AUBURN, Calif .– With the risk of natural disasters increasing, Placer County’s updated local risk mitigation plan, approved this week by the Board of Supervisors, offers a way forward to reduce threats to local communities. lives and property while helping to avoid costly disaster recovery expenses.
The plan, a partnership with cities and more than 20 special districts, assesses the risk of flooding, drought, wildfires, severe weather and other natural hazards of concern to the county. Although hazards are not always avoidable, a hazard mitigation plan lays the foundation for a long-term community strategy to reduce disaster losses, while also returning the resources of the Federal Disaster Management Agency. emergencies available upon approval of the plan.
A FEMA-approved risk mitigation plan allows agencies to apply for pre- and post-disaster mitigation grants. It may also increase the community assessments used for the national flood insurance program’s community assessment system, which may result in lower flood insurance premiums through the program.
“By nature, our communities are vulnerable to threats and dangers that pose long-term risks to people and their property,” said Dave Atkinson, deputy director of emergency services at Placer. “Mitigation planning helps us avoid or reduce the impact of disasters, and supports protection and prevention activities, improves emergency response and accelerates recovery to create better prepared and more resilient communities. “
In 2005, Placer County and local jurisdiction partners completed the original LHMP, which was subsequently updated and approved in 2010 and 2016. These updates identified and prioritized more than 160 mitigation projects in order to to better prepare the county. Updates for 2021 include refined risk assessments for disasters such as fires and floods, improved programs to reduce the cost of flood insurance, expanded federal grant opportunities, and response operations streamlined after emergencies. The plan also updated and prioritized the county’s list of mitigation projects.
Power outages to public safety are one of the new risks identified, along with the need for more back-up generator programs to address this risk. The increased tree mortality due to the bark beetle infestation was a hazard to local roads and infrastructure, which was addressed by the county’s tree mortality program. Drought and water scarcity are also increased threats, and the plan prioritizes irrigation in times of drought and incentives for landscape modernization across the county.
The risk of forest fires continues to be a top priority in the plan, which has resulted in the implementation of many forest and land health programs such as the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project, the Middle Fork Project, County Grinding Program, Goat Grazing and more.
“This plan is essential for our county to ensure that we are prepared and adaptable for disasters for years to come,” said Placer County Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert Weygandt. “From healthy forests to power outages to drought preparedness, every penny we invest in mitigation saves us dividends in an emergency. “
The plan has undergone an extensive public and stakeholder review process with multiple opportunities for comment. The draft plan has also been posted on the plan’s web page for ongoing public discussion and dialogue.
Interested residents can find more information by visiting the LHMP web page at https://www.placer.ca.gov/1381/Local-Hazard-Mitigation-Plan.