GENERAL MEETING MINUTES May 2, 2016

The Lassen County Fire Safe Council (LCFSC) convened in regular session at 6:35 p.m. on May 2, 2016 at the Susan River Fire Protection District Office located at 705-145 Hwy 395, Johnstonville. Officers present were Chairman Lloyd Keefer, Managing Director Tom Esgate, Secretary/Treasurer Cathy Dirden, and Board Member Carol Keefer.

I. Opening and Welcome: Chair Lloyd Keefer opened the meeting welcoming all and asked for introductions around.  Secretary/Treasurer Cathy Dirden gave the Treasurer’s Report.

II. Public Comment: None

III.     Managing Director’s Report: Tom Esgate reported on the following:

Active Projects:

Tom stated we have a number of projects starting to roll out; although we prefer our projects be biomass, each will be solicited as mastication as well.  If the biomass plant’s agreement doesn’t go through we must be prepared.  Our preference is to get the material off the ground.  The Notice to Bid will be in The Times on May 3rd and 10th.  Once the specs and the “show-me” tour are scheduled, bidders will be notified in a couple weeks.

Little Valley (SNC / WWU/) – SNC – Project is complete and the final retention payment is expected.  WWUI – Project is complete and finishing up the final paperwork.

Diamond Mountain CFSC – The project is hibernating until we hear the outcome of the SNC grant.  Diamond Mountain SNC USFS NEPA – The project is moving along well.

Lookout/PRCD CFSC – Same status as Diamond Mountain waiting on SNC determination.

Milford (Title III) – Milford Town Council wants an Evacuation Plan and Cathy is working with Adam Mattos of Cal Fire to get that done.

Upper Pit IRWMP / South Ash Valley – They have begun cutting and should be hauling to the biomass plant shortly.

Partners for Fish & Wildlife/PRCD – Project hand treatments to begin soon.

Title III Report The Quarterly Report was submitted to the County.  Tony stated the Board of Supervisors will get it next week in their “pass around”.  Firewise – Clear Creek is planning their Green Waste Day; Title III funds will go towardroll-off boxes.  Spalding is doing the same.  We are promoting one in Janesville; it’s a good way to get the communities thinking about doing something to reduce their fire risk.  DLB received an NFPA $500 grant for Firewise Day on May 7th as well as a Green Waste Day.  He and Cathy are working with the other communities to plan events for their re-certification this year.

CWPP – Tom apologized for not having completed it yet; he has been busy with grant applications.  He stated Supervisor Albaugh requested a drawing of the WUI around the Big Valley area to represent a watershed approach like was done for Diamond Mountain.  He will work on the map, forward to Karl for his work, then send it out to the group for consensus.  That will go into the Work Plan.  There are a couple other projects due and he is shooting for the end of May.  The Ranking is published on the website but individual projects are not up.  We are down to about $35,000 in Title III funds and our commitments to the communities and the CWPP will pretty much use that up.  Tony stated $124,000+ for 2016 was deposited yesterday. Tony stated Tom could put a letter requesting the funds.  He doesn’t know if there will be any other requests.  Title III support is generating more activities in communities than ever before.  Tony stated Supervisor Hemphill will have a Town Hall meeting soon.

Cal Fire Green House Gas – South Eagle Lake – The CEQA was cleared and the notice to bidders ad is in the paper.  We are looking at a “show-me” tour with the goal of biomass.  Work will be on Beaty ground.  Black Mountain/PRCD – The project is half Beaty and half Modoc National Forest, 900 acres each.  Beaty has clearance and is ready to go.  There will be some mastication, but primarily biomass. Tom stated Jeff Oldson is the Beaty contact.  The Modoc is a little different; PRCD is the lead agency and they published the CEQA notice with the County Clerks and State Clearinghouse.  Scott will get a copy of the documentation for review.  Tom will be asking contractors to accelerate in order to get the biomass in.  If doing as mastication we will have a longer window. Tom stated Black Mountain was a failed timber sale, where everything for the project prep was done, then it collapsed.  Modoc is working on finding a format for their agreement.

NFF Community Capacity Grant – We received $24,000 to support our Diamond Mountain effort for capacity; it will help with press releases, landowner sign-ups, and clearances.  It became effective a month ago and runs for 18 months.

PG&E – Little Valley – $44,000 was awarded for Little Valley for follow-up treatments on the right-of-way we did last year, and additional treatment on 3 specific properties.  Day Lassen Bench – We were awarded $100,000 for mastication primarily under powerlines.  PG&E requires a certified contractor for the areas under the powerlines.  In addition, there will be some small properties included.  We are in the landowner sign-up process with a completion goal of June 30th.

Applications/New Potential Projects:

WWUI Projects Diamond Mountain – Waiting on the SNC determination before moving forward.  Lookout – Looks unlikely for this round of funding.

Diamond Mountain SNC Projects – It looks “likely” to be funded.  We are planning biomass with mastication as an option.  He expects it to move quickly it should go out to bid in August.  Tom will email contractors on the bidders list and submit a notice for bidders. PRCD/Lookout – There will be a site visit Thursday, they are also in their second round of trying to get the project done.

Spooner Reservoir – This is a planning project with PRCD for $75,000 to help BLM. The project will be a juniper genocide on 440 acres.

2016 CFSC Grants – Three grant applications were submitted April 22nd; one for handwork in Little Valley which will complete the Little Valley project; one for Day Lassen Bench for a mastication project; and the third for Madeline for juniper genocide around the community.

