Yosemite West Property &
Homeowners, Inc.

2006 National Fire Plan Grants from the National Park Service

Grant Status: Completed

YWPHI has been awarded more than $56,000 in two grants with funding provided by a National Fire Plan grant from the National Park Service through the California Fire Safe Council (FSC). In a first for the community, full inter-agency cooperation is bringing money to fund fire safety projects that benefit all of Yosemite West. We are all grateful to see this concept realized.

Overview of Grants

Grant Number Grant Award Project Name Project Goals
06NPS8949 $20,663 Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and Fire Safe Program
  • to finalize and sign a Yosemite West CWPP
  • to establish a Fire Safe program in Yosemite West
06NPS9093 $36,000 Yosemite West Shaded Fuel Break
  • to construct a shaded fuel break on the north and west perimeter of Yosemite West

History of 2006 Grants

It has taken more than three years to go from concept to actual funding, but as of spring 2007, all is finally in place for the projects to start.

Date Timeline
December 2003 NPS comes to Yosemite West to discuss the importance of fuels management in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas. Read the December 14, 2003 meeting notes.
September 2004 Wildland Fire Associates, a consulting firm contracted by NPS, leads a community meeting to present their initial study of fire danger in and around Yosemite West. Read the September 25, 2004 meeting summary. Download the Proposed Fuel Management Strategy component of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan for Yosemite West and download the accompanying map of the Project Area. More information is available about the role of Wildland Fire Associates in fire safety.
February 2005 YWPHI Fire Safety Committee submits two concept papers followed by formal application forms requesting funds to make Yosemite West more Fire Safe to the California FSC Grants Clearinghouse, following the recommendations of Wildland Fire Associates. Read the Draft Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan prepared by Wildland Fire Associates.
April 2005 California FSC Grants Clearinghouse awards YWPHI partial funding of $56,000 for the two grants.
April 2005 YWPHI meets the Yosemite/Sequoia RC&D who agree to be the fiscal sponsor.
May 2005 NPS and Wildland Fire Associates presents the Draft Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan to Yosemite West residents at the annual YWPHI Memorial Day weekend picnic.
February 2007 NPS signs agreement with California FSC to release grant funds.
March 2007 California FSC prepares and signs agreement with YWPHI and its fiscal sponsor Yosemite/Sequoia RC&D, which they also sign authorizing the release of funds to the RC&D.
May 2007 Charles Sikora is contracted as the Project Manager to manage our two grants. Founder of Sikora Forest Consulting, Chuck Sikora is a Registered Professional Forester, licensed Professional Land Surveyor and Real Estate Broker, and member of the Association of Consulting Foresters of America, Inc. with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management. His more than forty years of forestry experience will help to ensure the successful completion of the projects.
September 2007 The Project Manager sends mailing to all Yosemite West property owners containing the Yosemite West CWPP Owner's Action Plan and the CDF General Guidelines for Creating Defensible Space.
October 2007 Construction of shaded fuel break underway on western boundary of Yosemite West.
November 2007

Construction of the shaded fuel break started around the northern and western boundaries of Yosemite West. The purpose of a fuel break is to change the behavior and character of any wildfire, so that it becomes a ground fire. A full fuel break would remove all vegetation, but a shaded fuel break leaves small woody plants among well-spaced trees. It is effective for fire safety while retaining the forest character.

There are two approaches for creating a shaded fuel break, either by using mechanical methods or fire. This project uses only mechanical methods because of safety concerns with the use of prescribed fire. On gentle slopes, mechanical methods will be used - a small bobcat-type tractor to move debris, and a chipper to dispose of the cut vegetation. On steeper slopes, hand crews with chainsaws will use the log-and-scatter technique.

Along the western boundary by the community burn pile, the vegetation was very dense. In some areas, hundreds of downed trees are piled on top of one another. A masticator (a machine like a rototiller mounted on the front of a tractor) will be used on these downed logs. The wood will remain on the ground, but its structure will have been changed into something that will not burn as readily. Another kind of masticator (a chipper mounted on the end of a small excavator or backhoe) will be used on some areas of brush.

Along the northern boundary, the topography and steep slopes often exceed 40% where chipping is not possible. The lop-and-scatter technique will be used to cut the slash into small pieces and place it on the ground. Over time, it will be incorporated into the soil structure.

November 2007-present The final CWPP was submitted to the Mariposa County Fire Department, Cal Fire and the County Sheriff on November 25, 2007 for their comments and approval before being presented to the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors for formal adoption. This process is still in progress as of May 2008.
May 2008

May 4-10, 2008 is Wildfire Awareness Week whose themes this year build upon Defensible Space is Your Responsibility and Wildfires...Will Your Home Survive?. Homeowners need to play an active role in helping themselves and neighbors, and everyone's property survive a wildfire. Participate in community fire safety activities this spring. Read the Governor's proclamation.

Work on the shaded fuel break will resume the week of May 12th now that the snow has melted.

