- Can you do spot spraying on madrone stumps? FS does not allow spraying on land within the municipal watershed.
ACTION ITEM: Commissioners will make informal face-to-face contact with key Ashland Coalition members. Vicky and Kevin will contact Sandra with the Chamber of Commerce. Chief will contact Jay, Chris will talk to Sheila with the Hospital, Tim will contact Cynthia Ryder (OSF), Vicky will call the President’s office at SOU.
ACTION ITEM: Alison will email the Talking Points to the WMC. Ron will do some editing. The submittee will meet before October 14th meeting to go through the Talking Points.
- CWPP Community Engagement:
- Ashland Coalition Talking Points
- Smoke, what does smoke mean? Can we turn it into an actionable item? Planned smoke (Rx) or unplanned smoke (wildfire).
- The message of the document is that it implies that things are getting done, but we need to change “community” to “residents” or “citizens”.
- Define “community” as “comprised of the citizens and businesses.” The document should start with the definition of the CWPP
- Explain the perks of a CWPP- access to federal grant funding
- Use Tim’s general sentences about CWPP, and then mention AFR, and explain the project work in the watershed
- Summarize the “why” of the CWPP and why it needs revamping: including the Cohesive Strategy and Fire Adapted Communities/Firewise
- Add a sentence that mentions the WMC wants to give a presentation. What is the process by which we can have an exchange with you in the future? Brainstorm session?
- This document should land at an Ashland Coalition meeting after we talk to everyone individually
- The formatting needs to be revamped to include text boxes and definitions.
- Kevin brought up that at the October meeting Social Ecology will have an in depth presentation. Luis mentioned that you need to look for alignment with their interests/WMC interests.
- Vicky suggests to keep the document simple, and move forward with talking to each member individually
- Social Ecology Update
- Kevin’s team is honing in on realtors, and that fire is a topic they avoid. How do we educate new home buyers? Same with landscapers, a few companies do promote firewise landscaping. Kevin gave a few examples of people who they have had multiple conversations with and how some people are now thinking about this wildfire and emergency preparedness. They attended the CERT meeting last week and the AIR event, and now have a list 150 people to contact.
- Approached landscapers, are you going to approach insurance agents?
- Not yet. Insurance companies do not adjust rates due to wildfire preparation. Luiz asked an insurance agency if there was a mechanism where they adjust their rates when wildfire events happen in other states. The insurance agent said no, that is done on a regional scale.
- Chris asked what have people learned about the smoke issue? Can WMC provide a meaningful dialogue about smoke? Is it worth our time? Kevin is not sure at this time. Everybody knows that the City of Ashland has done considerable efforts to clean up the watershed.
VII. COMMISSIONER COMMENTS
VIII. REVIEW AND SET COMMISSION CALENDAR / NEXT MEETING
- CWPP Outline and Timeline
- Chris and Alison will do some work on this and will put it on the top of the agenda for October.
IX. ADJOURN: 1:00 PM
- Next meeting October 14, 2015
- November’s meeting is scheduled for Wednesday the 18th.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the Public Works Office at 488-5587 (TTY phone number 1 800 735 2900). Notification 48 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to the meeting (28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title I).