Big Oak neighbor Brian Lux spoke with Linda Azevedo and Mark Leighton at the Oak Hill Area Fire Safe Council commuity meeting on October 10th about some fire safety concerns Brian had about Big Oak Road. He then took it another step, contacting El Dorado County Supervisor Brian Veerkamp. Veerkamp's office directed him to Brian Mullens, El Dorado County Department of Transportation (DOT) Director.
Lux and Mullens met a few days later to look at Big Oak road issues and fire safety concerns. Lux's biggest concerns were a large dead cedar near the mailbox for 1532 Big Oak, a few places where the road narrows and/or was eroding, and some areas where there were a lot of large, overhanging tree limbs.
Mullens said that the property owners were responsible for trimming trees on their property that were causing concern. Despite that, he agreed that the large cedar posed a danger and said he would have DOT remove that tree. He also agreed to have DOT patch the eroded road near Mailbox 1351.
A couple of things stood out ...
- The first is that the DOT understands our concerns and has been very busy working to maintain our roads. Mullens mentioned that DOT is responsible for maintaining 1200 miles of county roads on a limited budget.
- The second relates to the responsibility of property owners. The county can't take care of DOT responsibilities and, at the same time, take care of the needs and desires that are the responsibility of individual property owners.
Those of us who own property in fire-sensitive areas need to maintain and clear vegetation on our own properties and along roadways to ensure greater fire safety. This may involve personal efforts, hiring workers to help, forming neighborhood work crews, or all of these.
Kudos to Brian for tackling this issue head on and getting great results! As he said, by understanding our own responsibilities and working together with neighbors, we can do a lot to create a safer environment. We'd add: this is a great example of what can come from working directly with the county. In this case, DOT maintains 1200 miles of roadway. They don't always know about issues unless someone brings them up.