June 2008

Yosemite West becomes the first Mariposa County community to complete a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).

At their June 17 meeting, the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) for Yosemite West. Yosemite West is the first Mariposa County community to complete a CWPP, which will become part of the overall Mariposa County CWPP that is being prepared by the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council. The Board of Supervisors' approval was the final step in a process that included approval by Mariposa County Fire Department's Chief Jim Wilson, Cal Fire's Chief Mikel Martin, and Yosemite National Park's Fire Use Manager Michael Beasley.

The non-profit Yosemite West Property & Homeowners, Inc. (YWPHI) was awarded a grant in 2006 from the National Park Service administered by the California Fire Safe Council to complete its CWPP. YWPHI used this federal funding, and matching funds from the Mariposa County Fire Department and Yosemite West property owners, along with support from its fiscal sponsor, the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, to complete the vital project.

A CWPP is a planning tool for at-risk communities in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), areas where homes meet with undeveloped wildlands, to identify and reduce the risk of wildfire across the landscape and jurisdictional boundaries. It is developed through a collaborative process that identifies and prioritizes potential solutions, so that when funding is sought to address wildfire issues, there is a comprehensive overall plan from which to start. A CWPP neither guarantees funding nor regulates actions, but communities with completed plans have a competitive edge for grants for hazard fuel reduction projects.

Wildfires in California have destroyed homes and entire neighborhoods, garnered national media attention, and created momentum for the passage of federal and state legislation addressing wildfire risk. A CWPP is a crucial step in communities working to protect themselves.

Download the press release.

August 2008

The Yosemite West CWPP on CD was mailed to every property owner of record in Yosemite West.

October 2008

Construction of the shaded fuel break was completed on October 10th. View a map of the 25-acre shaded fuel break.

November 2008

The data analysis of the Red Zone Fire Risk Assessment Survey conducted in August 2008 was completed. The Red Zone survey was first conducted in 2004 and updated in summer 2008. In mid-November, a parcel-specific report will be mailed to every property owner of record in Yosemite West with a structure.

Thanks for Successful Completion of the 2006 grants

Fall 2008 marks the successful completion of the two grants. We have many people to thank who contributed valuable time and resources to these fire safety projects during the almost five years from the time they were conceptualized in December 2003 through planning, funding and completion in November 2008. Please take a moment to read the names of the dozens of people from federal, state and county agencies, the private sector and volunteers who have worked on behalf of Yosemite West and its future.

•Thank you to the National Park Service: Mike Tollefson, Superintendent; Kelly Martin, Chief of Fire and Aviation Management; her predecessor, Tom Nichols; Deron Mills, Deputy FMO; Mike Beasley, Fire Use Manager; Jun Kinoshita, archeologist; Christie Neill, Deputy FMO; Don Coffman; Gary Wuchner, Fire Education and Information Manager; Deb Schweizer, Fire Information Specialist; Jeff Panetta. NPS consultants Dan O'Brien and Carl Douhan from Wildland Fire Associates, and Esther Mandeno from Digital Mapping Solutions.

•From CalFire: Fire Chief Mikel Martin; Kevin Smith, Mariposa Battalion Chief; Roger Simma, Battalion Chief; Ryan Williams, Pre-Fire Engineer; Karen Guillemin, Fire Prevention Specialist; and Fire Prevention Captains Paul Alvarez and Brian Cacho.

•From the U.S.D.A. Forest Service: the retired Smiley Tierney; Dan Tune; and John Brinley, Fire Prevention Technician.

•From the California Fire Safe Council: Dan Lang, Sierra Region Grants Manager; and his predecessor, Brenda Rightmyer.

•From the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council: Jan Hamilton, Kimberly Bullock, and Sean Rankin and his Terra Firma crew.

•From Mariposa County: Fire Chief Jim Wilson; his predecessor Blaine Schultz; Deputy Fire Chief Jim Middleton, and Sheriff Brian Muller.

•From the University of California at Berkeley's Center for Fire Research: Max Moritz, Director; Faith Kearns, Ph.D., Casey Cleve; Stephanie Waite; and their team of field researchers.

•From the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council, YWPHI's fiscal sponsor without whom this process would not have been possible: Bob Pickard, President; Robyn Smith, Director; Nancy Buck, bookkeeper; and Peter Thai, volunteer.

•And thanks to Chuck Sikora of Sikora Forest Consulting. Lastly, thanks goes to you, the property owners who each year rake pine needles, haul debris to the burn pile, reduce ladder fuels, participate in the chipping program, attend the community educational presentations, and help your neighbors. We apologize if we have omitted anyone's name from this list it was clearly a dedicated team effort.

Please note that the Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is entirely independent from and unrelated to the Yosemite West Special Plan, the Mariposa County General Plan, and any other planning documents that address zoning and land use issues.

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Copyright text © Yosemite West Property & Homeowners, Inc. 2003-2017. Copyright photographs © John Mock 2004-2017.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized redistribution of this document is prohibited. Updated December 28, 2016.