We are a Firewise community

Firewise USA Recognition 

By Jeff Bates and David Hubbard 

When we see images of the devastation from wildfires that California residents have faced over the last few years, it is natural to ask what more we can do to better prepare our communities and ourselves in case of wildfires. These questions motivated Redwood Estates residents to attend a community wildfire-awareness seminar in April at the Redwood Estates Pavilion. This seminar was hosted by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council and the Santa Clara County Fire Department, and led by Eugenia Rendler. The seminar provided attendees with guidelines and action plans to help keep their homes and families safe, such as early evacuation planning, creating defensible spaces around their homes by minimizing brush, vegetation, ladder fuels, and removing dead trees, and keeping rooftops and gutters free of debris. 

We want to encourage our neighbors to maintain their property to minimize the spread of fire, and be available to help their neighbors do the same. 

Attendees also learned that Redwood Estates could become a Firewise USA® recognized site. We have achieved this goal. 

In order for a community to become recognized as Firewise by the National Fire Protection Association, a majority of community members must participate. They must make efforts to reduce the risk of fire by developing plans such as vegetation management, fire-resistant landscaping, clearly marked street signs, and street addresses on residential structures. They must hold community meetings to educate residents on the risks of wildfires in a wildland-urban interface area. 

Redwood Estates has always promoted fire safety, sponsoring community brush-chipping programs for the past thirty years. Redwood Estates Services Association was approached by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council to find out how our community designed the “drive-up chipping program” and began partnering with us in 2009. This partnership resulted in two annual brush-chipping days, yielding an average of 135 truckloads chipped per day. This opened doors to many community hazardous-fuel reduction programs and grant money. 

Another important aspect to becoming Firewise is to perform a community-risk assessment with the assistance of the Santa Clara County Fire Department. This assessment was reviewed and edited by Santa Clara Country Fire Battalion Chief Jon Black, who suggested ways we could reduce brush on vacant or uninhabited lots and ensure that street signs are not obstructed and are highly reflective.

These projects help keep our mountain homes and communities safe. If you have questions about fire safety in Redwood Estates, email us at resa.firewise@gmail.com, or visit www.sccfiresafe.org. Being recognized as a Firewise community is not a one-time accomplishment. It requires reducing fuels annually and making an ongoing commitment to protecting our mountain community. In the words of John Muir: “You are not in the mountains, the mountains are in you.” 

First printed in the Mountain Network News, October 2019, pp. 10–11

Leash laws in Redwood Estates

Even here in unincorporated Santa Clara County, there are leash laws for dogs. From the www.scc.gov website: “Dogs must be controlled by a 6’ leash at all times, except in designated off-leash areas. Use of extended leashes, voice control, or electronic collars does not meet the County’s ordinance requirements for controlling one’s dog.”

When you are walking your dog in Redwood Estates, please comply with the law and leash them, in order that your pet, your neighbors’ property, their children, and livestock or poultry can all stay safe.

For off-leash facilities and information about having fun with your dog in County parks, click here.

Safety note: trash bins

Please pull your trash, recycling, and organic waste bins in off the roadway immediately following trash pickup. Our roads are narrow, and cans left out are causing blockages and collision hazards on our roads.

Green Team suggests not leaving trash bins out for more than 24 hours. Thank you for your consideration for your neighbors!

Brush Chipping Days 2019

Saturday, April 27 and Saturday, May 18 are our 2019 brush chipping days.

Bring your cut brush to the Pavilion parking area between 7:30am and 3:30pm, and it will be chipped onsite.

Follow the guidelines set by the Santa Clara County Fire Safe Council’s defensible space chipping program at www.sccFireSafe.org or call 408-975-9591.