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Big Trees Village Property Owners Association

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CREATING DEFENSIBLE SPACE                                              

Why BTVPOA is a “Firewise Community

Creating defensible space is both law and a proven way to help protect our properties and our community. To create this defensible space, the Association actively supports CAL FIRE’s fire prevention program, “Volunteers in Prevention (VIP).” We recruit VIP volunteers to do lot inspections, help coordinate the program within Big Trees Village, and serve as a liaison between CAL FIRE, lot cleaning services, and property owners to ensure the community is cleaned in a timely manner. The success of VIP has resulted in Big Trees Village being designated a “Firewise Community,” a national program that increases education, awareness, and fire prevention activities in wildland interface areas.

  How Lot Inspections Work

Each year 18 teams of volunteers, property owners in Big Trees Village, conduct inspections of all the improved lots in our community, i.e., lots with homes on them.* If a property is determined to be out of compliance with Cal Fire requirements, a notice is forwarded from CAL FIRE to the property owner so that the owner can take appropriate action within a designated time frame to create adequate defensible space.


General Lot Cleaning Guidelines

  • Within 30′ of structures: needles, dead branches/limbs, and other vegetative materials are removed. Vegetative material and overhanging limbs are removed/trimmed away from roof tops; chimneys and stovepipes are covered with mesh screens to prevent sparks.
  • Within 100′ of structures (or to property line, whichever is closer): mountain misery/bear clover is trimmed to 4″ or less; dead brush around trees is removed; dead material is thinned from live vegetative material; wood piles are cleared of debris 10′ around (and preferably are located at least 30′ from structures.)
  • Note that inspectors also are checking for visible address numbers on your property so that emergency personnel can find your home, especially at night. The Calaveras County Sheriff Department can provide reflective numbers for you for a small fee.
  • Unimproved lots are inspected by Ebbetts Pass Fire, although VIP inspectors often pass on problems they observe. If you have an unimproved lot that you feel needs to be addressed, call the Ebbetts Pass Fire Prevention Officer at 209-795-7393.
  • If you have not yet been able to bring down dead trees resulting from the drought and/or bark beetle infestation, while our inspectors will not give notices for these again this year it is advisable for reasons of safety and liability to get on a professional tree removal service’s list.
  • You are required to clean up limbs and branches on and around trees lying on the ground. If you are using a lot cleaning service, they may be able to help with bucking the trees, splitting, etc.

2018 Lot Inspections Schedule

Property owners who are cleaning their lots themselves should have this done by the end of Memorial Day Weekend. The first round of lot inspections will occur right after Memorial Day. This schedule is consistent with past years; however, if there is too much snow on the ground to accomplish lot cleaning, the inspection schedule will move out and new dates posted here.

Options for Lot Cleaning

  • RAKE AND BURN OR USE A CHIPPER ON YOUR PROPERTY After May 1st, you must have a burn permit and may only burn on approved “Burn Days.” Get your permit at Ebbetts Pass Fire or CAL FIRE stations. Contact the Calaveras County Burn Information Line at 209-754-6600 for allowed burn days.
  • USE DUMPSTER BINS ON YOUR PROPERTY These are available from Cal Waste 209-795-1532. (If you are a Cal Waste customer for weekly trash pick up, you can get one bin free.)
  • HIRE A LOT CLEANING SERVICE There is a list of lot cleaning contractors on the home page of this site under “Local Businesses/Yard Clearing” or use this list: Lot cleaners list 2019
  • HAUL DEBRIS AWAY YOURSELF See the Lot Cleaners List above

The Calaveras Foothills Fire Safe Council offers a lot cleaning program for seniors and disabled persons. See if you qualify:

Helpful Information About Lot Cleaning Requirements

The links below will take you to the homeowner training slideshows provided by CAL FIRE’s Fire Prevention Specialist. The give visual information on the legal requirements and examples of specific violations. The files are in adobe pdf format and will open in your pdf viewer.
Part 1: Defensible Space Background and Laws
Part 2: Defensible Space Terms and Reality Checks
Part 3: What to Look For Around Your Home (Sections A-C)
Part 3: What to Look For Around Your Home (Sections D-F)
Part 3: What to Look For Around Your Home (Sections G-J)
Part 3: What to Look For Around Your Home (Sections K-O)

Here is a link to another important fire safety video