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					LEXINGTON HILLS, CALIFORNIA

COMMUNITY WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN




Prepared for:
Lexington Hills
Santa Clara County, CA

Submitted by:
Anchor Point Group, LLC
Boulder, CO

June 19, 2009
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009



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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009



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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

PURPOSE

1. This document provides a comprehensive, scientifically based analysis of wildfire related
hazards and risks in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) areas of Lexington Hills, CA. The
analysis is delivered in the form of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), and follows
the standards for CWPPs that have been established by the Healthy Forest Restoration Act.

2. Using the results of the analysis, recommendations have been generated that aid
stakeholders in preventing and/or reducing the threat of wildfire to values in the study area.
These recommendations are included throughout the report, wherever appropriate.

3. This report complements local agreements and existing plans for wildfire protection to aid in
implementing a seamless, coordinated effort in determining appropriate fire management
actions in the study area.

The Lexington Hills Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a multi-year guiding
document that will facilitate the implementation of future mitigation efforts.

This CWPP meets the requirements of HFRA by:
   1. Identifying and prioritizing fuels reduction opportunities across the landscape
      See Appendix B of this document.
   2. Addressing structural ignitability
      See Structural Ignitability/Defensible Space section.
   3. Collaborating with stakeholders
      See page three and Appendix C of the main CWPP report.

The Lexington Hills CWPP is the result of a area-wide fire protection planning effort that
includes extensive field data, a compilation of existing documents, scientific analysis of the fire
behavior potential of the study area (based on fuels, topography, and historical weather
conditions), and collaboration with homeowners and officials from several agencies including
CAL FIRE, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, San Jose Water Company, Santa Clara
County Fire Department, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Santa Clara County Parks and
Recreation, and the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council.

This CWPP provides a comprehensive assessment of the wildfire hazards and risks in the study
area. Its goal is to reduce hazards through increased education about wildfires, hazardous fuels
reduction, and other recommendations that will facilitate fire suppression efforts. Detailed
recommendations for specific actions are included herein. It is important to note that the
Lexington Hills CWPP is a working document, and, as such, will need to be updated annually,
and/or after a major “event” such as wildfire, flood, insect infestation or even significant new
home development.




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009



CONCLUSIONS
The CWPP provides an overview of the Values at Risk on which a significant wildfire would
have an impact. These include: Life Safety, Homes and Property Values, Infrastructure,
Recreation and Lifestyle, Wildlife Habitat, Watershed Protection, and Environmental Resources.

The report’s main recommendations are organized to address five broad categories of fire
mitigation: public education, structural ignitability/defensible space, water supply,
access/evacuation, and street and home addressing. There are three landscape fuel breaks,
ten major roadside thinning projects, and five evacuation route roadside thinning projects
recommended for the Lexington Hills study area. Specific recommendations and their priority
level are included in Appendix B. The report also contains an “Areas of Special Interest”
section, which are areas that do not qualify as communities, but should still be considered in
wildfire planning. This section analyzes and makes mitigation and public education
recommendations for Loma Prieta Road, the Lupin Lodge, the Presentation Center, and the
Mount Bache area.

Because much of the information contained in the report is extensive and/or technical in nature,
detailed discussions of certain elements are contained in appendices:

Appendix A: Fire Behavior Potential Analysis Methodology
Appendix A describes the methodology used to evaluate the threat represented by physical
hazards such as fuels, weather, and topography to Values at Risk in the study area, by
modeling their effects on fire behavior potential. A detailed description of each standardized,
nationally recognized fuel model found in the study area is included.
Appendix B: Action Plan and Project Priorities
This appendix provides guidelines on how to implement the recommendations made in the
CWPP. As a requirement for HFRA, projects are prioritized for completion. This section
includes all the recommended fuels reduction projects within the study area, as well as their
priority listing, one being the highest, four being the lowest. Other fire management
recommendations such as addressing and water supply are not prioritized, however a
methodology for local prioritization is provided in this appendix.
Appendix C: Project Collaboration
One of the main requirements of HFRA is to assure community participation. A summary of the
collaborative process undertaken for this project are found here.


DISCLAIMER
Recommendations in this document are not prescriptive, but are intended to provide
identification of possible solutions or mitigation actions to reduce the impact of wildfire on values
at risk. The views and conclusions in this document are those of the authors and should not be
interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the California Fire Safe Council, the Santa
Clara County FireSafe Council, any government entity or fire agency, signatory companies, or
the U.S. Government. Mention of companies, trade names or commercial products does not
constitute an endorsement by the California Fire Safe Council, the Santa Clara County FireSafe
Council or the U.S. Government.




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


                                                      TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................................................................................... I
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................................... 1
THE NATIONAL FIRE PLAN AND THE HEALTHY FOREST RESTORATION ACT................................. 1
COLLABORATION: COMMUNITY/AGENCIES/STAKEHOLDERS ........................................................... 3
STUDY AREA OVERVIEW .......................................................................................................................... 3
VALUES ........................................................................................................................................................ 6
       Critical Infrastructure ............................................................................................................................. 6
       Growth and Development ..................................................................................................................... 6
       Water Supply ......................................................................................................................................... 6
       Watersheds ........................................................................................................................................... 6
       Open Space .......................................................................................................................................... 7
       Current Risk Situation ........................................................................................................................... 8
FIRE REGIME AND CONDITION CLASS ................................................................................................. 10
   CONDITION CLASS ..................................................................................................................................... 12
   CONDITION CLASS DESCRIPTION ................................................................................................................ 12
SOLUTIONS AND MITIGATION ................................................................................................................ 13
       Public Education ................................................................................................................................. 13
       Structural ignitability/Defensible Space............................................................................................... 14
       Water Supply: Individual Home Cisterns ............................................................................................ 17
       Access/Evacuation Routes ................................................................................................................. 18
       Addressing .......................................................................................................................................... 19
RECOMMENDATIONS............................................................................................................................... 19
       Pacific Gas and Electric ...................................................................................................................... 20
       Hydrant Signage and Testing.............................................................................................................. 20
       Roadside Thinning .............................................................................................................................. 21
       Access/Evacuation Routes ................................................................................................................. 21
       Good Neighbor Policy ......................................................................................................................... 21
CURRENT LANDSCAPE-LEVEL FUEL TREATMENTS .......................................................................... 21
       Open Space Projects .......................................................................................................................... 23
       Santa Clara County Parks................................................................................................................... 24
       Water Utility Projects ........................................................................................................................... 24
       Other Recommendations .................................................................................................................... 25
       Local Preparedness/Firefighting ......................................................................................................... 26
       Fire Station Proximity in the Study Area ............................................................................................. 27
STRUCTURAL IGNITABILITY ................................................................................................................... 29
   COMMUNITY DESCRIPTIONS ....................................................................................................................... 29
     Community Assessment Methodology ................................................................................................ 30
     Aldercroft Heights ................................................................................................................................ 31
       Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 32
     Soda Springs ....................................................................................................................................... 34
       Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 35
     Upper Montevina ................................................................................................................................. 37
       Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 38
     Chemeketa Park ................................................................................................................................. 40
       Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 41

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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


       Lower Montevina ................................................................................................................................. 43
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 44
       Redwood Estates ................................................................................................................................ 46
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 47
       Summit Road ...................................................................................................................................... 48
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 49
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 51
       Skyline/Black Road ............................................................................................................................. 52
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 53
       Lake Canyon ....................................................................................................................................... 55
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 56
       Hebard................................................................................................................................................. 57
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 58
       Upper Redwood Estates ..................................................................................................................... 59
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 60
       Call of the Wild .................................................................................................................................... 61
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 62
       Mountain Charlie/Melody Lane ........................................................................................................... 64
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 65
       Lower Loma Prieta .............................................................................................................................. 66
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 67
       Bear Creek .......................................................................................................................................... 68
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 69
       Idylwild................................................................................................................................................. 70
          Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 71
AREAS OF SPECIAL INTEREST .............................................................................................................. 72
       Loma Prieta Road ............................................................................................................................... 72
       Lupin Lodge ........................................................................................................................................ 72
       Presentation Center ............................................................................................................................ 72
       Mount Bache ....................................................................................................................................... 72
CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................................ 74




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


                                                       LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Lexington Hills Community Hazard Rating Map ........................................................................... 5 
Figure 2. Midpeninsula and County Park Open Space Ownership ............................................................. 8 
Figure 3. Historic Fire Perimeters ................................................................................................................ 9 
Figure 4. Fire Regime and Condition Class ............................................................................................... 10 
Figure 5. Area identified as Wildland Urban Interface for Santa Clara County ......................................... 14 
Figure 6. Cisterns with Obstructed Access ................................................................................................ 17 
Figure 7. Narrow Roads, Confusing Signage ............................................................................................ 18 
Figure 8. Group Addressing on Mailboxes................................................................................................. 19 
Figure 9. Fire Hydrants With and Without Appropriate Marking ................................................................ 20 
Figure 10. Morrill Road Project ................................................................................................................... 23 
Figure 11. Lexington Hills Proximity Map................................................................................................... 28 
Figure 12. Community Hazard Rating Map................................................................................................ 29 
Figure 13. Aldercroft Heights Fuels Reduction Projects ............................................................................ 33 
Figure 14. Soda Springs Roadside Thinning ............................................................................................. 36 
Figure 15. Upper Montevina Fuels Reduction Projects ............................................................................. 39 
Figure 16. Chemeketa Park Fuels Reduction Projects .............................................................................. 42 
Figure 17. Lower Montevina Fuels Reduction Projects ............................................................................. 45 
Figure 18. Upper Loma Prieta Fuels Reduction Projects .......................................................................... 51 
Figure 19. Skyline/Black Road Fuels Reduction Projects.......................................................................... 54 
Figure 20. Call of the Wild Fuels Reduction Projects ................................................................................ 63 
Figure 21. Mountain Charlie/Melody Lane Fuels Reduction Projects ........................................................ 65 
Figure 22. Lower Loma Prieta Fuels Reduction Projects .......................................................................... 67 
Figure 23. Bear Creek Fuels Reduction Projects ...................................................................................... 69 



