Neighbors Helping Neighbors Stay Fire Safe in Wilkerson

Bishop Volunteer Fire Department

Fire Safe Wilkerson hosts Defensible Space Workdays
Neighbors helping neighbors to create a more fire-safe community

The Eastern Sierra’s fire safe councils continue to make a tremendous impact, gaining recognition for their work, creativity and dedication from fire prevention agencies throughout the state. This week, the Wilkerson Fire Safe Council in particular is preparing for its next big event. This Saturday and Sunday, the Wilkerson Fire Safe Council will be hosting Defensible Space Workdays, with roll-off dumpsters at three locations; above the baseball diamond, at the south end of Gerkin Road, and on lower Cottonwood Road. The Defensible Space Workdays are an opportunity for Wilkerson residents to come together as a community to make both the older and newer parts of the neighborhood more resilient against wildland-urban interface fires. The dumpsters, which will be monitored by volunteers from the Wilkerson Fire Safe Council, are for green waste only such as brush, dead tree limbs less than six inches in diameter, leaves, plant debris and grass. No household trash, tires, furniture, appliances, metal waste, hazardous waste, recyclables or e- waste will be accepted. As wildfires continue to rage throughout California, the Wilkerson Fire Safe Council is dedicated to spreading the message that creating defensible space is critical. In the event of a wildfire, they hope to give firefighters the clear space needed to protect homes and properties. This weekend, the council is looking for people who need help removing green waste from their property, others who could help haul a few loads for their neighbors, and volunteers who would be able to monitor the dumpsters for a few hours.. Please contact Vickie at (760) 937-1859 for more information.

The Wilkerson Fire Safe Council came into being in 2019, when a group of concerned neighbors began discussing the possibility of a coordinated approach to fire safety for the small community just south of Bishop. They were quickly able to increase their activity and goals when the Bishop Volunteer Fire Department stepped forward to help. A website was started, and the council began applying for grants, with the assistance of the Bishop Rural Fire Protection District. Information campaigns were launched with postcards, hand-delivered letters, banners and a strong social media
presence aimed at reaching and involving as many Wilkerson community members as possible. In mid 2020, the council took advantage of the quarterly free-green waste disposal day at the Bishop
Landfill, utilizing a grant from Edison International to place roll-off dumpsters in the community. Volunteers helped their neighbors who were unable to haul debris themselves, and more than 5.75 tons of green waste were removed. The first Defensible Space Workday was a fantastic success and a great initiative for the community as neighbors got to know each other as they worked together towards a common goal.

Since then, the council has been received a grant from Listos California, with even more tools to further educate and involve the community about disaster preparedness. Another grant from the California Fire Foundation has provided funds for the council to help install highly reflective address signs to help streamline emergency response, clean debris for elderly residents’
properties, provide green waste vouchers for the Bishop Landfill, and conduct a water source survey. Most recently, the council was honored by the California Fire Safe Council with an award for its
leadership in community fire risk reduction and resiliency. Residents of Wilkerson are invited to visit firesafewilkerson.com to sign up for newsletters and learn more about future events and projects.

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