The Spring Mountain Fire Safe Council (SMFSC) has been established in a rural area outside St. Helena.
“The impact of last year’s Glass Fire prompted us to get ready for the next fire: to get the neighbors together, to do what we can to create a more resilient and fire-safe forest, to protect our homes and provide a resource for education and communication within the Spring Mountain community," founders Pam Bergman and Shari Gardner said in a statement. "We also hope to secure funding for vegetation management and other fire-safe projects."
“We have set up this group on a parallel track to the 12 other Fire Safe Councils in Napa County, under the umbrella of the nonprofit Napa Communities Firewise Foundation,” Bergman and Gardner said in the statement.
Individual Fire Safe councils have been conceived to be more manageable units when facing the threat of fire.
“The new Council means we can reach out to our immediate neighbors,” Bergman and Gardner said.
The contours of the new Spring Mountain Fire Safe Council extend beyond the Spring Mountain District AVA borders. “The Fire Safe Councils are arranged by community, and also somewhat by how fire is anticipated to travel,” Gardner and Bergman said.
Bergman and Gardner share the rationale from the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation website: “Our FSCs are working hard to educate homeowners about Fire Safe activities while working with local fire officials to design and implement projects that increase the wildfire survivability of their communities. Many of our Fire Safe Councils have successfully implemented such projects as hazardous fuel reduction projects, community wildfire protection planning, and homeowner training.”
As a first step in homeowner education, the new group is alerting people to a new online interactive map which Napa County has developed. This evacuation map divides Napa County into more than 250 numbered zones that will be targeted for alerts about wildfires and other threats to life or property.
“We suggest people take a look at this map and learn their own zone number, so they’ll know what alerts to listen to if we move into a fire situation,” Bergman and Gardner said.
The new SMFSC is working with a registered forester who is developing a risk assessment for the Spring Mountain area. The risk assessment is the first step toward determining the most pressing fire safety issues for the community and is required to be eligible for grant funding. The group is seeking contributions to pay for the risk assessment: donations are tax deductible, and the Bergman family will be matching donations up to $6,000.
Donations can be sent to Napa Communities Firewise Foundation (P.O. Box 440B, St. Helena, CA 94574). Checks should be made out to NCFF with SMFSC in the memo line, to ensure that the funds go to the Spring Mountain Fire Safe Council’s programs. Or donate online at napafirewise.org/donate (again indicating it’s for SMFSC).
Any funds collected above the cost of the Risk Assessment will go toward implementing fire safety projects for the Spring Mountain region.