                                                        LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. CWPP Core Development Team ................................................................................................... 3
Table 2. Community Hazard Ratings ........................................................................................................... 5
Table 3. Fire Regime and Condition Class ................................................................................................ 12



                                                   LIST OF APPENDICES
Appendix A: Fire Behavior Potential Analysis Methodology.…………………………………………………A-1
Appendix B: Action Plan and Project Priorities….…...………………………………………………………...B-1
Appendix C: Project Collaboration.…………………………...………...………………………………………C-1




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


INTRODUCTION
The Lexington Hills Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is the result of a community-
wide effort that included extensive field data gathering, compilation of existing documents and
GIS data, and extensive fire behavior analyses. This document also incorporates existing
information relating to wildfire which will be valuable to citizens, policy makers, and public
agencies in the Lexington Hills study area. Together, these inputs allow recommendations to be
made about what specific actions can be taken to reduce the threat of wildfire related damages
to “values at risk” (see below). This document meets the requirements of the federal Healthy
Forest Restoration Act of 2003 for community fire planning.

THE NATIONAL FIRE PLAN AND THE HEALTHY FOREST
RESTORATION ACT

In the year 2000, more than eight million acres burned across the United States, marking one of
the most devastating wildfire seasons in American history. One high-profile incident, the Cerro
Grande fire at Los Alamos, NM, destroyed more than 235 structures and threatened the
Department of Energy’s nuclear research facility.

Two reports addressing federal wildland fire management were initiated after the 2000 fire
season. The first report, prepared by a federal interagency group, was titled “Review and
Update of the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy” (2001). This report concluded,
among other points, that the condition of America’s forests had continued to deteriorate.

The second report, titled “Managing the Impacts of Wildfire on Communities and the
Environment: A Report to the President in Response to the Wildfires of 2000,” was issued by
the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest
Service (USFS). It became known as the National Fire Plan (NFP). This report, and the ensuing
congressional appropriations, ultimately required actions to:

   •   Respond to severe fires
   •   Reduce the impacts of fire on rural communities and the environment
   •   Ensure sufficient firefighting resources

Congress increased its specific appropriations to accomplish these goals. 2002 was another
severe season: more than 1,200 homes were destroyed and over seven million acres burned. In
response to public pressure, congress and the Bush administration continued to designate
funds specifically for actionable items such as preparedness and suppression. That same year,
the Bush administration announced the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) initiative, which
enhanced measures to restore forest and rangeland health and reduce the risk of catastrophic
wildfires. In 2003, that act was signed into law.

Through these watershed pieces of legislation, Congress continues to appropriate specific
funding to address five main sub-categories: preparedness, suppression, reduction of
hazardous fuels, burned-area rehabilitation, and state and local assistance to firefighters. The
general concepts of the NFP blended well with the established need for community wildfire
protection in the study area. The spirit of the NFP is reflected in the Lexington Hills CWPP.



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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


This CWPP meets the requirements of HFRA by:
   1. Identifying and prioritizing fuels reduction opportunities across the landscape
   2. Making recommendations to reduce structural ignitibility
   3. Assessing community fire suppression capabilities
   4. Collaborating with stakeholders

Participants in this project include CAL FIRE, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, San
Jose Water Company, Santa Clara County Fire Department, Santa Clara Valley Water District
and Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation, and the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council,
homeowners, adjacent state and county land managers, and other stakeholders. A more in
depth listing is included in Appendix C, Lexington Hills Collaborative Effort.

The assessment portion of this document analyzes the hazards and risks associated with
wildland fire in proximity to WUI areas. This information, in conjunction with identification of the
values at risk, defines “areas of concern” and allows for prioritization of mitigation efforts. From
the analysis of this data, solutions and mitigation recommendations are offered that will aid
homeowners, land managers, and other interested parties in developing short-term and long-
term fuels and fire management plans.

The Wildfire Hazard and Risk Assessment is developed using a Community Wildfire
Hazard/Risk Rating system (WHR) and combining it with Fire Behavior Potential modeling and
analysis. Because this data is technical in nature, detailed findings and technical analyses are
included in Appendix A. This approach is designed to make the plan more readable, while
establishing a reference source for those interested in the technical elements of wildfire hazard
and risk assessment. For the convenience of residents in the study area, however, each
community’s detailed analysis and recommendations can be found in the main report.

It should be noted that this CWPP is a “living document” that is useful only to the extent that it is
current. Therefore, this document should be updated annually. It could be made an on-line
document and updated annually to reflect current best practices and any new relevant
information, as well as, list of projects completed or planned. A review of the CWPP should be
conducted more frequently if significant changes occur in the study area. As an example, if a
large contiguous area becomes highly affected by Sudden Oak Death (SOD), it may have an
impact on the fuels that would carry fire. Changes to the fuel models used to predict fire
behavior may be significant and warrant additional action. Additional information on fire
modeling and SOD should be evaluated as this disease progresses. Detailed information is
available at www.suddenoakdeath.org.

The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council will be primarily responsible for compiling and printing
updates to the master copy, with the data being supplied by the responsible parties of the
affected areas.




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 Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


 COLLABORATION: COMMUNITY/AGENCIES/STAKEHOLDERS

 Organizations involved in the development of the Lexington Hills CWPP are included in Table
 1. For more information on the collaborative process that led to the development of this CWPP,
 see Appendix C: Lexington Hills CWPP Collaborative Effort.


Table 1. CWPP Core Development Team
                Organization

 Santa Clara County FireSafe Council
 Santa Clara County Fire Department
 CAL FIRE
 Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
 Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
 Santa Clara Valley Water District
 Santa Clara County Parks
 San Jose Water Company


 Anchor Point Group LLC
 Consultants




 STUDY AREA OVERVIEW

 Lexington Hills is a Census Designated place, located in unincorporated Santa Clara County,
 California. The study area covers 25,148 acres (39.3 square miles), ranging in elevation from
 less than 300 feet to 3,700 feet in certain areas. For the purposes of the fire behavior analysis
 carried out as a part of this study (see Appendix A), an additional one-mile buffer in all
 directions was added to the study area, resulting in an area of 49,654 acres (77.6 square miles)
 total. The inclusion of this buffer provides the user with an analysis of potential fire behavior on
 adjacent lands. From both a planning and tactical perspective, it is important to evaluate
 exposures beyond the area of interest. However, the recommendations made in this report are
 limited to the study area boundary.

 The population of Lexington Hills is approximately 6,000. There are approximately 2,000 homes
 in the study area, with varied construction types, lot sizes, and surrounding fuels. The study
 area has many vegetation communities depending on elevation, precipitation, and slope.
 Vegetation in the Lexington Hills study area ranges among chaparral, oak, mixed conifer, and
 redwoods. Chaparral vegetation is often found on south facing slopes, where winter
 precipitation is relatively high, but dry summers are common. Oak woodlands, comprised of a
 variety of oak species are also interspersed throughout. Knob Cone pine and Grey pine are
 species associated with the mixed conifer areas. Coastal coniferous forest communities such as
 Redwoods and Douglas-fir are located at lower elevations where precipitation is high, fog is
 common, and temperatures are moderate. Because of these variables, the Lexington Hills study
 area presents a fairly wide range of wildfire hazard ratings.


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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


After completing field work and conferring with local officials, stakeholders, and community
members, 17 communities and three areas of special interest were delineated within the study
area. Hazard and risk analyses based on community surveys and fire behavior resulted in rating
of Extreme Fire Hazard for three of the 17 communities; five communities received a rating of
Very High; seven were rated High; and two received a rating of Moderate. (See Figure 1 and
Table 2 on the next page.)

The overall hazard ranking of these communities is determined by considering the following
variables: fuels, topography, structural flammability, availability of water for fire suppression,
egress and navigational difficulties, and other hazards, both natural and manmade. The
methodology for this assessment uses the WHR (Wildfire Hazard Rating) community hazard
rating system developed specifically to evaluate communities within the WUI for their relative
wildfire hazard.1 The WHR model combines physical infrastructure such as structure density
and roads, and fire behavior components like fuels and topography, with the field experience
and knowledge of wildland fire experts. For more information on the WHR methodology please
see the Community Hazard Analyses in the document.




1 C. White, “Community Wildfire Hazard Rating Form” Wildfire Hazard Mitigation and Response Plan, Colorado State Forest Service, Ft. Collins, CO, 1986.
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 Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


 Figure 1. Lexington Hills Community Hazard Rating Map




Table 2. Community Hazard Ratings
 1. Aldercroft Heights                          10. Lake Canyon
 2. Soda Springs                                11. Hebard
 3. Upper Montevina                             12. Upper Redwood Estates
 4. Chemeketa Park                              13. Call of the Wild
 5. Lower Montevina                             14. Mountain Charlie/Melody Lane
 6. Redwood Estates                             15. Lower Loma Prieta
 7. Summit road                                 16. Bear Creek
 8. Upper Loma Prieta                           17. Idylwild
 9. Skyline/Black Road




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


VALUES

Critical Infrastructure

Critical utility infrastructure such as water treatment plants, electric power supply lines,
substations, and natural gas lines are essential to supply residents and businesses with
services that are in some cases critical to health and life safety. The infrastructure discussed
below is considered to be the most critical to life safety that would be threatened by wildfire and
is not meant to constitute a comprehensive list of all the infrastructure values existing in the
study area.

