‘Tinderbox’ Auburn tribal land wins slice of $2 million fire-safety grant

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
-A +A

Gus Thomson/Auburn Journal

A California Conservation Corps member works on toppling a tree in the American River canyon below Auburn’s Robie Point in May - part of ongoing work on the city’s perimeter to keep the community fire safe.

The United Auburn Indian Community bought a 501-acre parcel undeveloped Auburn about a decade ago, purchasing acreage known as Baltimore Ravine.

The land is key piece of undeveloped property that has remained virtually pristine as homes and businesses were built nearby.

But the tribe, which owns Thunder Valley Casino in the rural Lincoln area, also inherited what at least one local official is calling a tinderbox.

Now the tribe and the Auburn Fire Department will be working together, using a share of $2 million in recently secured state funding to clear a shaded fuel break on the perimeter of the property bordering populated areas. In all, the work will take place on 50 acres skirting the Auburn Indian Community Land near Auburn Folsom Road and Oakview Terrace.

The grant funding from Cal Fire will also be used in Auburn to extend a shaded fuel break 300 feet wide along the time of the American River canyon from the Foresthill Bridge to the southern edge of the city.

“The American River canyon and Baltimore Ravine areas are tinder boxes, full of dry weeds, unhealthy and dying trees, so creating shaded fuel breaks in both areas between the wildlands and the neighborhoods and businesses can save lives and property in Auburn,” Greater Auburn Area Fire Safe Council Chairman Kevin Hanley said.

The grant is the largest for forest fuel reduction that Auburn has ever received, he said.

“With the many catastrophic fires raging across California, this money will help us protect residents and firefighters,” Kevin Hanley said.

Cal Fire awarded a total of $170 million to more than 100 agencies and organizations this month.

The Auburn-based Placer County Resource Conservation District also received funding to keep the chipper program for at least another three years and expand fire prevention education.