Yosemite West Property &
What YWPHI is doing to Make Yosemite West a Fire Safe Community
|Mission of the YWPHI Fire Safety Committee
The mission of the YWPHI Fire Safety Committee is to preserve Yosemite West's natural and built resources by educating and mobilizing all property owners to make their houses, lots and the community Fire Safe.
The YWPHI Fire Safety Committee does not fight fires nor enforce any laws or regulations. The YWPHI Fire Safety Committee seeks to communicate and cooperate with County, State and Federal agencies whose mission is fire protection and public safety.
YWPHI secured nine grant awards for Yosemite West totaling more than $840,000 for hazardous fuel reduction in our community.
- Sponsored Annual YWPHI Spring Chipping Program, May 29, 2012. The goal of the program is to facilitate creation of community wide defensible space in compliance with PRC 4291. The program chipped 45-owner made piles, representing the largest participation in the program that was chipped at the least cost to date.
- Organized the July 27, 2011 Fire Hose & Hydrant Training. The training was coordinated by resident Malcolm Neal, and led by Mariposa County Division Chief Curtis Jackson and NPS Fire Captain Bernard Spielman. Twelve homeowners participated from 8 households, including 1 rental operator.
- Organized the 2011 Memorial Day Weekend clean-up of yard debris and sponsored a community picnic on May 29, 2011 attended by 25 people (during a snowstorm).
- We completed on-the-ground work inside the community for this season, treating 71 parcels (25 houses and 46 vacant lots) and chipping approximately 2000 tons. See Participating Parcels Map. The two-year combined participation total is 172 parcels or 60% of all parcels in Yosemite West.
- Organized the 2010 Memorial Day Weekend clean-up of yard debris and sponsored a community picnic on May 30, 2010 attended by 55 people.
- In June 2010, YWPHI was awarded a new $94,350 fire safety grant.
- In February 2010, YWPHI submitted a $94,350 grant application to the Fire Safe California Grants Clearinghouse to request funding to increase defensible space on an additional 49 acres within Yosemite West (Project Area YW-004). This project is identified in the Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), (see Phase II, see Appendix H).
- Completed defensible space fuel reduction on 30% of the 293 parcels or 90 parcels (ie, 30% of the 109 acres or 36 acres) in Yosemite West. We exceeded the project's goal by treating 101 parcels (58 houses and 43 vacant lots) on approximately 37 acres (see Participating Parcels Map). We estimate the project cut and chipped 1330 tons of fuel.
- Held community meetings during planning phase before implementation of the Yosemite West Defensible Space Project starts.
- Organized the 2009 Memorial Day Weekend clean-up of yard debris and sponsored a community picnic on May 24, 2009 attended by 50 people: 40 residents from 23 households; and 10 guest family members.
- In May 2009, YWPHI was awarded a new $304,830 fire safety grant.
- In February 2009, YWPHI submitted a concept paper to the Fire Safe California Grants Clearinghouse to request funding to increase defensible space on an additional 51 acres within Yosemite West (Project Area YW-006) and to increase the shaded fuel break on the north and west perimeter of the community by 230 acres or approximately half a mile in width (Project Areas YW-002 and YW-003). Both projects are identified in the Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) as having the highest priority (Phase I, see Appendix H). The concept paper was accepted for partial funding of $312,043 on April 20, 2009. YWPHI submitted a formal grant application and required documentation by the May 22, 2009 deadline and is awaiting the final funding decision. The project was funded in Fall 2009 for $304,830; follow project progress on the grants page.
Visit the Yosemite West Fire Safety Grants page for further information.
- Yosemite West becomes the first Mariposa County community to complete a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), a four-year long process initiated by NPS and completed through two grants awarded to YWPHI with funding provided by a National Fire Plan grant from the National Park Service through the California Fire Safe Council.
- Sponsored 4th Annual YWPHI Spring Chipping Program in collaboration with the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council, June 2-3, 2008. The goal of the program is to facilitate creation of community wide defensible space in compliance with PRC 4291. Twenty-eight property owners of 31 parcels (25 houses and six vacant lots) participated in the program, representing 29% of the YWPHI membership.
- Organized introduction and training sessions of Cal Fire's "Volunteers-in-Prevention" (VIP) Program where citizen volunteers donate their time to work with their neighbors in preventing and reducing loss of life and property from wildland fire through community education.
- Conducted the In-Kind Services Survey of all property owners in Yosemite West to estimate of the value of our community's work to improve defensible space in Yosemite West. The hours of volunteer labor that property owners put in each year for fire safety on their property have a dollar value. That value, along with any out-of-pocket expenses, is a measure of our community contribution, called in-kind services, that we can use when applying for grants through the California Fire Safe Council Grants Clearinghouse. These grants can be used to conduct future fire safety activities in the community and will benefit everyone. Participation in the survey, helps strengthen grant proposals by demonstrating what Yosemite West is doing to help protect itself from wildland fire. Since the more volunteer labor we can document, the more grant monies Yosemite West may be eligible to receive as matching funds for the in-kind services.
