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March 4, 2015     Portola Reporter
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March 4, 2015
 

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6A Wednesday, March 4, 2015 Portola Reporter Greenhorn is now a Firewise Community. The distinction means that homeowners are making a coordinated effort to make their community more resilient to the threat of fire. From left: Sue McCourt, the county's fire prevention specialist; Janice Bishop, chairman of the Greenhorn Community Services District; and Tyson Rael, the Greenhorn fire chief. Photo by Debra Moore Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com There are 90 Firewise Communities in California, and now Greenhorn, near Quincy, is one of them. The designation means the community, which includes 143 homes, 238 residential lots and 236 people, has come together to make the area more resilient to the threat of fire. That's important because records show that between 1985 and 2010, 30 wildfires were reported within 2 miles of Greenhorn. "Most were controlled quickly," said Sue McCourt, the county's fire prevention specialist, "but it shows how vulnerable this area is." McCourt, Greenhorn Fire Chief Tyson Rael and Greenhorn Community Services District Chairman Janice Bishop discussed last week the importance of the Firewise designation. Bishop credited Jerry Hurley, of the Plumas County Fire Safe Council, for being the catalyst. "It took a lot of effort on Jerry Hurley's part," Bishop said. Hurley assessed the Greenhorn area and developed an action plan to help the residents protect their community. Bishop displayed a checklist of recommended items that are being addressed. "Every year we do a little more," she said. "I think most people understand fire danger and want to do all that they can." As part of the process residents must meet annually to be educated on what actions can make their homes and those of their neighbors more likely to be saved from a fire. Greenhorn has two fire engines, five firefighters and mutual aid agreements with other neighboring departments, Rael said, but in the event of a fire, there would not be enough engines or manpower to protect all structures. "If we have to choose we will try to protect the homes that are the most defensible," he said. This includes those that have had pine needles and debris removed from roofs and yards. "It's also safer for us if we do have to do fire protection," he added. In addition to making Greenhorn more fn-e resilient, McCourt and community leaders are working on an evacuation plan. A secondary route is being developed that would evacuate residents via a back road to Sloat. Being designated a Firewise Community has other benefits as well. It can affect homeowners' insurance rates, and it makes the area more apt to receive funding for fire prevention activities such as chipping or debris removal. "It puts them in line for grants," McCourt said, "because they are already a functioning entity." Other communities Greenhorn is the fifth Plumas County community to be designated Firewise, joining Gold Mountain, Graeagle Fire Protection District, Lake Almanor West and the Lake Almanor Country Club. Communities that are working toward the designation are Bailey Creek, Lake Almanor, Grizzly Ranch and Mohawk Vista. McCourt would like to see all communities attain the Firewise designation, especially as the drought continues. "We expect a big fire year," she said. But even if a community doesn't earn the designation, there is a lot that individual homeowners can do, including clearing their yards of debris and installing reflective address signs to make it easier for firefighters to locate residences. More information on Firewise Communities can be obtained by going to the website firewise.org. con al Miriam S. Cody of volunteers based in E1 Staff Writer Segundo. TR "unites the mcody@plumasnews.com skills and experiences of military veterans with first An uninsured Indian responders to rapidly deploy Valley family suffering from emergency response teams." the harsh effects of the Feb. TR's vision is to reach 6 windstorm got a big "victims on the fringe," helping hand beginning those who are outside the Friday, Feb. 20. Volunteers scope of traditional from Region 9 of the aid emergency attention, but organization Team Rubicon who clearly need help. arrived at Valivu trailer The team started with a park on North Valley Road handful of people and grew in Greenville to demolish to send thousands of the Gibsons' former home in volunteers all over the what the relief team called world, traveling to Haiti, "Operation Pineapple Chile, Burma, Pakistan and Express." elsewhere to provide With the help of Plumas assistance. County Director of TR got its name from the Emergency Services Jerry river in northeastern Italy. Sipe, many suffering "When Julius Caesar community members were crossed the Rubicon at the quickly attended to in the head of his legions and storm's aftermath. marched on Rome, it There wasn't much left to marked a point of no return. be done to pull down the The phrase 'crossing the Gibson house -- the family Rubicon' has since survived home of 40 years was already thoroughly in reference to any group destroyed. The storm pulled committing itself to a risky the fireplace into the yard course of action," reads the and tore the roof off, then website. most of the wails. Bridging the gap Bill Gibson, who owns the home, was inside at the time Team Rubicon's primary but was unharmed, mission is to provide relief "This is 40 years of my between the moment a parents' life," said Bill disaster happens and the Gibson Jr., gesturing at the point at which conventional skeleton of his childhood aid organizations respond. home next to a pile of Once that gap closes, TR rubble. "moves on." The Gibsons said they had Another way TR "bridges no current plans to rebuild, the gap" is by providing but Indian Valley is where veterans with three things they live and where they they lose after leaving the plan to stay. Friends have military. It gives them a created a Go Fund Me site purpose, a sense of for the Gibsons, where community, and a feeling people can donate to help of self-worth. them buy a new home. Go to Bill Gibson Jr. said he gofundme.com/nlxi5c to wanted to accentuate the help out. fact that Team Rubicon and Jerry Sipe had stepped in as More about Team heroes for his family. Rubicon "Jerry made this happen According to the website for my parents. That's the teamrubiconusa.org, Team important thing here," he Rubicon is an organization said. umas inlc Please excuse our appearance while To make the most of limited space and staffing, and to accommodate providers' schedule preferences, we will move some providers within buildings, and others will change buildings. These changes will accommodate three new physicians arriving later this summer and extra days from specialists. Final office placement (effective March 2015) we reorganize the Each building's halls medical offices. have received official names. The North Fork building's halls are named after regional mountain ranges: Cascade and Sierra. The Quincy building halls are named for local streets: La Porte, Jackson, Lawrence, Chandler and Main. uincy DISTRICT HOSPITAL 1065 Bucks Lake Road, Quincy 530-283-2121 Lobby