In many parts of the study area, electric power is needed to power pumps for the domestic
water supply, and to provide heating and lighting. Wildfire is a significant threat to the electric
utility supply. There is a major transmission line that runs along the south edge of Upper
Montevina. A road to access the power line has already been established, but maintaining this
road and keeping it cleared is important to limit damage from wildfire.

Growth and Development

There is not a significant amount of growth in the study area at this time. According to census
data, growth in the study area peaked during the 1960s. Since then, the number of people
moving into the area has declined. Additionally, no major construction projects or building are
going on in within the study area.

Water Supply

Like most western communities, Lexington Hills depends on stored water most of the year. The
amount of water available changes from year to year depending on how much precipitation falls.
Therefore, water must be stored in reservoirs during wetter years to carry over for use in dry
years.

Approximately half the homes are well fed or spring fed. Many of the wells provide a year-round
water supply, as they are fracture wells and do not depend on the water table for supply. Some
communities get surface water from creeks and others have pressurized delivery systems.

See general water supply recommendations in the next section (“Solutions and Mitigation”).
Water supply recommendations that are specific to a particular community can be found in that
community’s individual analysis.

Watersheds

The project area has several reservoirs and adjacent watersheds. Among the larger
stakeholders are the San Jose Water Company and Santa Clara Valley Water District.
Watersheds need to be protected and maintained from catastrophic wildfire damage. A wildfire
could have a very serious impact on the water quality and infrastructure of these watersheds.
Immediate concerns would be erosion, sedimentation and water contamination. Long-term
issues resulting from damage to watersheds would be increased run off, poor soil retention, and
decreased water quality. There would be a significant long term fiscal impact as well.



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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Many of these areas are restricted use and/or are undeveloped. These are areas of concern
due to the accumulation of brush, dead and down wood and other vegetation build up along
riparian corridors. Managers of major and minor watersheds should consider developing an
ecosystem management plan focused on sustaining and maintaining watershed systems.

Open Space

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD)

The MROSD has permanently preserved over 57,000 acres of mountainous, foothill, and
bayland open space, creating 26 open space preserves (24 of which are open to the public).
The District covers an area of 550 square miles and includes 17 cities (Atherton, Cupertino,
East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Menlo Park, Monte
Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, Saratoga,
Sunnyvale, and Woodside2). MROSD owns approximately 28,000 acres in and adjacent to the
study area, which comprises all of the Bear Creek Preserve and about 30% of the Sierra Azul
area.

Santa Clara County Parks

Currently, the regional parks system has expanded to 28 parks encompassing nearly 45,000
acres (Figure 2). County Parks are regional parks - The parks offer opportunities for recreation
in a natural environment to all County residents. Regional parks are larger in size, usually more
than 200 acres, than local neighborhood or community parks. Many of the County's regional
parks also feature points of local historic interest. Lexington Reservoir County Park lies within
the project area. It is a 941 acre park and reservoir minutes from the urban centers of Santa
Clara County.




2
    http://www.openspace.org/about_us/default.asp
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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 2. Midpeninsula and County Park Open Space Ownership




Current Risk Situation

This area has a long history of fires (Figures 3a and 3b) as well as other natural disasters such
as earthquakes, floods and mudslides. The California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection (CAL FIRE) has mapped areas of significant fire hazards based on fuels, terrain,
weather, and other relevant factors. These zones, referred to as Fire Hazard Severity Zones
(FHSZ), are then used to define the application of various mitigation strategies to reduce risk
associated with wildland fires. The Lexington Hills area rated Moderate, High, & Very High in the
CAL FIRE assessment.

The Anchor Point analysis was a more detailed study that focused only on the Lexington Hills,
rather than the entire state. Some criteria that would have been impractical to consider on a
state level were used in this analysis. As a result, there may be some differences in the ratings,
but overall, the Anchor Point findings correspond to the state level assessment.




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 3a. Historic Fire Perimeters near the Study Area




Figure 3b. Historic Fire Perimeters near Santa Clara County




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


FIRE REGIME AND CONDITION CLASS

The Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC) is a landscape evaluation of expected fire behavior as
it relates to the departure from historic norms. The data used for this study is from a national
level map. The minimum mapping unit for this data is 1 square kilometer. FRCC is not to be
confused with BEHAVE and FlamMap fire behavior models (detailed in the fire behavior section)
which provide the fire behavior potential analysis for expected flame length, rate of spread and
crown fire development.

The FRCC is an expression of the departure of the current condition from the historical fire
regime. It is used as a proxy for the probability of severe fire effects (e.g., the loss of key
ecosystem components - soil, vegetation structure, species, or alteration of key ecosystem
processes - nutrient cycles, hydrologic regimes). Consequently, FRCC is an index of hazards to
many components (e.g., water quality, fish health, wildlife habitats, etc.). Figure 4 displays
graphically the return interval and condition class of the study area.

Deriving FRCC entails comparing current conditions to some estimate of the historical range
that existed prior to substantial settlement by Euro-Americans. The departure of the current
condition from the historical baseline serves as a proxy to likely ecosystem effects. In applying
the condition class concept, it is assumed that historical fire regimes represent the conditions
under which the ecosystem components within fire-adapted ecosystems evolved and have been
maintained over time. Thus, if it is projected that fire intervals and/or fire severity have changed
from the historical conditions, then it would be expected that fire size, intensity, and burn
patterns would also be subsequently altered if a fire occurred. Furthermore, if it is assumed that
these basic fire characteristics have changed, then it is likely that there would be subsequent
effects to those ecosystem components that had adapted to the historical fire regimes.

As used here, the potential of ecosystem effects reflect the probability that key ecosystem
components would be lost if a fire were to occur. It should be noted that a key ecosystem
component can represent virtually any attribute of an ecosystem (for example, soil productivity,
water quality, floral and faunal species, large-diameter trees, snags, etc.).




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 4. Fire Regime and Condition Class




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


The following categories of condition class are used to qualitatively rank the potential of effects
to key ecosystem components:

   Table 3. Fire Regime and Condition Class




      Condition
                                        Condition Class Description
       Class
                        Fire regimes are within their historical range and the risk of losing
                        key ecosystem components as a result of wildfire is low. Vegetation
             1          attributes (species composition and structure) are intact and
                        functioning within an historical range. Fire effects would be similar
                        to those expected under historic fire regimes.




                        Fire regimes have been moderately altered from their historical
                        range. The risk of losing key ecosystem components as a result of
                        wildfire is moderate. Fire frequencies have changed by one or more
                        fire-return intervals (either increased or decreased). Vegetation
             2          attributes have been moderately altered from their historical
                        range. Consequently, wildfires would likely be larger, more intense,
                        more severe, and have altered burn patterns, as compared with
                        those expected under historic fire regimes.




                        Fire regimes have changed substantially from their historical
                        range. The risk of losing key ecosystem components is high. Fire
                        frequencies have changed by two or more fire-return intervals.
             3          Vegetation attributes have been significantly altered from their
                        historical range. Consequently, wildfires would likely be larger,
                        more intense, and have altered burn patterns, as compared with
                        those expected under historic fire regimes.


The communities in the study area are dominantly classified under Fire Regime 35-100+, and
are in Condition Class 2. By definition, historic fire regimes have been altered 34-66% from the
reference conditions. Consequently, wildfires are likely to be larger, more severe, and have
altered burn patterns, as compared with those expected under historic fire regimes. However,
the risk of losing key ecosystem components as a result of wildfire is moderate.




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


SOLUTIONS AND MITIGATION

This section gives an overview of specific areas of concern or categories related to fire
mitigation in particular. This approach will help facilitate mitigation efforts among the different
stakeholders involved in the Lexington Hills CWPP, who may have responsibilities in different
mitigation categories (e.g., water supply vs. home safety). Unique activities and objectives are
recommended for each category. Wherever possible or appropriate, community-specific
recommendations in any of these categories are found in the individual community analyses
below. The advantage of this approach is that it encourages residents to become involved in
mitigation activities. Their local knowledge and input, motivated by a personal investment in the
area, can greatly assist professionals from various fields in tailoring mitigation efforts to the
specific needs of the area in question.

Public Education

The Lexington Hills study area has a highly involved fire safety council, the Santa Clara County
FireSafe Council (http://www.SCCFireSafe.org). This organization provides information
regarding chipping programs, defensible space mitigation, forest health issues, and much more.
They also offer public meetings and forums to support wildfire awareness.

To further public awareness, the following recommendations are suggested:

- Use the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council website to promote public involvement in
implementing the tasks set forth by the CWPP.

- A fire danger sign located at the riding stables.

- Fire danger signs at all community parks.

- Two electronic message signs (Caltrans) exist on Highway 17 and could be used to notify the
public of very high and extreme fire danger. Coordinate with Caltrans (510-286-4444).

Yard trimming and slash pile burning is a useful tool for disposing of organic material but is a
potential fire hazard. A complete list of guidelines for proper burning in Santa Clara County can
be found at:
http://www.sccgov.org/portal/site/fmo/agencychp?path=%2Fv7%2FFire%20Marshal%27s%20O
ffice%20(DEP)%2FBurn%20Permits .
 
       The following are burn permit requirements:
            • Maximum pile size four feet in diameter.
            • Clear all flammable material and vegetation within 10-feet of the outer edge of
               pile.
            • Keep a water supply close to the burning site.
            • An adult should be in attendance with a shovel until the fire is out.
            • No burning shall be undertaken unless weather conditions (particularly wind) are
               such that burning can be considered safe.