- In February 2008, YWPHI submitted a concept paper to the Fire Safe California Grants Clearinghouse to request funding for the $75,655 Yosemite West Improve Defensible Space Within Community Project, which the Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) identifies as having the highest priority. The preliminary decisions on which projects might be awarded grant funding will be announced March 28, 2008.
- In December 2007, YWPHI submitted the Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) to county and state authorities for approval.
- Requested Mariposa County Public Works Department to assist with snow removal around selected fire hydrants, so hydrants are readily accessible in snow conditions (hydrant #8 pictured).
- Sponsored 3rd Annual YWPHI Spring Chipping Program in collaboration with the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council, May 29-31, 2007. The goal of the program was to promote creating community wide defensible space in compliance with PRC 4291. Participation was open to all property owners who are YWPHI members. Twenty-nine property owners of 32 parcels participated in the program, representing 30% of the YWPHI membership.
- Organized the 2007 Memorial Day weekend clean-up of yard debris and sponsored a community picnic on May 27, 2007 attended by 55 people: 6 guests, and 49 residents from 18 households. Guest speakers were the fire safety grants project manager Charles Sikora and his wife Marilyn, Fire Prevention Technicians John Brinley (North Fork) and Brian Thurman (Midpines) from the U.S. Forest Service, and Fire Chief Kelly Martin from Yosemite National Park and her husband Paul Heffner.
- Organized the May 15, 2007 Yosemite West Hose & Hydrant Training. The training was coordinated by Deron Mills, NPS Deputy FMO, and led by Mariposa County Fire Chief Jim Wilson and NPS Wawona Station Chief Jeff Panetta. Thirty-one community members participated: 14 homeowners, 1 long-term renter, and 16 rental agency employees.
- Gave a presentation of YWPHI fire safety activities to the Pacific Rim Association of Resource Conservation & Development council's annual meeting: "The New Gold Rush:
Sustaining Natural Resources and Supporting Rural Communities for Future Generations"
- Facilitated the Center for Fire Research and Outreach completing a Structural Vulnerability Survey, which was mailed to all homeowners in Yosemite West rating and detailing fire hazard mitigation issues.
- Created a liaison and facilitated a community meeting with the Center for Fire Research & Outreach from University of California, Berkeley; download their two-page flyer with overviews of the Center for Fire Research and Outreach (page 1) and their Fire Information Engine (page 2)
- Organized the Memorial Day weekend clean-up of yard debris
- YWPHI organized and funded a Chipping Program, May 30-31, 2006. The goals of the program were to facilitate compliance with the new 100-foot Defensible Space regulations, and reduce the amount of yard debris that goes onto the community burn pile. Participation was open to YWPHI members as well as non-members. Thirty-five property owners of 44 parcels participated in the program, representing 31% of the YWPHI membership.
- In January 2006, YWPHI submitted a concept paper to the Fire Safe California Grants Clearinghouse to request funding for a "Yosemite West Defensible Space Program." This action was recommended by Wildland Fire Associates, the consultants hired by NPS who prepared the Draft Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The preliminary decisions on which programs might receive funding will be announced in mid-March 2006.
- Organized the Memorial Day weekend clean-up of yard debris
- YWPHI organized a community work party for July 2. Volunteers cleared obstructions from around all 24 fire hydrants in the community. We found that 25% of the hydrants were blocked by dirt and rock, and another 10% by snow stakes. This completed the community portion of the work to ensure accessibility to fire hydrants. YWPHI inventoried the fire hydrants in fall 2004 and provided a detailed list to Mariposa County Public Works Department. In early fall 2005, the county installed uniform reflective markers at each fire hydrant. We hope this work will be useful to Mariposa County Fire Department in preparing their community risk assessment, and to Yosemite National Park Fire Department in the event of an actual fire.
- YWPHI prepared a Fire Education Packet containing materials from Firewise and Fire Safe Council. The packets were distributed at the Memorial Day Weekend Yard Clean-up on May 29, 2005. Read more about the Fire Education Packet and how to get one.
- YWPHI worked with the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council (MCFSC) to reduce our vulnerability from the threat of wildfire. MCFSC has a two-year grant funding a county-wide chipping program for a chipper and crew to visit every community in Mariposa County for two days. A three-person crew spent three days in Yosemite West from May 23 to May 25, 2005 and chipped 16 tons to branches, limbs and small trees. The MCFSC chipping program was made available to every property owner in Yosemite West and was not limited to YWPHI members. The successful chipping program helped Yosemite West to reduce the amount of dead-and-down wood on the ground and improve defensible space around houses, and reduce the amount of yard debris that goes on the community burn pile during our annual Memorial Day yard debris clean-up.
