Southern Inyo community members continue to cut and clear fields in and around Lone Pine to protect the town’s people and property from wildfires.
Utilizing a 2009 U.S. Forest Service grant, the Lone Pine Fire Safe Council has targeted more than 140 acres of vacant, overgrown land for fire management work this year.
“Our goal is to use our funding to create a break in the continuity of the fuels in and around Lone Pine,” the Fire Safe Council’s grant application states. “This will not only slow a wildfire as it approaches the community, it will also give firefighters a safe area to prepare for structure protection.”
According to Lone Pine Fire Safe Council Executive Director Matt Kingsley, the Fire Safe Council has been mowing and trimming brush in a number of fields around town since late winter and is nearly finished. Two fields still need work.
“Acreage-wise, we’re not quite half way there, but work-wise we’re more than half done,” Kingsley said, adding that there are a lot of acres that need treated, but that the hard part is over. “The work that is left to do is burning, we’ve done all the mowing and hand cutting.”
The areas that still need to be burned include a 230-acre parcel north of town and a 100-acre piece of property east of the Reservation in Lone Pine.
Kingsley said CalFire may wait to burn those pieces of property until this fall because as the weather heats up and summer approaches, fire conditions worsen and make controlled burns more difficult to manage.
In its efforts to create a buffer zone around Lone Pine, the Fire Safe Council has worked closely with local land owners, including the Los Angles Department of Water and Power, U.S. Forest Service and the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation.
“We are really proud of the way this is working out,” Kingsley said. “We’ve really had great cooperation from the Piaute Shoshone Environmental Office and the City of L.A.” Kinglsey added that there has been a great deal of support from Fifth District Supervisor Richard Cervantes, CalFire and the citizens of Lone Pine.
“So far, everyone that’s seen what we’ve done has been happy. Since the Center Fire (last month in Big Pine), people seem to be a lot more interested in what we’re doing,” Kinglsey said.
With this year’s project nearing completion, the Fire Safe Council is looking at other areas of the community that still need work to prevent a wildfire from reaching Lone Pine.
“There are still many places that need to be treated,” Kinglsey said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done on the Reservation, and we’re trying to get a grant to fund that.”