                                                                                                 13
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Structural ignitability/Defensible Space

There is a wide variety of home and structure types in the study area. Housing construction,
size, and density are similar within communities, but vary greatly between them. The majority of
the houses have a combination of combustible and non-combustible siding and a mix of roof
coverings. In many of the communities, the density of the structures is high. Throughout the
study area there are scattered larger lots that are surrounded by vineyards and other open
agricultural land. Some defensible space work has been completed in some of the communities,
but not for all.

Santa Clara County has adopted new building codes that relate to properties located in the
wildland urban interface. Detailed information can be found by searching ‘wildland urban
interface code’ at: http://www.sccgov.org/home.html

Santa Clara County FireSafe Council (SCFSC) provides excellent resources for those living in
the wildland urban interface (Figure 5). A description of their services can be found in the
Public Education Section found on page 13 of this CWPP.

Figure 5. Area identified as Wildland Urban Interface for Santa Clara County




                                                                                             14
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


A 20-page guide is available online at http://www.sccfiresafe.org/FireSafe/FireSafeHome.htm.
This guide provides homeowners with information about what defensible space is, how to create
defensible space, fire safe building materials and landscaping, and what to do if there is a
fire. The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council website is an excellent resource; following the
recommendations in their brochure is highly recommended.

Defensible space it the most important thing that a homeowner can do to protect their property
in the event of a wildfire. A defensible space is an area in which vegetation, debris, and other
types of combustible fuels have been treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of a
wildfire towards the building. In addition to clearing vegetation, preventing ember cast from
igniting structures is also an aspect of defensible space. Installing screens over open vents and
enclosing eves are easy ways to prevent home losses. Local vegetation, weather and
topography are used to determine the Fire Severity of the area, which will assist in determining
the necessary defensible space for a building. Creating a defensible space can often be done
by the property owner and is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect a building from a
wildfire. The defensible space recommendations are purely guidelines. Depending on the
nature of one's home construction, fuels and topography near the home, the actions necessary
for defensible space may vary. Individuals should work with professionals to discuss the
options available for his or her property. As an example, defensible space guidelines often
focus on clearing canopies; however, for redwoods, the focus should be on clearing and
reducing surface and ladder fuels, opposed to cutting large trees. Because redwood bark is
relatively fire resistant and closed canopies in redwood forests help retain fuel moisture and
shade out re-growth of ladder fuels, mature redwood trees should be retained. Opening
normally dense redwood crown cover may increase fire spread, fire intensity and flame length.
Lower limbs may be removed to improve fire resistance.

Key Issues

•   Wildland vegetation such as grass, brush, and timber can be extremely combustible. The
    vegetation can burn with great intensity and produce firebrands and burning embers that
    can become wind-driven and ignite buildings. Embers can continue to be airborne for
    several hours after the wildfire passes.
•   Landscape vegetation can be as combustible as wildland vegetation.
•   Combustible plants have these characteristics:
        -Volatile resins and oils (generally aromatic when crushed)
        -Narrow leaves or long, thin needles such as conifer needles
        -Waxy or fuzzy leaves
        -An accumulation of dead leaves and twigs on and under the plant
        -Loose or papery bark
•   Accessory buildings and structures and other items commonly found in yards that are made
    of combustible materials, can also put an otherwise fire-resistant building at risk of ignition
    and destruction.
•   Combustible vegetation and materials around a building:
       -increases the risk of building ignition,
       -restricts the space necessary to provide fire fighters a relatively safe place to protect a
        building and
       -increases the chances that a building on fire will ignite adjacent wildlands.



                                                                                                  15
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Considerations
• Consult the local or state fire agency about codes, requirements, and standards related to
   defensible space. Codes, requirements, and standards normally represent the minimum that
   should be done and consideration should be given to providing enhanced protection
   measures beyond what is recommended or required.

•   Maintaining a defensible space requires routine maintenance of vegetation, which includes
    pruning and removing dead branches and leaves. Characteristics of low-maintenance plants
    are:
        -Drought-resistant
        -Pest-resistant
        -Native to the area
        -Noninvasive
        -Slow-growing
        -Wind-resistant
        -Sustainable without supplemental fertilization

•   When conducting defensible space mitigation, consider consulting with the California Native
    Plant Society and wildlife biologists to create an area that is sensitive-plant and animal
    friendly. These practices include no heavy pesticide use, limiting soil erosion, and a focus
    on using native plants.

Embers landing on roofs are one of the most common ways homes burn during a wildfire.
Wood shake shingle roofs are especially susceptible to burning embers and are not
recommended. Removing needle cast on roofs, cleaning out gutters, and ensuring the roof is
built with ignition resistant materials are recommended regardless of building codes because of
this risk. Fire resistant roofing materials are one of the best ways to protect a home from
wildfire.

Roofing Material Definitions3

There are three main categories of roof materials in relation to their ignitability. They are as
follows:

High Resistance – Roof coverings that are effective against severe flame exposure, that afford a
high degree of fire protection to the roof deck, that do not slip from position, and that do not
present a flying brand hazard.

Moderate Resistance – Roof coverings that are effective against moderate flame exposure, that
afford a moderate degree of fire protection to the roof deck, that do not slip from position, and
that do not present a flying brand hazard.

Low Resistance – Roof coverings that are effective against light flame exposure, that afford a
light degree of fire protection to the roof deck, that do not slip from position, and that do not
present a flying brand hazard.



3
 NFPA 1144 Standard for Reducing Structure Ignition Hazards from Wildland Fire 2008 Edition – pgs 21
– 22

                                                                                                    16
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


It is important to realize that the roofs are installed in a very specific manner for testing. For this
reason, the ratings should be thought of as roof covering assembly tests. In other words, in
order to meet the standard at which it is rated, a roof covering material should be installed in the
same manner as is described in its listing. Specific testing procedures for roofs are outlined by
NFPA 256 Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Roof Coverings.

Some other useful websites:

The Natural Resources Conservation District (NRDC) in conjunction with the California Native
Plant Society (CNPS) has developed a list of Fire Resistant Native Plants. The current draft and
other useful fire related documents can be found on the NRDC website at:
http://www.rcdsantacruz.org/Resources/fireprevention.html

Santa Clara County Planning Office also has guidelines for Integrated Landscaping:
http://www.sccgov.org/portal/site/planning/


Central Coast Fire Learning Network:
Living with Fire ‐guide for homeowners
http://sccfiresafe.org/FireSafe/LivingWithFire.htm
CAL FIRE "100 Feet of Defensible Space is the Law" brochures and checklists:
http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/communications_firesafety_100feet.php

Use these web sites for a list of public education materials, and for general homeowner
education:

   •   http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/links/links_prevention.html
   •   http://www.firewise.org
   •   http://www.blm.gov/nifc/st/en/prog/fire.1.html


Water Supply: Individual Home Cisterns

Many of the homes in the study area are equipped with a private cistern that can be used by the
fire department. It is recommended that the communities with cisterns work with the fire
department to make sure each cistern is accessible and usable. In some cases, vegetation in
the area around the cistern needs to be cleared to assure access, and there should not be any
gates or fencing around the cisterns. All connections need to be compatible with fire department
equipment and should be kept clean and unobstructed for fire department use.




                                                                                                    17
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 6. Cisterns with Obstructed Access




Access/Evacuation Routes

Although the roads in the study area are paved, many of them are steep, single lane, and
winding. There are limited pull-offs, multiple dead ends, private drives that look like roads, and a
lack of turnarounds. Dead-end roads in particular can be extremely dangerous, especially in the
event of a wildfire.

Road and housing signage is variable but often constructed of flammable and non-reflective
materials. Taken together, these factors create a potentially dangerous situation in the event of
a wildfire.

For a complete list of all access road and road sign regulations, please see the Property
Inspection Guide, section 9, also available at:
www.SCCFireSafe.org/LHCWPP/CAL_FIRE_Property_Inspection_Guide.pdf

Figure 7. Narrow Roads, Confusing Signage




                                                                                                 18
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Addressing

Almost all of the communities within the study area have some missing or inadequate
addressing. Home addressing varies widely in type and location, and some cannot easily be
identified as address markers.

Figure 8. Group Addressing on Mailboxes




While residents may consider non-reflective wooden address signage to be decorative, it
represents a serious hindrance to quick and effective response. Proper reflective signage is a
critical operational need. Knowing at a glance the difference between a road and a driveway
(and which houses are on the driveway) cuts down on errors and time wasted interpreting
maps. This is especially true for out-of-district responders who do not have the opportunity to
train on access issues specific to the response area. The value of the time saved, especially at
night and in difficult conditions, cannot be overstated.

RECOMMENDATIONS

- A program of replacing worn or difficult to read street signs should be developed. Every
intersection and street name change should have adequate, reflective signage.

- Multiple addressing on community driveways should be replaced with reflective markers that
indicate the proper road fork, where applicable, for each address. This system should be
repeated at every place where the driveway divides and an individual driveway leaves the
community driveway.

- For each home, reflective markers should be placed where the driveway leaves an access
road and on the house itself. These may be in addition to, or in place of, existing decorative
address markers. Consistency in height and placement should be stressed.

       •   Size of letters, numbers, and symbols for street and road signs should be a minimum
           3-inch letter height, 3/8-inch stroke, reflecting, and contrasting with the background
           color of the sign. (To see the complete set of guidelines, see the Property Inspection
           Guide, section 1274.08 and 1274.09, also available on http://www.sccfiresafe.org.)


                                                                                                 19
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


- Lot markers and or address markers should be placed when a building permit is issued for
new construction. These should be replaced with permanent address markers as soon as the
home has a certificate of occupancy.

