Architectural Committee Firewise Visits Starting

Jackie Ryan and Jim Brewer

            Based on expert guidance from fire officials, the Architectural Committee (AC) will begin visiting homes in Oakmont’s high-risk areas to review existing firewise conditions. 

            “Our goal is to work toward a safer Oakmont for everyone by assisting owners and sub-HOA’s in identifying and planning for fire safety and landscape changes, in accordance with the OVA Firewise Policy,” said Genie Nowicki, co- chair of the committee. 

            The process will start early November with 500 homes identified in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) as defined by Santa Rosa fire officials. Nowicki said letters to the first group of homeowners will be mailed later this month. 

            Burt Schraga, co-chair of the committee, said homeowner complaints will be dealt with first. “We will start first with community complaints, followed by approximately 500 homes identified in the areas with highest risk intensity level of fuels, and continued coordination with sub-HOA’s as well,” he said. Subsequent visits in the community will be based on risk assessments soon to be updated by Santa Rosa Fire Department for Oakmont and on the level of fuel intensity.

            OVA adopted a firewise landscape policy last year that became effective Sept. 1. It calls for removing plants on the OVA Do Not Plant list and bark and other flammable ground mulches from the zero to five-foot perimeter of homes and structures. Last year, the association held a two-week Junk the Junipers event to help homeowners rid yards of Juniper.

            “Thanks to the Oakmont homeowners and many volunteers for everything they have accomplished to make our community safer from fire with education, home hardening and landscape changes.  There has been a lot of progress, and their efforts are much appreciated,” said Schraga. “What we are really trying to do is help people protect their homes from wildfire.”