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Quincy HS Members

High Schools’ S Club Members Provide Fuel Reduction Cleanup for Elderly and Disabled Residents Located in a valley of northern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, Quincy has about 5,000 residents. Most homes are in two sections of town. There also are homes with greater acreage within the valley. 

While Quincy itself is not yet a Firewise-recognized community, surrounding communities such as Graeagle and Gold Mountain have been recognized, and residents of Quincy are aware of Firewise principles.

Club mitigation workSince around 2000, there have been larger fires that have occurred with greater frequency within nearby proximity to the town. “The severity and size of these fires just keeps increasing,” noted Steve Ross, whose son Nathan helped spearhead his high school S Club’s community outreach project for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. “It seems there’s smoke in the air for a couple weeks every season, whether the fires are burning nearby or within a hundred miles or so.” 

Typically, the area has approximately 100 to 120 fires per year, with about 60 percent caused by lightning strikes and the rest the result of careless actions by people. While the majority of fires are extinguished expediently, when weather conditions are dry, warm and windy, or when resources are scarce (during multiple fire responses), some fires can grow into problem fires. 

The S club students determined they would take part in the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, and for their project they chose to help elderly/disabled resi¬dents, most of whom were 75 years and older, with clearing debris on their properties. They modeled their efforts on a program conducted by the Plumas Firesafe Council, which Mr. Ross had men¬tioned to Nathan. “The idea fell in line with the club’s principle of service to the community,” said Mr. Ross. 

“Our project aimed to decrease the threat of wildfire to the properties we worked on,” explained Nathan. The students’ efforts included picking up potential wildland fuel, more specifically ground debris, and removing it to a local biomass plant or waste site. 

Quincy Newspaper ClippingApproximately 10 of the club’s 30 students took part in the activities, advised by teacher Nicole Yoacham. Many of them juggled a 5-kilometer run fundraiser
and acting in an afternoon showing of the high school’s play with their community work. 

“They raked pine needles, picked up fallen branches, and cut brush,” observed the elder Mr. Ross. The debris they gathered was then hauled in pickup trucks to the dump.
To determine residents who could benefit from the students’ services, the group contacted the Pluman Firesafe Council, and they did outreach through several local churches, the senior nutrition site, and acquaintances. 

“While they didn’t receive as many responses as they would have liked, they were able to identify a few senior homeowners that the S Club could help,” said Mr. Ross.
“The homeowners whose properties we worked were very positive,” added Nathan. “They were very grateful for our help in reducing the fuels that could be available if a fire were to threaten the area, since they were unable to do these activities on their own.” 

Community response was positive as well, including a story that appeared in the local weekly newspaper. 

“Doing the work and helping the people that we did was very fulfilling,” said Nathan.