Wildfire mitigation work begins in Mendocino County

Saturday, March 30, 2019
Wildfire mitigation work begins in Mendocino County
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Fire crews are starting to work in Mendocino County that could help reduce the threat of wildfires.

UKIAH, Calif. (KGO) -- For anyone who treasures living close to nature, Terrace Drive in West Ukiah might just be one version of heaven.

"The view is beautiful from my house," said Del Gutierrez.

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But when we asked if they ever considered the danger of living there residents answered-- not until last year.

It hasn't just been last year-- years back the area has been ravaged by wildfires which led to last week's proclamation of a fire emergency in advance by Governor Gavin Newsom.

"We've got to step up our game. Get our act together."

The governor and Cal Fire promised immediate action in 35 critical areas, including West Ukiah.

It has houses below, woods above. This is a classic example of what Cal Fire calls a Wildland/Urban Interface. The area has not burned in 60 years.

"I mean look at the places that have burned recently. It's going through towns," said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Michael Maynard.

Maynard does not want to see that happen here, where he grew up and still lives.

Friday, Maynard directed a crew of prisoner firefighters cutting eight miles of clearance through wooded terrain.

"We have lots of vegetation, with slope, adds to the risk of fire. And it does get windy."

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If the neighbors still don't appreciate how fast fire can move, they should speak with Elly Diaz. She's here after losing her home in Redwood Valley.

"They don't worry about it. People think they might have an hour."

Now, with this clearance work, they might get some breathing room.