Newsletter‎ > ‎October 2018‎ > ‎


posted Oct 1, 2018, 2:05 PM by Kristin Snell

by Hank Weston, District IV Supervisor—Nevada County Board of Supervisors

As you may have read or heard, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted an Urgency Ordnance on September 11, 2018 prohibiting open fire burning within the South Yuba River Corridor. Specifically, the Urgency Ordinance prohibits open fire on private property within ¼ mile on each side of the ordinary high mark of the river in Nevada County from the confluence of the South Yuba River with Kentucky Creek below Bridgeport to Lang’s Crossing (39 miles) from Memorial Day to the end of the declared fire season each year from 2018 and again from Friday, May 24th, 2019 through the end of 2019 fire season as declared by Cal FIRE and the United States Forest Service. The Urgency Ordinance will only be in effect for two fire seasons as a pilot program. However, the Board adopted four exceptions to the prohibition to allow for reasonable and responsible summer activities like having BBQs but with some restrictions. Specifically, small recreational fires in organized campgrounds with the proper clearance are permitted. Small recreational fires in permanent fire pits or rings no larger than 5 feet in diameter that are within 30 feet of a designated water system (not the river) but that are at least 25’ away from any combustible structure that include the proper clearance are permitted as well.  BBQ’s are also permitted so as long as they are within 30 feet of a designated water system and have the proper clearance around them as well. The above exceptions also require that any allowed recreational or cooking fires must be on an improved parcel with an occupying resident or property owner present on the property. Last but not least, the Urgency Ordinance also provided an exception for smoking, so as long as it is inside, in a vehicle or in an area that is cleared of all not structural flammable material by a minimum of 5 feet.

It is important to note that the purpose of the Urgency Ordinance is to take the immediate necessary action to implement a precautionary measure to mitigate the imminent hazards of human caused wildfire in the South Yuba River Corridor that would have devastating impacts on the watershed, the surrounding community and the County as a whole. After all, Nevada County made it a top County priority to implement existing County policies and programs to reduce the risk of wildfire and the effects of wildfire on life, property, and the environment, as well as explore other ways to reduce the threat and damage from wildfires earlier this year.

The Urgency Ordinance was developed with the input from the Yuba River Public Safety Cohort, which is a multi-agency workgroup that includes local state and federal agency representatives, as well as various community organizations and stakeholders. The Cohort includes but is not limited to District I Supervisor Heidi Hall, District IV Supervisor Hank Weston, Sheriff’s Office, County Executive Office, Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, Nevada County Public Works Department, California Highway Patrol, Cal FIRE, Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, North San Juan Fire District, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Federal Bureau of Land Management, and various non-profit and community organizations. Please visit for more information or call my office at 530-265-1480.

In other news, I recently had the opportunity to meet with Scott Thurmond, from Thurmond Consulting Services to discuss the County’s work on developing the County’s 10-Year Homelessness Strategic Plan. The consultant is meeting with various stakeholders to identify key objectives and strategies to further the County’s homelessness plan that includes identifying and leveraging various funding mechanisms. Some encouraging work is already being implemented as part of the County’s Housing First Approach that was presented to the Board at the beginning of the year. The County has implemented a Coordinated Entry System using Connecting Point 211, which streamlines how folks access homeless services through a single entry point. Previously, homeless individuals and families would have to apply for services through multiple programs, which as you can imagine made it very difficult to get access to all of the services available to them. If you know someone who is experiencing homelessness or is in jeopardy of being homeless, please have them call 211 to get registered in the County’s Coordinated Entry System. Additionally, the County has implemented its Bridging 2 Housing (B2H) Program which is the first program that enables homeless individuals and families to access housing without any pre-conditions except for simply being homeless. A Housing First Approach, which is supported by current best practices, research and empirical data outlines that chronically homeless individuals are much more likely to remain housed if they are housed first and then are provided services to help get them back on their feet. You can imagine how difficult it would be for an individual to overcome addiction, mental illness or apply for a job if they don’t have a place to live, shower and ultimately recover from being homeless. We anticipate that the County’s Homelessness Strategic Plan should be coming before the Board this fall for consideration.

Last but not least, as the end of my 12 years as your District IV Supervisor nears, I will be holding a Casual Celebration BBQ at the Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley on Saturday October 20, 2018 from 2 to 5pm. Tickets for the event are $15, with kids under 10 free, which will include locally made hamburgers, hotdogs, potato and macaroni salad, beer, wine and other non-alcoholic refreshments. Attire for the event is absolutely casual or as some say, Penn Valley Formal. Folks can RSVP for the event by emailing or calling 265-1480 and can purchase tickets through the Clerk of the Board’s office by cash or check. So mark your calendars and come out to join the community for a terrific day of celebration.