Butte County Fire Safe Council hosts wildfire safety tour

Butte County Fire Safe Council hosts wildfire safety tour

The Bidwell Canyon Trail in Oroville had a lot of activity during a wildfire safety tour hosted by the Butte County Fire Safe Council, Tuesday.

In a partnership with the Department of Water Resources, the council has launched its annual fuel reduction project to keep the Kelly Ridge residents safe among dense vegetation.

It's the Department of Water Resources' land, part of 45,000 acres in and around Lake Oroville, that's filled with trees.

"One of the things that we find throughout Butte County and the rest of the Northstate is this place where homes come right up against brush, trees and wild land native conditions and we call that the wild land urban interface," explained Calli-Jane DeAnda, executive director of the Butte County Fire Safe Council.

Homes border the trail, which made this area one of the top priorities for this year's project, launched in January.

The DWR and Butte County Fire Safe Council contracted with the Sheriff's Office and Mooretown Rancheria to remove the vegetation that could quickly fuel a wildfire.

"It creates a fire that's really intense because there's so much heat behind it because all of the vegetation," explained DeAnda.

It's vegetation that hadn't been trimmed in at least 80 years, but DWR staff said they're slowly but surely trimming more and more of that extensive forest land.

"The project started in 2012 and has continued yearly and each year we're trying to get more and more acreage," explained Kryssy Thompson, environmental engineer with the Department of Water Resources. "We've got about 300 acres since the beginning of the project and we're hoping for about 400 additional acres in the next five years or so."

The inmates cut and stack brush to later be burned, while the Rancheria crews physically drag it up to the chipper, being careful not to ruin any trails.

After the work is done, there's a drastic difference and it's one even the deer enjoying the trail seemed to appreciate.

For more information about the Butte County Fire Safe Council or to go on one of their future tours, click here.

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