- YWPHI resumed community fire safety training sessions on the procedures for opening and closing fire hydrants and using fire hoses so residents can learn how to take an active role in protecting your property from fire.
- YWPHI prepared concept papers for Fire Safe California Grants Clearinghouse to request funding to make Yosemite West more Fire Safe. These actions were recommended by Wildland Fire Associates, the consultants hired by NPS who presented their initial study of fire danger in and around Yosemite West to the community at a public meeting on September 25, 2004. Read the Draft Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan prepared by Wildland Fire Associates.
Read Your Membership Dues at Work in 2004 to learn how YWPHI spent your money on the following fire safety activities and other community projects.
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- Organized the Memorial Day weekend clean-up of yard debris
- Acted as liaison between the community and local agencies
- Promoted fire safety education by arranging for U.S. Forest Service, NPS and Mariposa County Fire Department personnel to attend the Memorial Day weekend picnic and two fire safety trainings
- Supported the Mariposa County Fire Department in conducting a Geographical Information System (GIS) survey of Yosemite West. Read more about MCFD's GIS Survey to find out what it means to you. Are you in the Red Zone?
- Designed, constructed and installed three metal fire hose houses to store emergency fire equipment throughout Yosemite West where it will be more readily accessible. YWPHI owns fire hoses, nozzles and related equipment that is for emergency use until a fire company can arrive. Yosemite National Park and Mariposa County Fire Department very generously donated additional fire hose and hardware, giving us enough equipment to stock four locations in Yosemite West. Three red steel fire hose houses augment the previous single storage site, which is on Ken Wall's porch. That site (at the southeast corner of Henness Circle) holds our largest stash of hose and equipment inside large trash cans. The three new red hose houses are secured with a combination lock and located on Yosemite Park Way:
- below the intersection of Henness Ridge Road, near the top of the fire road connecting Yosemite Park Way to Buck Brush Lane;
- near the intersection of Choke Cherry, at the top of the fire road connecting Yosemite Park Way and Manzanita Lane; and
- adjacent to the fire hydrant located between 7244 and 7254.
- Conducted an inventory of fire safety equipment owned by YWPHI and now housed in fire hose houses
- Acquired donations of fire hoses, nozzles, wrenches and hardware from NPS and Mariposa County Fire Department
- Conducted three community fire safety training sessions. More than thirty individuals here in Yosemite West participated in three training sessions on May 1st, June 5th and September 11th. Everyone practiced how to open fire hydrants, operate a fire hose and use emergency fire equipment, owned by YWPHI. The volunteers who attended the training and qualified to operate a fire hose can receive the combination to the fire hose houses.
- Conducted an inventory of fire hydrants to remove debris and brush. Reviewed the status of fire hydrants in the community and improving their accessibility and identification. This process involves coordinating the removal of snow stakes and other obstructions that are too close to hydrants, removing dirt that has partially buried hydrants, and standardizing the color coding of snow stakes and street markers near fire hydrants to comply with state guidelines. Download the Yosemite West Fire Hydrant Map to familiarize yourself with the location of the hydrant(s) nearest your property.
- Coordinated with Mariposa County Public Works Department to purchase and install new reflective markers for fire hydrants.
- The chair of the YWPHI fire safety committee attended a daylong grant writing workshop held in November 2004 by the California Fire Safe Council.
- Arranged with NPS to complete fuel reduction along the entrance road into Yosemite West. Worked with the National Park Service's Fire & Fuels Management Program to include Yosemite West in the park's Annual Fuels Treatment Plan. Approximately twenty acres of wildland-urban interface (WUI) was mechanically treated in October 2004. This work was accomplished by YNP fire crews and private companies contracted by NPS. This work was completed on NPS land along the boundary between the park and Yosemite West. This hazard fuel reduction project helps eliminate the ladder fuels that can carry fire from the ground to the canopy of the forest. Approximately forty WUI acres were treated by the NPS in 2003. Additionally, the Henness Ridge lookout and helicopter landing zone was cleared in fall 2004. Brush from the clearing projects was piled and NPS fire crews will burn piles throughout the winter when conditions permit. In the event of a wildfire, this will help ensure public and firefighter safety. Thinning for removal of hazardous wildland fuels establishes and maintains fuel breaks and evacuation routes in the event of a wildland fire emergency.
- Facilitated, prepared and signed a Memorandum of Agreement between NPS and private property owners adjacent to Yosemite West for cooperation on fuel reduction on the perimeter of Yosemite West. Refer to the summary and update below for more information about this project.
- Listed Yosemite West on the Federal Register as a "Communities at Risk".
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Copyright text © Yosemite West Property & Homeowners, Inc. 2003-2017.
Copyright photographs © John Mock 2004-2017.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized redistribution of this document is prohibited. Updated December 28, 2016.