Community meeting

Community meeting held in Oakhurst to discuss wildfire preparedness

OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) — Foothills community members gathered in Oakhurst on Tuesday to discuss how to minimize risk and damage when another wildfire breaks out.

Oakhurst will likely be part of MP Jim Patterson’s new district after the November election. He brought people together to talk about how they can prepare for the next fire that is inevitable in their community.

“Make sure we’re as prepared as possible when the next one comes along,” Patterson said.

Mariposa County resident Wesley Smith explained how preparation begins on each person’s property. He says making sure he had a defensible space didn’t stop his property from burning in the oak fire, but it probably slowed the flames enough for his wife to get out safely.

“It would be very difficult for me if I had not taken care of my property to know that this was the cause or the effect of the fire at my neighbour’s property,” he said. “So I have comfort in that.”

According to MP Patterson, making your property safer will not only give you and your home a better chance, but it could make it easier and cheaper to get insurance cover. Insurance policies can be difficult to find for homeowners living on property prone to wildfires.

“Insurance companies need to assess risk and determine if you can participate in risk reduction,” Patterson said. “There’s a higher likelihood that you’ll get a policy, get a discount, and probably can afford it.”

Coarsegold resident Wyatt Wass learns that partnering with neighbors to improve their properties through a program called FireWise can get them discounts on insurance.

“They went into a lot more how to go about it specifically, what all the things you can do, and how really beneficial it can be,” Wass said. “It makes me think that I’m going to implement a lot of different things in my own house.”

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