MINUTES FOR A MEETING OF THE WILDFIRE MITIGATION COMMISSION Wednesday, October 14, 2015 11:00AM to 1:00PM Conference Room, Ashland Fire Station #1 455 Siskiyou Blvd
I. CALL TO ORDER: 11:04 AM
In attendance: Bruce Moats, Tim Bewley, Ron Parker, Doug Kay, Chris Chambers, Alison Lerch, Vicky Sturtevant Guest: Frank Betlejewski
Jeff Sharp, citizen
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: September 16, 2015
Tim moves to approve, Ron seconds, all in favor.
IV. PUBLIC FORUM
Alison will add “Action Item Update” to all future meeting agendas
Action items update: Vicky looked at the Middleton Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), and noticed it was a county level plan not a community level plan. The CWPP done back in 2004 said they didn’t think Middleton was at as much risk as some of the other communities in the county. The consequence of this may result in who gets fuels reduction project funding.
V. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Timeline for information gathering portion
We would like to create milestones for the CWPP planning process but not get overwhelmed with plotting the entire process right now. In order to start pulling the Community Engagement chapter together, we need to establish a timeline for information gathering that will satisfy our needs. The Social Chapter of the Forest Plan can be used for the CWPP with some modification. There is quality information that we would like to “steal with pride”. We are spending 80% of our CWPP budget on Kevin’s contract. The final information gathering piece will come from the Firewise AD HOC. The WMC has some community engagement to do outside of Kevin’s. His report gives us a sense of the overall community has to say, but we may find gaps in the community that we want to go after. Wrap up Community Engagement by end of 2015.
Motion: Tim moves that we meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Bruce 2nd, all in favor. Alison will send out an updated meeting date list at the next meeting. Tim will be gone in December.
Review CWPP chapter outline
Ashland Forest Plan Social Chapter
What do we need to do as a group? Where do CERT and AIR fall under? AIR goes under the Community Engagement Chapter, CERT goes under Fire Response Chapter. We will need to dig in on Post-Fire Recovery (draw from New Mexico website), draw from the 2010 Oak Knoll Fire and how the community has recovered. Weed, CA has excellent lessons learned from the Boles Fire, addressing hazardous waste clean-up. Vulnerable Populations will be drawn from a paper written by an Americorp volunteer that Chris has. The January 2016 meeting is a good time to talk about proposing a timeline. Timeline for the Risk Assessment will be presented during the December meeting.
AGENDA ITEM FOR NEXT MEETING: Discuss the FAC and Resilient Landscapes Chapters and what the WMC can do to help create them.
AD HOC Committee Reports
Risk Assessment – Present a draft product at the December meeting
Risk Assessment Map (Frank 10 minutes)
NEXT MEETING TOP OF THE AGENDA
WMC will host a get together at The Bellview Grange with all Firewise Community leaders to gather information from them as to what they would like to see incorporated in the CWPP. The Bellview Grange is $30 with a capacity of 300 people and includes a kitchen and adequate parking. One room can easily hold 100 people. If we use their kitchen it is an extra $25 but we could make it a potluck. It would be nice to have a display table and encourage people to bring before and after photos. No date is set. There is a small budget for the building rental and hors d’oerves. Doug will look into available dates on a Saturday. Alison will take care of payments and logistics with booking the room. The City will cover the liability insurance. Chris will give us ideas on vendors. Motion: Tim Moves that we support the AD HOC Firewise community to proceeds with all necessary arrangements and make it happen. Bruce seconds. All in favor.
Report on this in November
Talking Points- Tabled until next meeting
Social Ecology Update
Using a qualitative approach, the team realized when they started talking about “fire” it was brushed off, but “wildfire” got a better discussion. 340 people were interviewed through a number of venues (presentations at public events, blogs on social media, organizations, and government organizations).
Does living above or below the boulevard make a difference? Yes it does. About 100 people asked, 92 people are very aware and 82 people are active. Categories of issues: If you are planning for one disaster you are planning for all.