- Where dead-end and private road markers occur, the addresses of homes beyond the marker
should be clearly posted. This can be done with a group address marker, for example “14391-
14393 Smith Road.”

Pacific Gas and Electric

Under state law PG&E is responsible for maintaining fuel clearances along power lines in the
community, and they have done tree and branch cutting along the lines. Their current practice is
to leave piles behind or lop and scatter after cutting. These piles and slash add to the already
high surface fuel loading in many of the communities. It is therefore recommended that the piles
be removed or chipped as they are generated, and not left for any significant amount of time
prior to mitigation.

CAL FIRE’s forest practice rules (CCR 917.4) are more appropriate and should be considered
for adaptation by PGE.

Hydrant Signage and Testing

Reflective signage or labeling should be installed for all hydrants and draft hydrants in the study
area. Well marked hydrants aid firefighters in attacking any fire in
the area. In addition to signage, hydrants should be tested                     23
annually to ensure they are working properly. Water flow
capability should also be tested. Testing will reveal any potential
problems with hydrants so that they are guaranteed to function
properly in the event of an emergency.

Figure 9. Hydrant Lacking Reflective Signage and Example of
Hydrant with Appropriate Marking




                                                                                                 20
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Roadside Thinning

Recommended roadside thinning projects should attempt to meet the California Department of
Transportation Standards. Their policy is available at
http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/maint/manual/Ch_C2.pdf.

The policy states that vegetation should be cleared four to eight feet from the side of the road, in
order to increase visibility (particularly in smoky conditions), provide space for emergency use,
and preserve pavement. Roadside maintenance that follows these guidelines will not only
provide for safer travel during times of wildfire, but for daily use as well. In areas where this is
not practical, pullouts can be created where reasonable.

Access/Evacuation Routes

All evacuation routes and dead-end roads should be marked with highly visible, non-flammable,
reflective signage. Individuals should be made aware of the evacuation routes before an
emergency occurs, but additional signage should be installed to help people get out safely. The
importance of good signage should not be underestimated: the enormous stress and fear
associated with an oncoming wildfire, not to mention the reduced visibility, can hinder residents’
ability to escape in a timely manner. Early evacuation is critical because of the complexity and
narrow nature of nature of many of the roads. While some road have been recommended for
improvement to be used as evacuation routes, it is recommended that the county and/or fire
departments plan these routes officially. Communities should be in contact with these entities to
resolve any confusion as to where their evacuation routes exist.

Specific access route improvement recommendations can be found below, and in the individual
community analyses.

Good Neighbor Policy

High fuel loading on public parks, open space and water company properties adjacent to
private, residential lands occurs throughout the study area and poses a significant fire threat to
the residential communities. Residential landowners should attempt to work with public and
private agencies to allow treatment on these borders. Additionally, it is recommended that all
stakeholders, such as SJWC, SCVWD, MROSD and County Parks work with local fire officials,
CAL FIRE and the SCFSC to create and expand policies and plans that work with homeowners
who have structures located within 100-300 feet of their land, depending on the slope. Several
public agencies already have policies in place. Both SCVWD and MROSD have acknowledged
the need to work collaboratively with residents in creating defensible space that is amenable to
all involved. These agreements are the first steps in fostering a long-term partnership that will
benefit homeowners and other landowners in the area.

Current Landscape-Level Fuel Treatments

PL566

This project originally resulted from a Federal request to protect the Llagas watershed in the
1960s from the effects of wildfire where it might result in increased sediment loads in the creeks
and reservoirs and a decrease in water quality. The Gavilan Water District, which initiated this

                                                                                                 21
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


project, merged with Santa Clara Valley Water District in 1986 and the PL566 continues as a
flood control project that maintains hazardous fuel breaks around the watershed.

Recent fire behavior modeling for the Upper Los Gatos Creek as part of the Lexington Hills
Community Wildfire Protection plan and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s Fire
Management Plan provide new information that will impact the PL566. It is suggested that the
fire behavior maps, locations of likely ignition, and predicted fire behavior be reviewed and
updated as appropriate to see how the PL566 can be better implemented and or expanded to
serve its original purpose, protecting water quality in the Llagas watershed owned by SCVWD
and possibility designing the program to provide additional protection to adjacent watershed
owned and/or operated by SCVWD and perhaps SJWC

Loma Prieta

CAL FIRE completed a fuels treatment project near the southern border of the Lexington Hills
CWPP. It consisted of a 150-200’ fuel break constructed around the perimeter of the
telecommunication equipment. This was done cooperatively with American Tower
Communications to secure radio, fiber optic, microwave repeaters and local television assets for
public and private agencies from the threat of wildfire. Due to fire history and conditions of fuels
this project was a high priority. Fuel treatment will continue to include adjacent Crystal Peak and
Mt. Chual telecommunications facilities.

Morrill Road Shaded Fuelbreak

A press release from the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council (SCFSC) announced that the
Morrill Road shaded fuelbreak has been completed as of February 10, 2009. This collaborative
effort coordinated by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council, created a shaded fuel break on
Morrill Road adjacent to Summit Road on the Lexington Reservoir side of the Summit Road.
The 5.5 acre fuel break, located on a property owned by San Jose Water Company and Santa
Clara County Parks, is expected to help protect approximately 20 adjacent homes and another
200+ homes by helping to prevent future wildfires from spreading onto Summit Road, which is a
potential evacuation route for residents in the area.

This project also serves as a demonstration site for homeowners as to what a shaded fuelbreak
looks like in a heavily forested area. In this project, all healthy, large diameter trees were
preserved and de-limbed to a height of 12'. Low lying brush was thinned, and cut back reducing
the amount of ladder fuel that might carry a ground fire into the canopy. Dead and dying trees
were removed (Most of the dead trees were a result of sudden oak death, or the 1985 Lexington
Hills fire). In the past, residents were required to create a defensible space 30' around their
homes. That space has been extended to 100'. The Morrill Road project provides just one
example of what home owners might consider when extending their defensible space from 30'
to 100'.

The project’s success is attributed to cooperation among several agencies and companies: CAL
FIRE, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Jose Water Company, Santa Clara County
Parks, Santa Clara County Fire and SCFSC, which oversaw the coordination of the project.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Ben Lomond Conservation Camp
provided the manpower to clear the fuel break and operate the chipper. Selection of brush,
snags and ladder fuels to be removed and chipped was done by staff from Santa Clara County
Parks. Pacific Gas and Electric Company worked onsite to remove two dead Tan Oak trees
close to their power lines.
                                                                                                 22
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 10. Morrill Road Project




Open Space Projects

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District has recently completed a draft Fire
Management plan that will help guide fire mitigation efforts and balance it with sound ecological
principles. This plan will detail ongoing and planned efforts in the project area.

Currently, the District is undertaking the following fire mitigation efforts in all four District
Preserves (Sierra Azul, Bear Creek Redwoods, El Sereno & Saint Joseph’s Hill) that fall within
the Lexington Hills CWPP:

   •   Brushing single track trails annually by hand.
   •   Brushing roads with an articulating tractor brushing arm on an approximately three-year
       rotation.
   •   Grading roadways to ensure vehicle access
   •   Working with CAL FIRE to maintain the firebreak from Loma Prieta Ridge to Twin
       Creeks (PL566).
   •   Annual fire disking in Sierra Azul & Bear Creek Redwoods
   •   Gating and securing all boundaries with fences and gates, posting all areas hazardous
       fire areas during fire season.
   •   Enforcing District regulations for no smoking/open fires
   •   District Ranger staff patrols preserves with patrol trucks equipped with slide-on pumper
       units during fire season.
   •   Working in conjunction with all local & state fire departments on area orientation of
       District Lands.


                                                                                                23
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


   •   Working to implement a District wide Defensible Space Permit policy to allow
       neighboring landowners to remove vegetation from District property within 100 feet of
       homes. Coordination with neighboring fire agencies is underway and the District expects
       to announce the Program in 2009.

Santa Clara County Parks

Santa Clara County Parks completes a variety of clearing projects, including:
   • Clearing of single-track trails by hand.
   • Brushing roads as needed with a slope mower (deck brush mower or articulating arm
       mower as needed).
   • Maintenance of fire roads for vehicular access.
   • Defensible space around park structures and other county buildings.
   • Secure park boundaries and work with adjacent agencies and fire agencies.
   • Park Ranger staff enforces all park rules and regulations and ordinances (including open
       fires and smoking regulations).
   • Park Ranger staff patrol parks with slide-on pumper trucks for initial attack.
   • Park Maintenance follow procedures developed with CAL FIRE for vegetation
       management (and other high risk activities) during fire season.

Water Utility Projects

San Jose Water Company

Annual maintenance activities typically consist of:
   • Brush control along watershed roads, typically 10 feet to either side when practical.
   • Limbing of trees up to approximately 6 feet in these corridors. Roads maintained are Call
     of the Wild, Hooker Bypass, Elsman Driveway, Williams Road and McKenzie Access road
     (Black road side).
   • Brush control on the face of Austrian Dam, Kittredge Dam and Cozzens Dam. This is
     typically done with hand crews, lopping and scattering or chipping material.
   • Brush cutting/removal as needed around intake facilities, pipelines and other
     infrastructure.

SJWC manages watershed land using an existing SJWC 3-person crew plus a “summer hire”
crew to clean and maintain culverts, complete simple road maintenance tasks, and for brush
clearing. Control of invasives such as French broom have historically been primarily through
herbicide application, however herbicide application is now severely restricted by recently
adopted regulations, and most brush clearing is now done by hand. Brush clearing is performed
annually to maintain raw water pipeline right of ways, maintain vehicle clearance along company
roads, and to remove vegetation from dam faces as required by the California Division of Dam
Safety.

