Genesee manages nearly 1200 acres of open space. About 60% of that open space is forested. For the last 25 years the Foundation has allocated funds to treat forested areas for forest health and fire safety by thinning to reduce fire fuels, cutting trees to create shaded fuel breaks (to help firefighters in the event of a forest fire), and removing less healthy trees so the healthiest ones can get enough water to thrive. The foundation also removes diseased trees and beetle-kill trees when they threaten the health of the surrounding forest.
A full explanation of open space management activities is provided in the annual Genesee Open Space Management Plan, which is available on the Open Space and GEM web pages. Genesee is respected nationally as a Fire-wise Community. The health and density of trees on private property is a critical component of fire protection and fire risk mitigation in Genesee. If trees on several residents' lots and the surrounding open space are well-spaced, limbed up, and healthy but those on an adjacent property are thick and weakened by drought, the risk of wildfire damage in the neighborhood and on the adjacent open space is higher than if all the trees were spaced and healthy. Besides trees, residents can take actions concerning shrubs, grass, pine needles, and spaces immediately adjacent to their homes to reduce their vulnerability to fire. Genesee was among the first communities to participate in the Firewise Communities Program, which encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Firewise is a key component of Fire Adapted Communities - a collaborative approach that connects all those who play a role in wildfire education, planning and action with comprehensive resources to help reduce risk. The program is co-sponsored by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters. To save lives and property from wildfire, NFPA's Firewise Communities program teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses.
Genesee Fire and Safety Committee (GFSC) encourages residents and the Foundation, to prepare homes, open space, and infrastructure to protect the community from wildfire and other emergency risks. GFSC's goal is to help the community be prepared for any emergency by educating and facilitating action regarding:
- Fire mitigation throughout Genesee
- Certifiable defensible space plans on residents' property
- Other fire, safety, and hazard issues of community interest
The Genesee Fire & Safety Committee is also looking into other ways to encourage more homeowners to become involved in mitigation efforts. These include educational programs, and cost-saving initiatives such as the community-wide slash pickups and group discounts on other services. Check this website, The Genescene newsletter and periodic e-mail blasts for information.