Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis outlined some specifics of the hazard abatement program, otherwise known as neighborhood chipping, during this week’s meeting of the Board of Directors of the Big Bear City Community Services District. With assistance from San Bernardino County crews, the Big Bear City Fire Department has been chipping dead vegetation and tree trimmings left curbside by residents of the East Valley. Though given the response in this, the program’s third year, Chief Willis pointed out, “We’re behind schedule. We’re behind three weeks, which is actually a problem I like having to solve. We’re responding and doing the best we can. The reason we’re behind is because of tremendous community support.” In addition to years’ worth of neighborhood chipping programs, which have earned Big Bear City the distinction of being named a Firewise USA Community, the fire department is working toward additional hazard abatement to enhance fire safety for the Valley. “We’re now moving into more of an enforcement mode,” Willis notes. “As a community, we’re working toward hardening our [fire] line, and then coming inward.” To this end, the Big Bear City Fire Department has also been working toward completion of a fuel break, from Erwin Lake west behind Sugarloaf and to Moonridge; next year, the department will tackle the area from Erwin Lake toward Pioneertown and back toward Van Dusen Canyon and the Whispering Forest area.
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