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Fire concerns added to conservation plan

Kranz comments on Placer Land Trust property’s role in Gladding Fire questioned
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Supervisor Bruce Kranz is adding fire as a new element in what has been a delicate balancing act between property development and conservation concerns in the still-evolving western Placer County conservation plan. Supervisors approved a proposal hammered out by Supervisors Kirk Uhler and Robert Weygandt with city of Lincoln officials this summer intended to move the long-sought plan closer to completion. The board instructed staff to proceed with fine-tuning the location of conservation areas with several regulatory agencies, including state Fish & Game and the Environmental Protection Agency, while preparing crucial state-required environmental documentation. Supervisors also instructed future efforts to take into account plans for the Placer Parkway road in western Placer County and the Placer County Water Agency’s work to bring a Sacramento River pipeline through that area. Kranz, citing the recent Gladding Fire north and east of Lincoln, convinced supervisors to add another instruction not included in the Uhler-Weygandt-Lincoln proposal – to direct conservation plan efforts to also work with Cal Fire and the Placer County fire warden. Kranz had earlier in the meeting expressed concern that conservation efforts and easements or purchase of land would result in greater fire damage if the land builds up its fuel loads. Kranz added that the Gladding Fire started on Placer Land Trust property “and was managed by them.” Weygandt, who rode with Cal Fire Unit Chief Brad Harris during the height of the Labor Day fire, said that the cause was still under intense investigation and that “we actually don’t know where it started.” “If it started on Placer Land trust land it’s important to know it’s farmed – it’s grazed,” Weygandt said, adding that one of the requirements in a conservation or agricultural easement is fuel-load reduction. Placer Land Trust Executive Director Jeff Darlington said after the meeting that the non-profit organization’s 427-acre Doty Ravine Preserve was damaged in the fire but he had heard nothing from fire officials that it started on the property. He added that the property was being grazed on through May by 100 cows and 125 sheep, before they were put on feed during the drier, summer months. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.