Obtaining safe entry and exit to our home has two parts:
- Our driveway and
- Our community..
1. Our Driveway. RockyTop has a long driveway as do most homes in this area. Trees and bushes had grown up against it on both sides and extended their canopies over the top. We imagined what our driveway could look like if there were spot fires all around it. Could we blame a fire crew captain for deciding not to risk lives, or the fire truck, trying to get to our house to defend it? And how would we feel trying to exit through a tunnel of flames?
We don't think about our driveways very often. But if we expect a fire crew to defend our home, we have a responsibility to give them a safe path.
We began removing trees and trimming limbs and bushes away from the road in the winter of 2019. As we cut, we piled all the branches alongside the driveway on one side with the cut ends pointed at the road. That is what is required if we choose to take advantage of the free chipping service provided by the County. We signed up for the free chipping service, they arrived on schedule, chipped, and trucked off the chips within 4 hours. We could not use the free service for all of our limb chipping but it was a big help on much of our driveway.
Most of the work on the driveway is completed, with just one more tree to cut and a few branches to trim.
2. Our Community. Our Fire Safe Council is gradually contacting neighbors in each community to organize action committees. Those committees will deal with emergency exit problems (escape routes). For years I have heard neighbors' concerns about how difficult it could be to get out of our neighborhoods in the event of an emergency. Many watched the horrific scenes of the Paradise Wildfire in 2018 that caught a whole town by surprise. The scenes and stories of people on jammed roads surrounded by wildfire and blowing embers were testimonials to what could happen here with our narrow, twisting, one-lane roads, overhanging trees and brush, and one-way bridges. Our neighborhood, your neighborhood, needs to get cracking to solve these problems that are obvious to us all. Now is the time.
We have wonderful neighbors who have a lot of equipment and energy when they come together and work cooperatively. Let us hope that we will come together this year.