SJWC is currently seeking funding sources necessary to implement the vegetation management
recommendations provided by the TSS Consulting study, which was completed in 2006.




                                                                                            24
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Santa Clara Valley Water District

The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) serves as a steward for the County’s 800 miles
of streams and creeks, its groundwater basins, and District-owned reservoirs. The District uses
best management practices, and collaborations or partnerships with others to be
environmentally sensitive in how it plans and conducts its work. It also strives to be a “Good
Neighbor” by minimizing the unavoidable disruption to neighborhoods and residents caused by
District work, and integrate habitat protection into its capital and maintenance projects. Also, the
District maintains its facilities in compliance with local fire codes and regulations to reduce the
fire threat to the public. In addition, the District works with local jurisdictions to make available
reservoirs, trails, and open space for public use and recreation. Work in Oakmont neighborhood
around Lexington Lake can be summarized by: removal of vegetation (mainly broom and weed)
from a 60 foot strip along Oakmont neighborhood adjacent to Lexington Reservoir. Plants that
are removed would then be gathered and piled for chipping at a later date.

Santa Clara Valley Water District owns and manages the Lexington Lake to provide drinking
water and resupply of the ground water. The Upper Los Gatos Creek that runs from Lake
Elsman (owned and operated by San Jose Water Company) to Lexington Lake provide run off
from winter rains into the Lexington Lake. Protecting the Upper Los Gatos Creek from
catastrophic fire will help reduce excess sediment from entering the Lexington Lake. It is
suggested that SJWC and SCVWD explore the feasibility of creating a shaded fuelbreak along
the Upper Los Gatos Creek to prevent or reduce the risk of wildfire from damages to this critical
riparian zone.

SCVWD has a friendly neighbor policy of clearing brush within the defensible space of homes
when the brush is on their property. In 2008, the Santa Clara Fire Safe Council and SCVWD
collaborated on three acre project to remove brush along the Lexington Reservoir in the
Oakmont neighborhood. SCVWD is also involved with the PL566 project. The County Parks’
annual work list could be useful in helping decide where other projects should be implemented.

Other Recommendations

The following general fire safety and mitigation recommendations are taken from “Taming
Natural Disasters,” produced by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).4

This should be used as a guiding document, in some instances, certain recommendations are
not feasible and alternatives would need to be used.

1) Ensure a reliable source of water for fire suppression (meeting acceptable standards for
minimum volume and duration of flow) for existing and new development.

2) Develop a coordinated approach between fire jurisdictions and water supply agencies to
identify needed improvements to the water distribution system, initially focusing on areas of
highest wildfire hazard.

3) Develop a defensible space vegetation program that includes the clearing or thinning of (a)
non-fire resistive vegetation within 30 feet of access and evacuation roads and routes to critical
facilities, or (b) all non-native species (such as eucalyptus and pine, but not necessarily oaks)
within 30 feet of access and evacuation roads and routes to critical facilities.
4
    http://www.sccfiresafe.org/CWPP/ABAG_Report.pdf
                                                                                                  25
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


4) Ensure all dead-end segments of public roads in high hazard areas have at least a
“T” intersection turn-around sufficient for typical wildland fire equipment.

5) Enforce minimum road width of 20 feet with an additional 10-foot clearance on each shoulder
on all driveways and road segments greater than 50 feet in length in wildfire hazard areas.

6) Require new developments in high fire hazard areas to provide adequate access roads (with
width and vertical clearance that meet the minimum standards of the Fire Code or relevant local
ordinance), onsite fire protection systems, evacuation signage, and fire breaks.

7) Ensure adequate fire equipment road or fire road access to developed and open space
areas.

8) Maintain fire roads and/or public right-of-way roads and keep them passable at all times.

Adhering to every aspect of the ABAG recommendations may not be possible for all areas,
especially when existing infrastructure is limiting. These recommendations should be followed
when possible, and should at least be considered when carrying-out projects.

Santa Clara County and Santa Clara Valley Water District also have FEMA approved annexes.
These are mitigation strategies for all hazards and are part of a larger Bay Area Master Plan.
See http://quake.abag.ca.gov/mitigation/plan.html for more information.

Local Preparedness/Firefighting

Fire suppression services for the study area are provided by the following agencies:

CAL FIRE

The Lexington Hills CWPP lies solely within the Battalion 3 of the Santa Clara Unit in the
unincorporated area of western Santa Clara County. This includes all the State Responsibility
Area (SRA) lands north of Highway 152; west of the Almaden Valley; east of the Santa Cruz
County line; and south from the San Mateo County Line. This area has been rated as a severe
fire hazard severity zone due to most current CAL FIRE study. The area includes multiple
thriving watersheds that service the numerous communities within Santa Clara County. The
watersheds are managed by various water districts including the Santa Clara Valley Water
District and the San Jose Water Company. The unit also includes many stands of Coastal
Redwoods in the upper elevation drainages. These stands and other riparian habitats are
protected from development by open space districts and County parks. The Battalion also
contains a number of small rural communities that have little or no governmental services.

Stations:
Alma Fire Station, Alma Helitack Base, Stevens Creek Fire Station
1 Battalion Chief; 6 permanent and 3 seasonal Fire Captains; 2 Fire Pilots and 2 seasonal Fire
Apparatus Engineers; and 29 seasonal firefighters and 1 seasonal PRC4291 compliance
inspector. Assigned apparatus includes 1 ICS Type II helicopter and 2 ICS Type III fire engines.



Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire and Rescue – 17445 Old Summit Road, Los Gatos

                                                                                               26
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


This station serves in support of CAL FIRE to protect the forest, farms, homes and above all the
families along the Santa Cruz-Santa Clara County line in the Summit area south of Los Gatos.

Burrell Forest Fire Station - 25050 Highland Way, Los Gatos
The station doubles as a Santa Cruz County Fire Station and responds auto aid to both Santa
Clara County Fire District and the CAL FIRE Santa Clara Unit.

In the event of a large wildfire CAL FIRE has the capability of requesting Incident Command
Teams and a multitude of agency hand crews and fire engines. Thru the California Fire
Assistance Agreement and or local Assistance for Hire agreements additional fire engines and
government personnel can be requested.

Santa Clara County Fire Department

Established in 1947, the Santa Clara County Fire Department provides ISO Class 2/8 services
for Santa Clara County and the communities of Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills,
Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, and Saratoga, in California. The department also
provides protection for the unincorporated areas adjacent to those cities.

Wrapping in a 40 mile arc around the southern end of “Silicon Valley”, the Santa Clara County
Fire Department has grown to include 16 fire stations, an administrative headquarters, a
maintenance facility, five other support facilities, and more than 100 vehicles, to cover
approximately 100 square miles and a population of over 210,000. The department employs
over 265 fire prevention, suppression, investigation, administration, and maintenance personnel.
The department’s suppression force is also augmented by 40 volunteer firefighters.5

Stations:
Redwood station #4 – 21452 Madrone Drive, Redwood Estates
Los Gatos station #3 – 306 University Avenue, Los Gatos
Shannon station #6 – 16565 Shannon Road, Los Gatos
Quito station #8 – 18870 Saratoga/Los Gatos Road, Los Gatos

Fire Station Proximity in the Study Area

Distances to the nearest fire stations were calculated in ArcGIS and take into account the road
distance to a given area, rather than merely the “flight distance.” Figure 11 on the next page
shows the road distances from the communities to the nearest fire station. Several communities
are greater than five miles from a fire station. However, for the purposes of this report, this is not
an Insurance Services Office (ISO) issue, but one of defining response distance to potential fire
ignitions. The distance analysis calculates drivable distance, not drive time. However, the
distance is an important factor in rating community hazards. Response times will vary greatly
over the same distance due to road conditions, steepness, curvature of roads, and evacuation
traffic.

Most fire service leaders agree that response time is composed of a number of distinct
elements: call processing time (the time it takes for dispatchers to ascertain the location and
nature of the emergency and initiate the appropriate response); turnout or staffing time (the time


5
http://www.sccgov.org/portal/site/scc/chlevel3?path=%2Fv7%2FSCC%20Public%20Portal%2FHandling
%20Emergencies%2FGetting%20Immediate%20Help%2FLocal%20Fire%20Departments
                                                                                                   27
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


it takes for personnel to respond to the dispatch, board apparatus, and begin traveling to the
scene); and travel time (the actual time it takes to travel from the station to the scene).

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has established time objectives for volunteer
organization fire response. NFPA 1720 requires: Ten minutes or less for the arrival of the first
arriving engine company at a fire suppression incident. If a turnout time of two minutes is
observed and the average driving speed is 30 MPH, then the engine company will be able to
drive four miles in the ten minutes established by NFPA 1720. Therefore, communities with
mean distances greater than four miles from a fire station were given a weighted increase in
their hazard rating.


Figure 11. Lexington Hills Proximity Map




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Structural Ignitability

Community Descriptions

The purpose of this section is to examine in greater detail the communities in the study area. Of
the 17 WUI communities in the Lexington Hills study area, three were found to represent an
Extreme Hazard, five were Very High Hazard; seven were rated as High Hazard; and two as
Moderate Hazard. While adhering to a proven rating methodology, Anchor Point strives to
approach each community as a unique entity with its own unique characteristics, so that we can
provide the most accurate, and useful assessments possible. For easy reference, the map of
communities and areas of special interest presented at the beginning of the report has been
reproduced here as Figure 12.