Evacuation routes, very little knowledge here.
Education vs. Regulation: most people want education
WHZ expansion: a lot of people did not understand of what that meant. On the cursory people understood.
County properties adjacent to the city are a problem. Privacy is a deterrent to doing fuels reduction. Some people are anti-thinning.
Homeless/transient is considered the #1 fire risk. They critique us that nothing is being done to help them. Suggestions to hold classes on how to have safe fire. Use the Fire Plan to leverage this approach. Enlist the Homeless/Transient population to be watch dogs.
Visitors (300k/year). 26 renters “I let the landlord take care of that”. The Jackson County Plan began to do a self assessment kit that they gave a renter.
Vulnerable Populations: you can get on a registry to get alerts. Developmental/Dialysis centers/homeless are all very vulnerable in a wildfire event.
Landscapers: Mountain Meadows does specific Firewise Landscaping. They want to reconcile the fire-resistant and fire-prone plant lists!**
7 Realtors were talked to, and they typically don’t mention wildfire. Could there be a Firewise certification?
Insurance companies: Premium rates are distance form fire hydrants/fire station. Companies will draw a zone and make the landowner get an inspection.
Property Management companies showed eagerness to have good information to distribute (Pacific Property, etc).
Talked to SOU and the Chamber. The Chamber thinks greenway, transients, evacuation plan are of high importance (they would sponsor a training for businesses- TALK TO CERT).
Smoke this year, everyone knew the difference between rx and wildfire. The businesses took a loss but it was not an emotional issue.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? People learn in baby steps, massive overnight change is not going to happen. Repeat visits help, one big meeting is not going to make big change. Small cores of people help mobilize. Fire department has a lot of credit in the community. Transparency prevents paranoia. People trust day to day and face to face communication. Since communication is fractured, your approach must also be fractured. Make use of the Firewise and CERT platforms. Public tours, cross fertilization. Keep it informal. Avoid authoritarian approaches. What can you turn over and have local people do. Choose people who are well regarded. Start with one-on-one. Identify people for Animal Evacuation. Find natural helpers to turn things over. Handed out a graph about strategic planning. This could be a way we can formerly organize people.
Questions from the WMC
Does Kevin think there are population centers that we are missing? He believes that most Latinos are fairly well integrated. Chris mentioned Pine Court. Young families are very concerned about child safety but are very busy. What about SOU housing?
Is there risk of moving forward with the Wildfire Hazard Zone? The lack of understanding from the survey is of concern. A form letter is sent out saying “This will decrease your property value”. Maybe involving the landscapers willing to work on the reconciliation of the 2 plant lists. Landscapers would like a Spanish speaking course.
Ashland’s ISO score is moving towards a 2. This will decrease their fire insurance.
Margueritte has a GREAT reputation!
Vicky brought up how the WMC can endorse the WHZ expansion. Do we need to put something in the Utility Bill this month for the November 2015?
FOLLOW UP WITH KEVIN
he plans on touching base with insurance company (are they using higher hazard zones to change rates). Kevin could look over drafts of the CWPP chapters that are relevant. Vicky asked about a presentation to the Chamber Board/Ashland Coalition. Start with the Chamber Board first. County Lands meetings need to have a local presence. Maybe the WMC needs to make it on the Jackson County Commission agenda.
Before we disband, Vicky would like to put the WMZ information in the utility bills. Should we do it, and should we put the WMC commission’s approval stamp on the document?
Agenda Item for next meeting: WHZ into the Utility Bill for December 2015. Vicky requests that we circulate the FACT Sheet for WHZ expansion over email before next meeting.
Motion to retain Vicky as President until June 2016. Doug second. All in favor.
Ashland Fire & Rescue Updates
Ashland Forest Plan
Ashland Forest Resiliency
VII. COMMISSIONER COMMENTS
VIII. REVIEW AND SET COMMISSION CALENDAR / NEXT MEETING
A.Next meeting November 18, 2015 (3rd Wednesday)
IX. ADJOURN: 1:05 PM
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