NID’s fire resiliency and stewardship strategies: stepping up to meet the challenge

July 31, 2019

More than simply the agency that delivers your water, Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is committed to safeguarding our community against the threat of catastrophic wildfire. To that end, all District departments are engaged in work to strengthen fire resiliency and ensure facilities and infrastructure are secure in case of a wildfire. These activities range from thinning trees and vegetation on hundreds of acres and adding neighborhood fire hydrants to beefing up our backup generator systems in case of power outages and working with local and state agencies to pool resources.

“NID indeed is a leader, as water districts go, working on sustainability and resiliency around fires. We are committed to ensuring our resources for the protection of our water supply and infrastructure,” said NID Assistant General Manager Greg Jones.

While many of the programs have been operational for years, NID has put additional resources into fire safety work, given the increasing number of catastrophic wildfires and resulting devastation throughout the state.

From an administrative perspective, we at NID are working with local partners to make sure we are as prepared as possible: “Through ongoing programmatic and operational activities, the Nevada Irrigation District continues to engage with the community, local governments and fire districts in fire response, resiliency and stewardship of our resources and critical infrastructure,” Jones said.

For example, NID is coordinating with Nevada County Office of Emergency Services (OES) and Placer County OES to share critical infrastructure database and engage in local hazard mitigation planning.

We also work with local fire districts, giving them our highly detailed maps including hydrant placement in neighborhoods. That way, when crews need to respond in an emergency, they know exactly where the fire hydrants are located.

Our watershed team constantly is tapping opportunities to secure state and federal grants to complete vegetation management and tree thinning on District land, not only to improve forest health but also provide all-important firebreaks.

On a routine basis, our maintenance crews patrol and work in and along district canals to ensure water is free flowing and berms are clear to serve as fire breaks.

And more NID employees are training for emergency situations: “Internally we are training. We are in a position to create an incident command center within the District,” Jones said. “We have the ability that when that fire hits, we are able to respond. We will be in the room to make sure our resources are sent proactively and productively to where they need to be.”