Shaded fuel break

An example of a shaded fuel break on Big Hill that was created by the Highway 108 FireSafe Council, which recently received $65,000 from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for a similar project that will protect Cedar Ridge and upslope residents.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. recently donated $346,100 for projects to protect communities in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties from the threat of wildfire.

The donations were part of $2.3 million that the nation’s largest utility, which pleaded guilty in June to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for causing the deadly 2018 Camp Fire that burned down the town of Paradise, gave for similar projects in 28 California counties.

“These projects create fuel breaks to protect communities, clear vegetation from evacuation routes, and help underserved customers create critical defensible space to protect their homes from fire across our service area," said Andy Vesey, chief executive officer and president of PG&E.

Patty Ciesla, executive director of the California Fire Safe Council, said the flexibility of the PG&E funding allows for immediate use in the communities and to leverage matching funds for federal grants.

The Highway 108 FireSafe Council in Tuolumne County received $65,000 for a project to build a shaded fuel break that will protect Cedar Ridge and upslope residents, PG&E service lines, and the county’s main domestic water system managed by Tuolumne Utilities District.

The Calaveras Foothills Fire Safe Council received $100,000 to employ a contractor who will go door-to-door providing no-cost chipping services for county residents, as well as 100 feet of defensible space for qualifying seniors and disabled adults.

The Calaveras Resource Conservation District received $81,100 to remove woody fuels along important access roads that aren’t managed by the county or state in two privately owned homeowners association subdivisions between Mokelumne Hill and San Andreas.

Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions, or CHIPS, received $100,000 to clear the sides of roads in Glencoe and West Point to improve ingress and egress for emergency evacuation and first responders on private road networks that lead to the Highway 26 corridor.

On July 1, PG&E emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy that it filed for early last year following a number of deadly and destructive fires blamed on the utility’s equipment that caused billions of dollars in damages.

The utility reportedly has assets totaling more than $85 billion.

Contact Alex MacLean at or (209) 768-5175.

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