IV. Education Report.  Two grants are funding the Firewise in the School program to be implemented in the Bieber School next week and in Richmond school in Susanville following in a week or two.  Both of the CFSC grants are paying for the education.

V. Agency Updates.

BLM – Karl had no report; there are no active projects that he’s aware of right now.

Cal Fire – Dave Junette stated Scott is working on several grants for Lassen, Modoc and Plumas and he expressed appreciation for his work on them.  Dave stated they have a new Unit Chief as of May 1st, Don Gordon.  He will be transitioning in for a couple months.  He comes with a large prevention background as a peace officer/law enforcement. Dave’s last day will be in August and he will be taking some time off before; and is doing Division Chief work until he leaves.  He stated, status-wise, everything is on track; they hired 41 fire fighters that will be trained and the helicopter will be up by the end of May.  Grasshopper will be opened next week.  Lloyd thanked Dave for his attendance and participation.

NE CA Fire Prevention – Karl reported they did a lot of programs during February, March and April in Lassen County schools and even Portola. It included kids in Head Start up to sixth grade.  They are working on the Smokey Park with Cal Fire’s support.  He and the Forest Service are supplying the labor.  The Children’s Fair is this Saturday.  He helped set-up for the Home & Garden Show last Saturday.  Leah helped Cathy out and wrote several burning permits.

NRCS – No report

USFS/Lassen – Steve Anderson reported not much has changed since the last update; the snow is melting and they a100 acre broadcast burn; all temps are coming on this week.  Matt Prentiss added when the temps come on they’ll have 2 weeks of training.

Susan River Fire Protection District – Hugh Parker reported staff is practicing and had a live fire in Standish on private property; the piles were large and, even though green, took off like crazy.  He hopes that’s not a sample of things to come.

Janesville Fire Protection District – No report.

Office of Emergency Services (OES) – Eric Ewing reported they are getting ready the Wildland Training Day on June 1st at Sierra Army Depot.  The tentative plan is to have a 20 acre parcel of sage brush to burn. This is for the local districts; Cal Fire and Forest Service are invited as well.  Janesville interviewed for a new chief they will announce their choice next week.  Rick Washabaugh is moving to Oregon.  The ICS 300/400 trainings are this month; it’s a 4 day event and classes are free.

Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) – Joe Starr reported they hired a new patrolman living in Chester and will be their 24/7 contact.  Next month the new Regeneration Forester replacing Mark Pustejovsky; Jessica will be starting next Monday.  They are staffing up and haven’t started any big sales yet since access is still an issue where they want to work.  Kelly Holt just finished a mastication project off Eagle Lake Road for them. Kelly stated they tied into the previous Lake Forest project area.

Honey Lake Power (HLP) – Mark Shaffer reported HLP is still waiting to hear on the longevity of the plant; they are getting a lot of fuel.  Wheelabrator had a major disaster on Friday; they lost all 3 generators and possibly some bearings and turbines.  They will be down from 3 weeks to 3 months; it’s not good timing.  They may not want to make the investment as their agreement is up in August.  Burney’s agreement goes through September.  There are loads of fuel transitioning; fuel is going up to Burney and Mark is getting calls from all over the valley.  If they get the word they will be closing he will have to curtail taking loads.  HLP’s agreement is up July 15th.  He may have to curtail loads in June.  Kelly asked how Tom’s conversation with Sacramento went regarding lengthening the agreement terms.  Tom stated they don’t get it.  The people in Sacramento and the Bay Area need to know that their water comes from up here.  There will be impacts of more smoke from forest fires; recreation will be impacted; we’re not generating the interest for them to understand the connection.  Tom stated, at the Collaborative Conference he attended in Denver he learned that Arizona gets it, but their power company is also the water company.  Water needs to be what they hear in Sacramento and the Bay Area and it takes a lot of money to get that across.  The group discussed concerns about the forest slowly going away with the drought, beetle kills, and closing plants. Suggestions were Facebook and Twitter.

Beaty & Associates – No report

Sierra Nevada Conservancy – No report

Honey Lake Valley RCD – No report.

Lassen County – Tony Shaw reported he and Mark Shaffer attended a Forest Service meeting on downed woody requirements trying to clean up their blowdown timber. There was a question on the NEPA about why they were leaving so much material on the ground.  It had to do with working under an old NEPA document.  The AFRC was there as well. He was invited by Dave Hays to attend the Forest Leadership meeting on forest health and the Good Neighbor Policy.  Tony is busy watching Federal and State legislation; Mr. McClintock introduced a bill on coordination of Federal plans and policies with local governments at the sub-committee for Natural Resources.  Supervisors in Tuolumne County got push-back from federal legislators in the south part of the state opposed to lumber, logging and forest health.  On the state side, Assemblyman Dahle is doing all he can to get the state legislators to visit the north counties to gain a better understanding about our concerns.  Dahle also has a pilot project passed to help coastal counties removing timber up to 24” under NTMPs to make it more economical to do thinning on private lands.  He’s trying to expand that to other counties and increase the log size to 28”.  He is getting fought hard by the environmental groups. Tony stated the BOS has a policy in place to allow the CAO to write a letter of support or opposition if it’s consistent with RCRC’s policy.  This gives them the ability to respond at the administrative level as soon as possible.  Tony stated the Hazard Mitigation Plan is underway and the City is taking the lead.

VI     Other:      Tom reminded the group that SNC is having a field tour of Tangeman’s property on June 1st with a reception to follow at Lassen Land and Trails Trust (the Depot). Their Board meeting will be at Lassen College on June 2nd

VII    Next Meeting: The next General Meeting is scheduled for June 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm.
VIII    Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 7:39 pm.