PRATHER, Calif. (KGPE) – Several dozen people gathered in Prather on Thursday to talk about fire prevention projects and plans.
Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig hosted a community meeting at Foothill Elementary School.
He spoke to a crowd directly impacted by last year’s devastating Creek Fire, saying there needs to be more buffers around properties, active burning and a revival of the timber industry.
“The forest is overgrown. We have a lot of fuels that need to come out of the forest and we can’t do that alone,” Magsig said.
The meeting brought together agencies and groups who are working together for a common goal. They included the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire and Fresno County Public Works.
Each speaker gave progress updates on where things stand.
“To date the county has secured over 12-million dollars, that funding has allowed us to remove upwards of 30,000 trees and 20,000 cubic yards of material from the mountain,” Augie Ramirez of Fresno County Public Works and Planning said.
Representatives also discussed what’s ahead.
Cal Fire is launching an innovative new fuel reduction program. They’re in the midst of creating a prescribed fire training center, which will recruit homeowners.
“What that looks like? There’s a lot of unknowns. But it’s to help the private property owners to get in there. We’ll teach them how to do fire safely,” Marc Bontrager said.
A master stewardship agreement is also allowing local agencies access to thin and clear the forest in federal lands.
Magsig said the partnerships between these federal, state and local agencies will be the key to all aspects of a healthy forest.
“Over the course of really the last 10 or 12 years a lot of these organizations have worked in a vacuum. They’ve had their individual projects. But now more than ever, we need to coordinate our efforts together,” he said.
Magsig said this is just the beginning of the discussion and he wants to hear ideas from the community to keep the dialog going.