LOT CLEANING & FIRE SAFETY
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. Cal Fire Defensible Space Info here
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.* The inspectors use a Fire Safety Inspection Notice (FSIN) which is a checklist of CAL FIRE’s requirements for cleaning lots and creating defensible space. If a property is determined to be out of compliance with the 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.
Current regulations for improved lots require a 30 foot “clean” area immediately surrounding structures plus a “reduced fuel zone” of 70 feet (or to the property line.) The FSIN shows the full checklist that inspectors use. (Note that they 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. Reflective Address Sign Order Form
* 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.
There are many properties with trunks of dead/dying trees that have been felled and trees that came down during this winter’s massive storms. 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.
2017 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 during the period May 30 – June 5. 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 209-795-1532 for allowed burn days. Burn Requirements
* USE DUMPSTER BINS ON YOUR PROPERTY These are available from Cal Waste 209-795-1532. Each 3.5 cubic-yard bin rents for $95 for 7 days including delivery, pick up, and dump fees. (If you are a Cal Waste customer for weekly trash pick up, you can get one bin free.) Larger dumpsters are also available. Link to the Handy Hauler
* HAUL DEBRIS AWAY YOURSELF Rowley’s Yard Waste Disposal at 365 Biring Drive (across from the Camp Connell store) will be open from about May 15 through June from 8 am to 4:30 pm. We recommend you call 209-795-6500 for their current yard waste requirements and costs.
Note: The Gene Miller Rock and Wood Yard in Avery will not be accepting debris from property owners, only from lot cleaning contractors.
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)
Additional Questions Regarding Improved Lot Cleaning Requirements and Compliance?
Please remember that CAL FIRE sets the actual standards and makes the final determination regarding compliance. They recognize that their regulations, in many cases, will require significant clearing. They are committed to working in a spirit of collaboration with those property owners who are actively working to accomplish the 100’perimeter clearing.