Sudden Valley Firewise May 2018; How You Can Help!

by Stan Godek, Firewise Committee and Mitch Waterman, General Manager

It’s official! “NFPA Wildfire Community Preparedness Day” is on the Sudden Valley calendar! We see value in Firewise, and are offering fuel reduction to the entire community this year, to all members in all gates. All residents are encouraged to participate, to work together with your neighbors and to offer help to our seniors.

Preparedness Day, Saturday May 5th, is the weekend many community members will pitch in together to mitigate our community’s wildfire risk. Gather up all the woody fuels from around your neighborhoods and set them curbside for free chipping by the association staff. This simple act will reduce fuels in your neighborhood and mitigate wildfire risk to our entire community. We seek and encourage your participation!

Stack piles of trimmed branches and woody fuels perpendicular to the street, in a neat stack no more than 5 feet high, with largest diameter ends toward the road. Do not randomly toss branches or make tangled stacks; it creates more work for the chipping crew and slows the process.

Once your materials are set in place, chipping service can occur using one of three methods:

1. Preferred method – send an e-mail to requesting branch pickup / chipping / chip delivery. The e-mail must include the property owner’s name, email address, property address, and a contact phone number.

2. In person at the Administrative office – fill out a written request which includes the property owner’s name, email address, property address and a contact phone number. Download the form HERE.

3. Call the Administrative office at (360) 734-6430. Your request will be placed on a list. Please do not call the maintenance shop.

SVCA Maintenance staff will begin curbside chipping on Sunday, May 6th and complete on Thursday, May 10th.

Service Criteria:

• Branch diameter: Tree limbs from ½ inch up to seven (7) inches in diameter.
• Branch length: Minimum of 1 foot long
• Branch pile size/ lot: 10-foot-long by 10-foot-wide by 5 feet high
• Branch pile must be located next to the firm surface of the road, so the maintenance staff has ready access. We will not be able to work across ditches or access private property.

What we cannot chip:

• Yard waste, ferns leaves, brush, bramble berry vines, etc.
• Manufactured lumber (2x4s, etc.)

What’s next? Future community sponsored events clearing common areas, green spaces, and parks – offering an excellent opportunity to further enhance community safety. Discussions are already underway to promote a fall event.

We know all our all gates need attention. Last year’s event was tied to a limited geographic area DNR grant, but we have no such grant this year. Not only would it be awesome to have a separate grant requests for each gate, it is allowed! Why hasn’t this already been done? We simply have not enough volunteer leadership in each gate to make this happen. We need you! Last year’s two-week event was organized entirely by volunteers and the enthusiastic community support showed the need and desire for fire reduction and education in all gates, we are here… now!

How can we improve? This is where each of you can help. Come to the South Whatcom Fire Authority Pancake Feed & Firewise Event on April 28th, and/or the May 19 Sudden Valley Safety Fair to learn more.

We will keep information flowing using email blasts (if you haven’t signed up please do so on the SVCA home page), social media announcements, and Sudden Valley Community Association website. We need word-of-mouth, grassroots discussions to spread across our beautiful valley to make it healthier, more beautiful and safer for each resident!

Sudden Valley Community Association and Firewise are committed to partnering in safety. This is clearly evident in the SVCA response to Firewise request for help.

Spring is here, so roll up your sleeves and let’s work together!