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Crews reducing fuels to help prevent destructive wildfires


Members of the California National Guard are joining CALFIRE crews to help reduce fuels in high wildfire risk areas.

Beal Fire Break is 25 years old and has stopped 4 wildfires in that time.

To remain effective, much of it now needs retreatment.

The fire break protects communities like Meadow Lakes, Alder Heights and Shaver Lake from wildfires in the CA-168 corridor pushing uphill from heat.

Much of teh 728 acre break was recently retreated by the United States Forest Service.

Assistant Chief Craig Tolmie says, “When a fire gets to a point where the vegetation has been managed, reduced, turned into more of a park-like setting, there is less fuel there for the fire to consume. The intensity of the fire reduces. The flames drop down to the ground-level and there’s a lot more opportunity for firefighters to get in there on the ground and stop the forward spread of that fire.”

Beal Fire Break was identified as #24 on CALFIRE’s list of the state’s most critical fire protection projects.

From fuels like dead trees, to the border between communities and wilderness, to population and how many exit routes people have, CALFIRE identified 35 top priority fire protection projects. Eight are in Central California.

Members of the California National Guard are helping CALFIRE reach its goal of completing each one by the end of the year.

Tolmie says, “It takes effort. It takes time. It takes away from other things you’d like to be doing. But it’s critical this time of year — the late spring months — that you get in there you create that defensible space. you get grasses down. You limb your trees up.”

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