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Forest Meadows

Forest MeadowsForest Meadows is a gated community located four miles from the historic Goldrush town of Murphys in the Sierra Foothills of California. At its elevation of 3500 feet, it overlooks the Stanislaus River Canyon and is surrounded by a potential wildfire environment of mixed conifer forest.

Forest Meadows Owners Association (FMOA) and its members have been aware of the threat of wildfire since community development began in 1975. This awareness led to the forming of a Volunteers In Prevention (VIP) Committee, which has as its purpose the promotion of a fire-safe environment that protects community assets and wildland resources from the hazards of wildfire. Within its scope of activities the VIP Committee will:

  • Recommend lot clearing policies and procedures for the FMOA Board of Directors.
  • Develop schedules and checklists for lot clearing inspections.
  • Inspect all lots annually for policy compliance; use standard checklists for consistent FMOA Management follow-up to lots needing attention.
  • Work with Management to assure each lot is identified for emergency access.
  • Maintain close liaison with California Department of Forestry (CDF) and Ebbetts Pass Fire District (EPFD) officials for guidance on current state and local wildfire mitigation policies.
  • Arrange for volunteer inspection training with CDF or other resources.
  • Maintain community networks through communication with local Calaveras Foothills Fire Safe Council.
  • Work with other committees and Management as needed to assure annexed properties have appropriate and timely fire prevention practices applied.
  • Develop proposals for long-term strategies that reduce fire hazards in Forest Meadows.
  • Assist with data collecting and grant writing to fund fuel reduction projects.

Forest MeadowsForest Meadows' wildfire mitigation program is a continual process wherein property owners are made aware of wildfire threat throughout the year through articles and the FMOA bi-monthly newsletter. They are encouraged to remove brush and fire ladders in the annual rainy season before attention must otherwise be spent on grass removal. Property owners have had an additional reminder from the threats made by three major wildfires within the past thirteen years, one of which reached the perimeter of Forest Meadows. The other two came within one mile.

The VIP Committee members found evidence of FMOA owners' acceptance of the community's fire mitigation program when they conducted Forest Meadows' annual lot inspection. The small and decreasing numbers of non-compliant lots often belong to absentee owners of unimproved lots or those owned as a second or vacation home.

Forest MeadowsForest Meadows' wildfire mitigation program has been applauded by local organizations including the Calaveras Foothills Fire Safe Counsel, whose coordinator, Dan Hendryks, made FMOA aware of the Firewise Communities program in early 1995. Pursuit of Firewise recognition was presented to the Association's Board of Directors by VIP liaison to the Board, Linda Kallal. Board approval was followed, on March 22-23, 2005, by an assessment by Firewise national representative, Judith Leraas Cook. Representatives of the Fire Safe Council, California Forestry and Fire Protection and Ebbits Pass Fire Department accompanied her. VIP Chairman, Cam Smith, after the annual lot inspection, submitted application to Firewise for recognition.