June 1, 2014
FIRE & WATER
Supplement to Gold Country Media
lacer County resi-dents should beassured that PlacerCounty Water Agency (PCWA) is doing every-thing in its power to easethe impacts of thedrought on our cus-tomers and communi-ties.Even so, we need your help.The drought we’re fac-ing this year has reachedthe point where we allmust reduce our wateruse so that we can pre-serve enough water stor-age in mountain reser-voirs to get us throughnext year, if it should alsoturn out to be dry.PCWA is anticipating up to a 40 percent reduc-tion this year in the watersupplied to us by thePacific Gas and ElectricCompany.We are making up some of this shortfallby pumping maximumlevels of water from the American River and wehave activated two emer-gency wells in the Rock-lin area.Even with thisadditional water, wemust reach a demandreduction of 10-20 per-cent. We are asking all of ourcustomers to reduce water use this year by 10percent, 20 percent if possible.Other area water suppliers are tak-ing similar measures.Saving water is not ashard as it may seem.As arule, we’re not using asmuch water as we usedto; our fixtures and appli-ances are more water-efficient, our landscapesand gardens use mulchand drought-tolerantplants and, most impor-tantly, water conserva-tion has become part of our community dia-logue. After three dry years,let’s use our limited watersupply as efficiently as wecan and look forward anew and wetter 2014/15precipitation season. Weather scientists arepredicting a building ElNiño climate pattern inthe southern PacificOcean.In the past, ElNiños have sometimesbrought wet conditionsto the West Coast.To help you save waternow, we’ve compiled lotsof helpful informationhere and on the PCWA website, pcwa.net. I hope you find it to be helpful.
Folsom Reservoir (seen here on Jan. 4) reached lows in January before late winter and spring rainsbrought needed relief.
David A.Breninger PCWA GeneralManager
Manage your water supply, reduce your use
BY SCOTT SERENBETZ
You may think the worstthing about your over-grown property is that it’ssimply an ugly mess. Butdid you know that thesame conditions thatmake it unattractive alsomake ita fire hazard? All ittakes is one spark to ignitea patch of brush or pile of dried leaves, and theresulting damage to yourland – or worse, to yourhome – can be devastat-ing.Take a look at the fol-lowing list to identify if there are hazardous con-ditions on your property.• Lack of “defensiblespace,” which is simply the area around yourhouse where the plantmaterial has been modi-fied to reduce wildfireintensity. Contact yourlocal Fire Safe Council orCDF for defensible spacerequirements.• Dead plant materialon the property, including dead trees and shrubs,dead branches lying onthe ground or stillattached to plants, yel-lowed and dried grasses,leaves and brown needles.• Height of grasses,shrubs and flowersexceeding 18 inches.• Masses of plants orbrush, referred to asa“horizontal layer” of veg-etation.• Too many flammableshrubs, including man-zanita, bear clover/mountain misery, buck brush, Scotch/SpanishBroom, juniper, blackber-ry and incense cedar.• Trees and plants atvarying heights locatednext to each other, re-ferred to as “ladder fuel.”Flames will “climb” up theladder created by thevarying heights.• Sloped areas on yourproperty can have aninfluence on fire behav-ior. The steeper the slope,the faster the fire willspread. South- andsouthwest-facing slopestend to have drier materi-al. Once you’ve set out totackle hazardous vegeta-tion, carefully evaluatethe risk of doing the work yourself before youassume it’s a good idea. Do you have access tothe appropriate equip-ment and safety gear? Willsteep or rocky terrain,equipment operation orexposure to poison oak and rattlesnakes compro-mise your safety? Many people try to perform the work themselves to savemoney. In the interest of getting the job done cor-rectly, safely and in atimely manner, don’tskimp on your budget,even if it means thatspending a little more toget help from a profes-sional service company.Finally, implement anannual maintenance rou-tine to keep your property safe. Every year, revisit thethings that make yourproperty a fire hazard andaddress those that needattention. Remember,there’s a bonus in making your property fire safe –it’sbound to look better andbe more usable, too!
Contact Scott Serenbetz, president of Bushwackers, Inc.
Is your property a fire danger?