The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council and CAL FIRE are working together to complete a shaded fuel break in the Santa Cruz Mountains. A shaded fuel break is one tool that is used to increase the resilience of a community and reduce the risk of catastrophic loss of life and property. Shaded fuel breaks are created by removing brush, dead and dying vegetation and low limbs of trees, reducing the ability of fire to climb vertically into the tree canopy. Keeping any potential fire close to the ground increases the ability for responders to extinguish the fire quickly.
The fuel break is being planned and executed cooperatively by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council and CAL FIRE. The project will encompass the 6.5 mile corridor along Highway 17 between Los Gatos’ Main Street Bridge and the Summit Road overpass. Adjoining communities, including both public and private land, will be included.
This multi-agency project has been funded through the California Climate Initiative, and the size and scope of this project is unlike anything that has been done in the past. Governor Newsom, who proclaimed a State of Emergency regarding the risk of wildfire to vulnerable communities in California, directed CAL FIRE to make this project -- along with 34 other similar projects in the state -- a top priority. CAL FIRE has shifted local resources to focus attention to this very important and valuable endeavor.
Agencies collaborating with the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council and CAL FIRE include CalTrans, the California Highway Patrol, Chemeketa Park, Dudek, Mid-Peninsula Open Space District, Redwood Estates, Santa Clara County Fire, Santa Clara County Roads and Airports, Santa Clara County Parks, Santa Clara Valley Water District, San Jose Water Company and the Town of Los Gatos.There will be several phases of the project over the coming months. Most of the phases will have minor to no impact on the roadway, however some parts of the project will affect travel on Hwy 17. The project team is working to reduce the impact on travel and will provide early notification to residents and drivers. Information will be shared through multiple sources including radio, notification lists, digital and print media. The project’s website, www.firesafe17.com, provides answers to frequently asked questions, project updates and news reports for commuters and information for residents whose properties are near the designated work areas.
The SR17 Fuel Break Project
will improve wildfire safety
along and near Highway 17 by reducing the wildfire fuel load
The SR17 Fuel Break Project Team is in the early and rapidly evolving stages of growth. The Project Core Team is developing a well thought out and efficient plan of action at the direction of the Governor of California. The mandate was to identify areas in the State of California’s “Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)” that required proactive action. Chemeketa Park is located in one of the selected areas. The SR17 Fuel Break Project will have a direct, immediate and positive impact on Chemeketa Park’s fire safety.
A team from CAL FIRE and the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council will be knocking on doors soon requesting permission to access selected properties to assess fire hazards and develop a plan to mitigate the hazard. Look for them beginning on Saturday, July 27,2019. Work crews are tentatively scheduled to start work in September. The crews will remove brush, dead or dying trees and clean up the lower branches of the remaining trees in order to create a “shaded fuel break/evacuation route”, which will slow and reduce the spread of a wildfire. Work will only occur on parcels with willing landowners. If you live along or very close to Ogallala Warpath Trail, please expect a visit. More details to follow.
In the meantime, the team has created a website that will be updated regularly. Check out the website at www.firesafe17.com. You will find a ton of information including announcements of upcoming public information meetings, links to downloads, and a form where you can ask questions. The team will get back to you quickly!
The San Jose Water Montevina pipe replacement project began June 24th. The first part of this project, locating the pipes, has been completed. They are currently in the next stage of the project which includes closing Old Santa Cruz Hwy.from Idylwild to Ogallala Warpath (lower park entrance) as they dig up the street and replace the pipes. The crew will be working during the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday for the next few weeks. OSCH will be opened at the end of each day, after construction.
We may have to exit the Park at the Edwards or upper Ogallala exit and enter Hwy. 17 via Holy City / Redwood Estates. Be safe and give yourself extra time during these hours.
If drying is slower than expected, schedule may change.
Day 1 – Monday June 17
Day 2 – Begin Tuesday, June 18, but may end mid-afternoon to help with Wed am garbage trucks
Day 3 – Thursday, June 20 or maybe Friday, June 21
Keep checking this website, Nextdoor and Facebook for updates.
Help reduce wildfire risk and better prepare your family and your home with our -Ready,Set,Go prograrn.
JOIN US AND LEARN HOW TO:
Get your home READY by creating defensible space to buffer it from flammable vegetation such as grass, trees and shrubs. Defensible space helps to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and increases the chance of your home surviving a wildfire.
SET your family up to be prepared for wildfires and other disasters by creating an action plan that will help you survive and communicate if you must evacuate your home.
Be ready to GO. Take the evacuation steps necessary to give your
house o t e est chance of surviving a wildfire. Stay informed and leave early to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion.
For more information, please visit www.sccfd.org.
Local meetings take place on Tuesday April 30 at Redwood Estates Pavilion 6:30pm - 8:00pm and another on Tuesday May 14, 2019 6:30pm - 8:00pm at Redwood Estates Pavilion.