Ongoing drought, warmer weather and dry vegetation continue to increase the risk of local wild fires. In order to prepare, Truckee homeowners are encouraged to visit www.readyforwildfire.org to learn more on preparing for a fire emergency.
One of the most important steps residents can take to improve the chance of their home surviving a forest fire is to create defensible space around the home. This means eliminating or reducing the fire’s fuel source. Fuel is everything that could feed a fire, such as branches, twigs, dead wood, shrubs, pine needles, and pine cones.
The Town is providing resident’s two cost effective options to remove large bulk piles of vegetative waste from the property through spring cleanup and defensible space activities. Both options completely eliminate the fuels from the property which is an important step in fire preparedness.
These methods include:
In 2009, the Town implemented the curbside green bag program. This program was intended to provide residents the opportunity to dispose of small amounts of vegetative waste generated throughout the summer season. Before long, huge piles of green bags started appearing in neighborhoods all over Truckee. This was the result of the green bags being used as the primary method of disposing of yard waste for residents (and even landscapers) who were creating defensible space or conducting their spring yard clean up where large bulky amounts of material is generated. Because green bags are only collected four per week, it’s taking weeks if not months for these piles to be removed from neighborhoods. In an effort to address the fact that many residents were unable to self-haul yard waste to ERL, the Town implemented the reduced cost dumpster program in 2014. Both the on-site dumpsters and free drop-off program are intended to be inexpensive and convenient methods for home-owners to create defensible space and clean-up their yards without having to leave large piles of green bags, loaded with fuel, in front of their homes all summer long.
Now, that there are two great options for people generating large bulky amounts of yard waste as a result of spring clean-up and defensible space activities, the Town began exploring opportunities to improve the curbside collection program and address several concerns with the program that have popped up since the program’s inception. These concerns include, the large unsightly piles of green bags, the upward and uncontrolled trajectory or program costs, worker safety and moral and the generation of over 15 tons of plastic annually. In an effort to resolve these issues, Town staff working with the hauler, suggested switching out the green bags with 96 gallon reusable rolling carts. The carts would have been collected every-other-week, at least initially, using the hauler’s automated collection equipment. Although residents wishing to participate in the program would have needed to sign up and pay a one-time cart delivery fee they would have avoided the ongoing cost of the green bags.
In an effort to engage the community, Town staff released a survey and received over 1,122 responses. Of those responding 54.22% would prefer reusable carts, 13.79% would not need the service, and 31.99% did not prefer switching to carts and preferred green bags. The survey also allowed for open ended comments with some of the primary concerns expressed were the inability to store a cart, the unsightliness of carts in the neighborhoods and the preference to leave green bags at the curb prior to collection. Although carts, would resolve all the issues stated above, the Town decided to hold off on making any recommendations to switch green bags with carts at this time.
For summer 2015 residents may continue using green bags for their yard maintenance; home-owners are being asked to please refrain from placing out more than 4 bags at the curb a time. The large piles of green bags are unsightly and take weeks to be collected. If you plan on generating a large amount of yard waste, or if you are unable to place bags at the curb on the day of collection only, skip the bags all together and choose one of the other disposal programs. This will ensure that the fuels are completely removed from your property, as well as reduce the unsightliness of the bags sitting at the curb, making us all a little more fire safe.
The Town of Truckee encourages public involvement. Stay informed by signing up for the Town’s e-notification system at http://www.townoftruckee.com/living-in-truckee/email-notification-sign-up. Check the Solid Waste and Recycling Division to get information on future proposed program changes.
Questions may be directed to Nichole Dorr at 530-582-2909 firstname.lastname@example.org.