The Deer Creek Canyon Shaded Fuel Break will remove and reduce fuels on 1600 acres in Deer Creek canyon to make our community safer from wildfire.

A shaded fuel break is not a bare earth “fire break”. It involves thinning vegetation, especially ladder fuels, to slow down the speed and intensity of a wildfire. It gives firefighters a better place to fight the fire. Many trees and their shade will be retained.

It will improve wildfire safety for Deer Creek Canyon, Nevada City, and Grass Valley. The more neighbors who participate, the safer our overall community will be. CalFire Battalion Chief Matt Wallen has stated it is the single most effective intervention for protecting our area from wildfire.
Landowner participation is voluntary. Landowners will have their property treated for free if this project is fully funded.

A licensed forester will develop a treatment plan specific for each parcel in consultation with the property owner. Owners must maintain the treated property for 10 years.

We expect the planning phase to take 6 to 12 months after the planning phase is funded. The implementation phase will probably take several years.

This project is being developed and managed by the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County. Six Firewise communities and Nevada City Fire Safety Advisory Committee support the project.
Treatment guidelines will be similar to those of the Ponderosa West shaded fuel break but may differ depending on the funding source that is ultimately selected.  
At this point in time the examples below from Ponderosa West are theoretical only.

Remove live and dead fuels to eliminate fuel ladders, decrease horizontal and vertical continuity of flammable vegetation, decrease flammability, and accelerate decomposition. Healthy small trees and chaparral will be spaced to help prevent fire spread from canopy to canopy.

On tree-dominated sites, average stand density after treatment will be approximately 75-100 basal square feet per acre (see Q&A page for more info). On brush-dominated sites, at least one bush or group of bushes will be retained at most 100 feet apart. On poorly vegetated sites, one bush or group of bushes will be retained at most 30 feet apart.

Conifers greater than 12 inches in diameter at breast height, hardwoods greater than 10 inches diameter at breast height, and brush greater than 8 inches stump diameter will be retained if deemed safe and spacing allows.

Wildlife trees, snags, and/or large woody debris will be retained as important elements of value to wildlife. The SFB will retain at least one per acre averaged across the treatment unit.

Soils, site factors, and timing must be suitable for equipment to avoid excessive compaction, rutting, or damage to soils surface.

Manzanita is a target for removal due to its high burning intensity and ability to send embers a long distance. Large bushes with trunks greater than 8 inches will be retained when spacing allows.

Oaks are not a target species and will be retained for shade and habitat if they are healthy and spacing allows. Multi-trunked oaks will be thinned to promote canopy growth.

McNab cypress, if it exists in the treatment area, will be retained and limbed up to six feet, and young trees will be thinned.

Non-target plants such as coffeeberry, redbud, silk tassel, and toyon will be retained for wildlife food and cover, as spacing permits. These species are not highly flammable.

Riparian overstory trees will be retained as much as possible for shade. Riparian vegetation such as willow, cottonwood, redbud, dogwood, and the like will be retained.

No fuel piling or burning will occur in waterways.
Property owners that live within the project boundary can fill out this form to express interest in participating. This form does not legally commit or bind you to anything. It is simply a way for you to let us know that you might like vegetation removal on your parcel. Again, this is only for those folks that own property within the boundary of this project outlined on the map page.

You've already responded.

You can submit this form only once.

The following Deer Creek Canyon Firewise Communities joined together to support the Deer Creek Canyon Shaded Fuel Break Project. They are:
  • Greater Champion (GCNA)
  • Deer Creek South Side (DCSS)
  • Foxwood-Slate Creek
  • Echo Ridge
  • Kentucky Flat
  • Mountain Lake Estates
  • Nevada City Fire Safety Advisory Committee*
This link will allow you to see a detailed map of each Firewise Community

* Nevada City Fire Safety Advisory Committee is not a Firewise Community
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Seeking Funding

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Project has taken shape.

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Communities in action.

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What is a Shaded Fuel Break?

According to CALFIRE:

"Shaded fuelbreaks are strips of land in which vegetation has been modified rather than removed. The purpose is to reduce the amount of combustible material so that when a fire hits the shaded fuelbreak it will decrease in intensity, cool down, and drop from the canopy to the ground. "

How do you know what needs to be done on my property?

Treatments are tailored specifically to each individual parcel with regard to specific factors like slope, road access, topography, water courses, sensitive species, and land owner input.

What are my requirements to participate?

You must own property that is located within the footprint of the project outline. And you must agree to maintain and keep up the treatment after the project is complete. This means continuing to remove the brush and lower ladder fuels as they grow back. The good news is that this maintenance is much easier to complete after the inital removal and clearance has been completed.

How will the areas near Deer Creek be handled?

There will be a 200-foot riparian buffer on each side of Deer Creek that won’t be treated to protect this environmentally sensitive area. Each parcel plan developed by the forester will indicate if there are additional riparian buffers. Generally speaking, smaller creeks will have smaller riparian buffers.

How does this fuels reduction work affect the wildlife on my property?

Clearing brush will potentilly reduce the presence of rattlesnakes and rodents (and the fleas and ticks that come with them) on your parcel as well as opening up a line of sight for raptors and other birds to better hunt smaller animals. You may notice more owls and hawks moving in after treatments are completed.
Not to worry, treatments generally include leaving "islands" for smaller birds and wildlife to dwell in. Remember a shaded fuel break is just reducing the overloaded ladder fuels, NOT removing everything that's green from the land.

What is “basal square feet” and how do I estimate it?

Basal square feet (bsf) is a measure of the density of trees on a piece of land. 
Tree diameter at 4.5’ above the groundBasal square feet

After fuel reduction is done, how many trees will I have left?

It depends on their size.  Here’s an example, per acre:
10 trees that are 1 foot in diameter (0.8 bsf x 10 = 8 basal sf)
10 trees that are 2 feet in diameter (3.14 bsf x 10 = 31.4 bsf)
4 trees that are 3 feet in diameter (7.1 bsf x 4 = 28.4 bsf
2 trees that are 4 feet in diameter (12.6 bsf x 2 = 25.2 bsf)
  • 143 Spring Hill Drive, Grass Valley, CA, USA