Tag: Defensible Space

On-Demand Chipping Program for Big Bear Valley Is Chipping Away at Requests; Call 877-771-CHIP for Pick-up

Big Bear Valley, CA — The Valley-wide chipping program, still offered free of charge but now offered on-demand, has been underway since the beginning of the month—and, already, the toll-free chipping hotline at 877-771-CHIP has received over 650 requests for service. Of these, over 570 requests have been processed (as of June 23), meaning chipper crews have made curbside stops to pick up tree limbs and dead vegetation and chip it into mulch. The Valley’s fire agencies—Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City Fire Departments and San Bernardino County Fire—tell KBHR that the remaining requests will be completed within a few days. To participate in the free chipping program, once defensible space has been cleared from your property, call 877-771-CHIP to leave your address for the chipping crews which, this year, are comprised of local contractors. To allow for this free service to continue, fire agencies ask that you log your hours spent creating defensible space on the website ThinIsIn.org—to date, 884 hours have been logged by the community, which will assist in future grant funding efforts for Big Bear. As you leave your curbside piles for the chipping crews, fire agencies remind that construction debris, root balls, leaves and pine needles and cut lumber are not accepted. Update: As of Friday morning, June 25, there have been 720 requests for chipping services–and all of these have been processed!...

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Local Forest Care Program Eases Requirements, Reimburses Homeowners 75% for Creating Defensible Space

Big Bear Valley, CA — ’Tis the season to clear defensible space, to ensure that your home, our community and the surrounding forest are fire-safe for the summer season. As emphasized by Big Bear Lake Fire Chief Rod Ballard prior to a Forest Care presentation at last night’s City Council meeting, “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of each of us taking steps to create defensible space around our homes.” In addition to the free opportunity available to all Big Bear Valley residents to participate in the free neighborhood chipping program (on demand at 877-771-CHIP), the Forest Care program through the San Bernardino National Forest Association provides a 75 percent reimbursement to homeowners who spend money on tree thinning, pruning and brush removal. As explained by Forest Care’s Megan Foucht, “It’s important to create that fire-safe boundary around your home. The tree density in Big Bear is a lot lower than in other mountain communities, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. It is really important to keep your forest healthy and your home fire-safe.” New this year is Forest Care’s reduced requirement; to qualify for 75 percent reimbursement in creating defensible space, properties must have 100 trees per acre (including seedlings)—or, say, if on a quarter acre, then 25 trees. To implement the process, call Forest Care at 888/883-THIN (or 8446); then, a CalFire forester will visit the...

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Local Fire Agencies Partner to Offer Free, Curbside Chipping Program; Valley’s New Chipper Hotline is 877-771-CHIP

Big Bear Valley, CA — The free neighborhood chipping program returns to the Big Bear Valley in June and what’s new and exciting about this year’s effort is that all three local fire agencies—Big Bear City, Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino County Fire Departments—have pooled their grant resources and will implement the program collectively. In years past, certain neighborhoods have been designated for chipping services on specific weeks but, as of June 2010, all Big Bear Valley residents, renters and second homeowners will be able to call for on-demand chipping services. Once treed properties have been thinned out, limbed up and cleared of overgrown vegetation, you can call the Big Bear Valley free chipping hotline, toll-free, at 877-771-CHIP (or 2447), to have your material chipped in to mulch and carried away. For specifics on creating defensible space on your property, visit the local website ThinIsIn.org; residents are also encouraged to log hours creating defensible space, as these efforts combine to further grant opportunities for the free chipping service, while also contributing to Firewise USA Communities distinctions, which have been earned by the City of Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City and Fawnskin. As Big Bear City Fire Chief Jeff Willis tells KBHR, “Logging hours on the ThinIsIn.org website is important, because we get to use volunteer hours on work done around your house to assist us in getting...

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May 2-8 Is Wildfire Awareness Week: “Wildfire Is Coming… Is Your Home Ready?”

Per a declaration from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, this week is Wildfire Awareness Week in California and, with it, the launch of the Ready! Set! Go! Program by California fire agencies including CalFire and the San Bernardino County Fire Department. This year’s theme during Wildfire Awareness Week, which runs May 2-8, is “Wildfire is coming… Is your home ready?” Per County Fire Chief Pat Dennen, “Firefighters train hard and make countless preparations to be ready for a wildfire. Residents need to do the same. Successfully preparing for a wildfire requires residents to take personal responsibility for protecting themselves, their family and their property.” Though Big Bear Valley residents are well versed in creating defensible space, given the threat posed by living in a wildland/urban interface, the new Ready! Set! Go! approach outlines the importance of being ready by reducing the risk, being set by having an evacuation and survival plan, and “go!” as in go early when directed to evacuate. Local fire agencies within the Big Bear Valley have prepared a Big Bear-specific Ready! Set! Go! brochure, which will be available at fire departments by month’s end and, should a grant funding opportunity come through, this important information will be mailed to homeowners. Our local fire departments are also partnering to create a Valley-wide chipping program, the details of which are also expected to be released in coming weeks. In...

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Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District Honored With Third Firewise Award; Reduced Revenue from Property Taxes Results in Budget Shortfall

Big Bear Lake, CA — The Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District has both some good news and some bad news, both of which were revealed in the last week. The bad news, as the City of Big Bear Lake prepares budgets for fiscal year 2010/2011, is that the Fire Protection District looks to see a significant shortfall in revenue in the coming year, presenting a potential budget gap of $880,000 in what is, per the City’s Chief Operating Officer Kathleen Smith, roughly a $5 million annual operating budget. Per details outlined by Big Bear Lake Fire Chief Rod Ballard on April 14, approximately 85% of the fire department’s revenue comes from property taxes and given a third year of decline in these totals, as well as a 25% downturn in grant funding availability, the Fire Protection District anticipates a deficit from revenue to expenses of $881,480. As Chief Ballard, who joined the department just over a year ago, is out this week, COO Smith tells KBHR, “We are going to be setting up a budget workshop to go over what the options are for their potential budget shortfall.” In the meantime, the Fire Protection District has good news to celebrate in that, for the third consecutive year, the City of Big Bear Lake has received the Firewise Communities distinction from the Firewise Communities/USA recognition program. Big Bear Lake...

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