Pequaywan township has received a DNR Forestry Division’s FireWise-Hazard Community Mitigation Grant. This grant will allow us to provide information to property owners about how to reduce wildfire risks, as well as steps you can take to create a defensible space around your home to mitigate the damage to property in the event of a wildfire.
The township’s portion of the grant will be funded by volunteer hours put in by property owners in our township on various wildfire mitigation and firewise efforts. Each hour you volunteer hour translates to about $23 towards our matching grant from the DNR. (Click here to get a PDF version of the form to record your hours.)
As you have probably noticed, we have a lot of balsam trees in our area. Sadly, a Spruce Budworm invasion over the last few year has devastated many of those trees, causing a substantial die-off. These dead and dying trees present a significant fire hazard, because the resin in balsam trees acts as fuel for fire.
This grant/project has four focus areas:
1. Educate property owners how to create a defensible space around their home to enable it to survive a wild fire.
2. Assist property owners in disposing of dead or dying balsam trees that present a fire hazard.
• Brush Days are planned for June 11 and July 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the gravel pit at the south end of the Big Lake off Pequaywan Lake Road. You can bring brush and trees that you remove from your property.
This year, as a part of our FireWise grant efforts, balsam trees larger than 8 inch in diameter will be accepted and chipped.
• Log Chipper: Those unable to bring balsam trees to the gravel pit can pile their logs and branches at the end of their driveway where it meets one of the township roads — West Branch, Pequaywan (#44), Smith Lake, East Shore, Pinewood, Deer Run, Birch Knoll, and Moose Lake Road and that portion of Rossini within the township.
Please stack your balsam trees all in the same direction with the butt end out towards the road.
You should have your pile ready before Monday, July 25, 2016, when a crew will start chipping these trees.
The Fall Brush Day will take place on September 10, 2016. Another “chipper run” is scheduled starting the week of Sept. 19, 2016 to give residents who need it additional time to cut trees over the summer. However, this time the chipper truck will only run on West Branch Road and Pequaywan Lake Road, so be sure to stack your trees there for pickup or bring them to the brush pile on September 10.
3. Compile a directory of property owners with contact information to aid fire departments and emergency personnel in case of an emergency/wild fire. Click here to get a copy of the form.
4. Ensure all property in the township with structures have up-to-date 911 address number signs.
Over the summer and fall, new signs and posts will be installed for those properties that do not have the newer, reflective, two-sided signs or where signs are not in the proper location according to St. Louis County’s 911 requirements (perpendicular to the road so the address can be seen from both directions within 10 feet of the driveway access and at least 10 feet from the edge of the road surface). Installation and signs will be funded and installed through our FireWise grant.
Properly placed signs can aid emergency responders and help reduce response time. This is particularly important when emergency personnel are coming from other townships to help our local personnel.
How to Be FireWise
Fire is an inherent danger to having a home in the woods, but that doesn’t mean you can’t something about it. In fact, creating a defensible space around your house can enable your home to survive a wildfire. This defensible space is an area of reduced fuels between your home and the untouched wild land, at least 30 feet in radius.
The Minnesota DNR’s Website has detailed information on the FireWise program, including tips and a kit you can order for your home.
Statewide fire danger & burning permit restrictions:
Burning permit information:
Questions & Answers
Q. Are there township funds involved?
A. No. While this is a matching grant, the township’s share will be funded by volunteer hours. Each volunteer hour that property owners spend working on wildfire mitigation efforts will count for about $23 toward our share. We will be distributing forms on which you can record your hours and information on what activities qualities under this grant.
Q. Will the grant pay for someone to come and cut down dead trees on my property?
A. No. But we hope to make it easier for you to dispose of the trees you take down (or hire someone to take down) by having a chipper available on township roads on certain days this spring.
(Questions about the Fire Number signs)
Q. With these new address signs, will the address of my property change?
A. No, as long as your address is already registered with St. Louis County.
Q. Why would I need a new sign?
Some property owners have old signs that need to be updated; the new signs are two-sided, red and white and are reflective. In addition, some signs are in locations where they are not visible to first responders and either brush needs to be trimmed or posts need to be installed in a more visible location. We want it to be easy and quick as possible for First Responders/Fire Fighters to find you in case of an emergency. This is particularly important because some First Responders/Fire Fighters might be coming from neighboring town and might not be familiar with our addresses.
Q. Will I have to pay for a new sign?
A. We have requested funds under the grant to pay for new signs where needed and, in some cases, installation, if required.
Q. Do I have to do anything to get a new sign?
A. Not at this time. We are doing a survey of property in the township to see where new signs are needed under the county 911 guidelines. You will receive a notice if your sign needs to be replaced.
Here are the guidelines:
• All new signs installed after March 2003 must contain the numbers on both sides of the sign and should be installed perpendicular to the road.
• All signs must contain a red background with white numbering and shall be of a reflective material.
• The bottom of a sign shall be no less than 4’ above the level of the road surface.
• The sign post shall be placed within 10’ of the driveway access and at least 10’ from the edge of the road surface.