Figure 12. Community Hazard Rating Map




                                                                                               29
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Community Assessment Methodology

The community level methodology for this assessment uses a Wildfire Hazard Rating (WHR)
that was developed specifically to evaluate communities within the Wildland Urban Interface
(WUI) for their relative wildfire hazard.6 The WHR model combines physical infrastructure such
as structure density and roads, and fire behavior components like fuels and topography, with the
field experience and knowledge of wildland fire experts. It has been proven and refined by use
in rating thousands of neighborhoods throughout the United States. Much of NFPA 1144 has
been integrated into this methodology to ensure compatibility with National standards.

Many knowledgeable and experienced fire management professionals were queried about
specific environmental and infrastructure factors, and wildfire behavior and hazards. Weightings
within the model were established through these queries. The model was designed to be
applicable throughout the western United States.

The model was developed from the perspective of performing structural triage on a threatened
community in the path of an advancing wildfire with moderate fire behavior. The WHR survey
and fuel model groundtruthing are accomplished by field surveyors with WUI fire experience.

The rating system assigns a hazard rating based on five categories: topographic position, fuels
and fire behavior, construction and infrastructure, suppression factors, and other factors,
including frequent lightning, railroads, campfires, etc.

It is important to note that every hazard rating does not necessarily occur in every geographic
region. There are some areas with no low hazard communities, just as there are some areas
with no extreme communities. The rankings are also related to what is customary for the area.
For example, a high hazard area on the plains of Kansas may not look like a high hazard area in
the Sierra Nevada. The system creates a relative ranking of community hazards in relation to
the other communities in the study area. It is designed to be used by experienced wildland
firefighters who have a familiarity with structural triage operations and fire behavior in the
interface.




6 C. White, “Community Wildfire Hazard Rating Form” Wildfire Hazard Mitigation and Response Plan, Colorado State Forest Service, Ft. Collins, CO, 1986.


                                                                                                                                                          30
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Aldercroft Heights




Hazard Rating: Extreme

Description

This community is comprised of densely packed homes on fairly small lots. Building construction
is generally wood with wood decks and moderately fire resistant roofs. Multiple outbuildings
exist in the area. The roads throughout the community are steep and extremely narrow with
parked vehicles on the sides, making for very limited access by fire apparatus. Further, there
are several dead-end roads that need to be marked as such. Aldercroft Heights is currently
single ingress/egress, but access to the road that connects Old Mine Road to Panorama Drive,
which is owned by the San Jose Water Company, would provide for a second route. All feeder
roads are dead ends.

Street signage is inconsistent throughout the community. Above-ground utility lines are
prevalent. This community has approximately 350,000 gallons of water stored for use. There are
hydrants located throughout the community that are gravity fed, therefore flow rate depends on
the topographical position of the hydrant.

The fuels in this community are comprised of mixed conifer, such as Douglas-fir and knobcone
pine, overstory with abundant understory vegetation. There is a large amount of leaf litter on the
forest floor, combined with dense understory vegetation. Under moderate weather conditions,
fire behavior within the community will be low. The threat to the community stems from the
chaparral hillsides above under extreme weather scenarios. Wind-driven (Diablo wind) fires will
push intense heat and smoke into the community. As a result, spotting and ember cast is
likely. The mixed conifer stands within the community would be preheated, and thus more
susceptible to torching and group torching.

                                                                                               31
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-An additional evacuation route is recommended for Aldercroft Heights (Figure 13). Aldercroft
Heights Road should be brushed out, limbed, and mowed inside and outside of the community
boundary. There are currently two locked gates in Aldercroft Heights at the south end of the
community, making the section of road extending from Aldercroft Heights to the intersection of
Aldercroft Heights and Wright Station Road unavailable. Locked gates are required per San
Jose Water Company's federally mandated Water System Security Vulnerability Assessment.
Emergency access has been granted to CAL FIRE and County Fire Department, and the San
Jose Water Company has operators on staff 24 hours per day, with instructions to provide
access via these gates during emergencies. Any changes in gate procedures need to be
relayed to the fire departments.

-Roadside brushing, mowing and trimming along the entire length of Aldercroft Heights Road.

-All dead-end roads need to be marked as such.

-Due to the narrow roads within the community, the feasibility of creating pull-offs should be
investigated. This would provide safer traveling during times of emergency, especially when fire
vehicles are involved.

-Consider a covenant to prohibit vehicles from being parked along the side of the roads during
times of high fire danger.

-Explore other ways of unlocking the gates quickly during an emergency, i.e. electronic
activation.

-Fire hydrants should be tested annually to ensure that they are working properly, including flow
capacity.

-An early warning and early evacuation system is recommended for this community. Because
evacuation routes are long and located on narrow, winding roads, with potential for high fire
exposure, it is imperative to allow as much time as possible for evacuation.

In addition to the recommendations mentioned above, the HOA has supplied the following
recommendations:

-The only fire road which connects the south end of Aldercroft Heights to the north end of the
community has a wooden bridge spanning a gulch. This bridge should be improved, enabling
residents to exit Aldercroft Heights if other areas become blocked.

-Clearing is necessary on the Adair/Old Mine property that borders homes along Old Mine Road
and the south end of Aldercroft Heights. This property was burned heavily in the 1985 fire, but
has had no attention in the years since. This is a major fire concern because the brush is at
least 10 feet high, very dense, and borders at least 10 homes. There was a small fire last spring
on this property.

-The bridge located at 20610 Aldercroft Heights Road should be improved. The last two small
fires came from the direction of this property but the fire department was unable to get
equipment across the bridge.

                                                                                                 32
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


-Earthquake-proof LPG tank switches are recommended to prevent fires after an earthquake,
should firefighters have difficulty reaching the community. A prime example of the need for the
switches is the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, when a house on Old Mine Road caught fire after
the earthquake, but Aldercroft Heights Road was blocked by a landslide.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Following the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is recommended as a first
step; however individuals should work with professionals to discuss the options available for his
or her property. Defensible space guidelines often focus on clearing canopies, but for
redwoods, the focus should be on clearing and reducing surface and ladder fuels, opposed to
cutting large trees. See page 14 of the main CWPP report for details.

Figure 13. Aldercroft Heights Fuels Reduction Projects




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Soda Springs




Hazard Rating: Extreme

Description

Most of the homes in this community are built along the canyon rim. Many of the decks
overhang ravines. The lots are large, and the home density is low. The construction materials
are in many cases combustible, and many homes have moderate or low fire resistant roofs. No
defensible space work has been done, and there is often vegetation growing right up to the
houses. The roads in Soda Springs are often steep and winding as they progress up the
canyon, and in many places side roads are not labeled. There is limited water supply in this
community. Storage tanks and wells are inadequate and/or intermittent.

Fuels in the western part of the community are primarily large shrubs and oak. There is also a
large concentration of chaparral just outside the community on the south side. The north-facing
aspect is primarily mixed conifer. As a result, under moderate weather conditions, expected fire
behavior in the mixed conifer would be low due to a cooler, moister environment on north-facing
slopes. The chaparral would burn more actively because of increased wind exposure and
overall drier conditions. Extreme weather would supply the conditions necessary for active
crown fire in the mixed conifer stands and preheating of fuels further upslope. Intense uphill
rates of spread and long flame lengths would be seen throughout the mixed conifer stands as
the fire transitions and continues to burn in the chaparral on the ridge tops and south facing
slopes.




                                                                                              34
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-A roadside fuels treatment is recommended for Soda Springs Road (Figure 14). Brushing out,
limbing, mowing, and thinning are important mitigation activities, because they reduce the
continuity of the fuels and allow for safer travel along this major evacuation route.

-Due to the size of the project that would be required to effectively mitigate wildfire, a landscape
thinning treatment would not be feasible economically nor operationally, and is therefore not
recommended here.

-Investigate using the vineyards as potential safety zones. The open nature of these areas may
provide an additional area for people to congregate in case of a wildfire.

-Maintain pullouts and clearance. Make sure no vehicles, trailers, equipment, etc. are left on the
side of the road.

-An early warning and early evacuation system is recommended for this community. Because
evacuation routes are long and located on narrow, winding roads, with potential for high fire
exposure, it is imperative to allow as much time as possible for evacuation.

-Reflective 4-inch road signage is recommended for all the roads in the community.

-Due to the nature of the topography, defensible space is the key to home survival and is
therefore strongly recommended. Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this
community. All materials should be cleared out from under decks, since they overhang ravines.
Embers can easily being burning in debris under decks and quickly spread to the house.
Please follow the guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page
14 of the main CWPP report for details.




                                                                                                  35
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 14. Soda Springs Roadside Thinning




                                            36
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Upper Montevina




Hazard Rating: Extreme

Description

This community is located at the top of the hill, above Lower Montevina. The topography of the
community is distinct because of the extremely steep slopes, chimneys, and homes located in
saddles and ridge tops. The homes are widely spaced and many have tile roofs and stucco
siding. Defensible space has been created around some of the houses, but many still require it.
Homes that have sprinkler systems need to be labeled as such. The electric lines are located
above ground, as are the high-tension power poles and transmission line located in the
community. There are access roads to this power line and there has been extensive cutting
done along this line. While the signage for the roads is good, not all are reflective. Roads within
the community are approximately 20 feet wide and good turnarounds are provided. There are
multiple routes in and out of the community. The vegetation along the road is dense, but is
necessary to prevent erosion. Individual houses have cisterns for water supply with fire
department connections that need to be maintained.

