sanbernardino-thumb1Continued fuels reduction, as implemented by the San Bernardino County Fire Department, will extend through July 2013, given County Supervisors’ approval in their meeting yesterday. In order for County Fire to receive an additional $10 million in federal funding, through a grant offered by the U.S. Forest Service, matching funds of 10%–or one million dollars—will be factored into the County Fire budget over the next five years for the continuation of the San Bernardino Mountains Tree Mortality and Fuels Management Grant Program. According to the staff report from San Bernardino County Fire Chief Pat Dennen, the additional monies from this grant (which was originally for $3.5 million) will provide for continued community-based fuels reduction projects and public education, as well as funding for much needed new, and replacement, equipment for the removal and chipping of hazardous fuels in the designated project areas. Of the additional $10 million, $375,000 will be spent on new equipment, including a grappler, two chippers to assist with neighborhood curbside chipping programs, and a masticator, which is a grinding device that can rapidly cut a six-foot wide swath of Manzanita that would otherwise take hours and several crew members to complete. The County Fire Department has scheduled neighborhood chipping for our area, starting with Baldwin Lake and Fawnskin in June.
In other Big Bear-related news from the May 12 County Supervisors meeting, the special Sugarloaf tax of $63 for CSA 70 Zone R-5 road improvements and maintenance will be continued; as will special taxes for these services in areas that include Running Springs School House Road, Twin Peaks, Saw Pit Canyon and Green Valley Lake.