This community sits on the top of a slope, with a primarily south aspect. Much of the vegetation
in the community is tall chaparral and has a significant grass and oak component. There are
also mixed conifer stands. The hazard rating for this community is extreme due to the
continuous fuels, high surface loading, and steep drainages on either side. There are several
topographic features, including steep slopes and chimneys, which are known to cause extreme
fire behavior. The cutting project for the access road to the transmission line acts as a limited
fuel break. With moderate weather conditions, fire is likely to move uphill from either the north or
south slopes. Intense heat and long flame lengths will easily preheat the fuels uphill, allowing for
accelerated rates of spread. This situation will be further exaggerated under extreme weather
conditions. There is a high probability that access to the main evacuation route will be cut off in
both moderate and extreme weather scenarios. Ember-cast and spotting is likely.
                                                                                                 37
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-Drainages that funnel to roads are extremely dangerous. There is greater fuel loading in these
drainages, which could lead to higher flame lengths and increased rates of spread. Therefore,
drainages should be cleared for at least 100 feet downhill (Figure 15). This should be done in a
manner that prevents soil erosion, especially on steep slopes.

-Continue to maintain and improve the current power line road.

-Evacuation is possible to the north via El Sereno Trail and Bohlman Road; however these
roads are positioned above potentially dangerous topographic features that may produce
extreme fire behavior along the evacuation routes.

-An early warning and early evacuation system is recommended for this community. Because
evacuation routes are long and located on narrow, winding roads, with potential for extreme fire
behavior, it is imperative to allow as much time as possible for evacuation.

-A post-fire erosion control plan should be created.

-All homes with sprinkler systems and fire alarms should have appropriate signage denoting the
presence of the sprinkler system, visible from the outside of the house.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 of the main
CWPP report for details.




                                                                                              38
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 15. Upper Montevina Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                      39
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Chemeketa Park




Hazard Rating: Very High

Description

This community contains a dense network of homes with no defensible space between them.
Lot sizes are less than one acre, with 20-30 feet between houses. The close proximity of homes
makes it a challenge to create defensible space for individual homes. See recommendations
below for dealing with this issue. Construction is varied but typically with moderately fire
resistant roofing. Home to home ignition is a big risk factor. The roads are paved, but narrow
(approximately 10 to 12 feet wide) with no turnarounds. There are three exit routes out the Park.
The wooden street signs were replaced with reflective metal signs this year (2009), which
greatly increased visibility. All utilities are located above ground. Water supply consists of a
community water system with hydrants, as well as three steel tanks at the upper end of Ogallala
Warpath containing 160,000 gallons, with hydrant access, plus a 5,000 gallon redwood tank and
an additional 150 gallon tank. Some plastic pipe runs above ground. A small community park
(the playground) could potentially be used as a staging area if a fuel break is created.

The elevation in this community varies greatly. Structures are located l along the hillside at
varying elevations. The fuels in this community are primarily redwood forest mixed with firs,
oaks, bays, and maples. Tanoaks and other oaks, which are interspersed through all stands,
are dying out due to SOD. The mixed redwood stands are typically very wet, especially in the
low-lying valley along the east side of the community. Surface fuel loading is high: there are
large amounts of leaf litter and dense understory vegetation, thus increasing the chance of a
                                                                                              40
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


surface fire. The damp nature of most areas reduces the chance of active fire behavior under
moderate and extreme weather conditions. However, if fire were to start further up the hill, the
hardwood vegetation type could experience some increased fire behavior, including torching,
long flame lengths, and higher rates of spread. Chemeketa Park’s northern boundary is shared
with San Jose Water Company, whose downhill lands are heavily forested with redwoods, oaks,
bay, maple and fir and covered with dense understory vegetation, creating a fire risk for
Chemeketa Park.

Recommendations

-A fuel break around the playground is recommended (Figure 16). Removing intermediate level
fuels and dead standing trees, as well as clearing out ground cover, could make the park a good
staging area for community members or fire apparatus.

-Widening the gate to the playground will allow fire apparatus to access the area.

-Due to the dense nature of the homes, linked defensible space around multiple “pods” of
homes should be implemented. Linking defensible space can act as a partial landscape-level
fuel treatment.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Following the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is recommended as a first
step; however individuals should work with professionals to discuss the options available for his
or her property. Defensible space guidelines often focus on clearing canopies, but for
redwoods, the focus should be on clearing and reducing surface and ladder fuels, opposed to
cutting large trees. See page 14 of the main CWPP report for details.




                                                                                               41
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 16. Chemeketa Park Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                     42
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Lower Montevina




Hazard Rating: Very High

Description

This community is located on a fairly steep slope with a south-facing aspect. The homes are of
older construction with little spacing between them. The vegetation is fairly dense, with
scattered clearings. The siding and deck materials are combustible, but the roofs are highly
resistant to ignition, and therefore resistant to ember cast or debris that may land on the roofs.
There are, however, a few cedar shake roofs in this community. Partial defensible space has
been implemented for some of the homes in the community. The presence of overhead utility
lines should be noted. The streets are well marked and fairly wide, but there are no turnarounds
at dead ends and cul-de-sacs. There is only one ingress/egress route. There is no water supply
for the community, but it is in close proximity to the reservoir, which can be used for fire
operations.

The fuels surrounding this community range from hardwoods to open pine to tall chaparral. The
south-facing slope is primarily hardwoods such as oak and redwoods. However, the fuel type
transitions into tall chaparral with a grass understory component as you move up the hill. Like
many places in the study area, fire starting below the community is the biggest concern. A fire in
either the mixed conifer or hardwood would likely be a surface fire with patches of active
behavior and fairly low rates of spread. However, active fire behavior is possible in this
vegetation type under extreme weather conditions, especially where there is high surface
loading. The chaparral will have long flame lengths under either moderate or extreme weather
scenarios. The nature of these fuels is to burn quickly and intensely. Fire starting below these
fuels would only serve to increase their likelihood for active fire behavior.



                                                                                                43
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-Clearing Montevina Road between Upper and Lower Montevina is recommended, since this is
the primary ingress/egress route (Figure 17). Horizontal and vertical clearance is important in
controlling fuel continuity. Drainages that funnel to the road should be cleared 100 feet downhill.

-Remove debris and flammable materials from yards and from under decks.

-There are hills covered in thick brush throughout the community. Treat and remove the brush
on the hillsides. The hill to the south of Vista Grande Way is an example of such an area.

-The reservoir below the community is dry, and as a result, noxious weeds have grown in the
area. These make for a light flashy fuel load. Until the water is put back into the reservoir, the
area should be maintained by weed whacking and/or mowing.


-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Following the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is recommended as a first
step; however individuals should work with professionals to discuss the options available for his
or her property. Defensible space guidelines often focus on clearing canopies, but for
redwoods, the focus should be on clearing and reducing surface and ladder fuels, opposed to
cutting large trees. See page 14 of the main CWPP report for details.




                                                                                                     44
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 17. Lower Montevina Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                      45
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Redwood Estates




Hazard Rating: Very High

Description

Redwood Estates is a community of older homes, many of which have been remodeled to have
non-combustible siding and moderately fire resistant roofs. The homes are fairly close together
and no defensible space has been implemented for the homes in the community. Many homes
have open vents, and residents are in many cases using open spaces underneath structures to
store belongings. There is a lot of wood storage and other debris around the homes. Another
risk factor that merits attention in this community is wood stove usage inside structures.
Generally there is little addressing and lack of dead end road signage. The roads are steep and
narrow, and lack adequate turnarounds. Nonetheless, there are multiple ingress/egress routes.
The community runs on a municipal water system, and there are some hydrants within the
community.

The fuels in Redwood Estates include, as the name implies, a fair amount of redwoods, as well
as a variety of oak species, Douglas-fir and a small component of eucalyptus trees. Tall
chaparral vegetation is found in patches, especially at the higher elevations. There are a lot of
continuous surface fuels in the area with moderate surface loading. The lower areas of the
community are typically moist, so fire spread is generally limited. However, given the right
combination of weather conditions, surface fire can be expected to burn uphill. High winds
                                                                                               46
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


experienced during extreme conditions can cause rapid spread rates and spotting due to leaf
litter accumulation. Areas with increased fuel loading from dead and down materials may
experience crowning under the right conditions. The patches of chaparral are likely to burn
under moderate or extreme conditions, and in the process produce intense heat, active fire
behavior, and long flame lengths.

Recommendations

-All dead-end roads need to be marked as such.

-There are a lot of open areas under the homes. Debris and flammable materials need to be
removed from the under the houses.

-Home addressing can be improved by adding reflective, non-flammable markers.

-Many of the homes have wood-burning fireplaces, but do not have screens in the chimneys.
Fireplace maintenance should occur regularly, and screens should be added to any chimneys
that do not have them currently.

-Some of the construction in the area is not up to code. Any further construction should meet
NWUI codes.

-The annual community brush chipping project is an excellent opportunity to remove brush and
should be continued.

-The roadside brush clearing project that has been going on for the last three years should be
continued.

-Fire safety and brush abatement education for the homeowners should be continued at the
Annual Members Meeting.

-The monthly mailings before and during peak fire season should be continued. These mailings
are an excellent way to educate homeowners about vegetation/leaf build-up on their roofs and
gutters, and about the importance of Firewise practices.

-It is recommended that the Green Waste Disposal Company maintain their weekly curbside
pickup for yard waste. This is a valuable program because it allows Firewise practices to be
maintained more easily.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Following the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is recommended as a first
step; however individuals should work with professionals to discuss the options available for his
or her property. Defensible space guidelines often focus on clearing canopies, but for
redwoods, the focus should be on clearing and reducing surface and ladder fuels, opposed to
cutting large trees. See page 14 of the main CWPP report for details.




                                                                                                 47
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Summit Road




Hazard Rating: Very High

Description

This residential community is made up mostly of homes on larger lots, but also contains Loma
Prieta School, and a small events center, Maison de Luc. Maison de Luc is used for large
gatherings, and can hold up to 500 people. Wood construction, moderately fire resistant roofs
and poor signage are prevalent in the community. The roads are very narrow and there is only
one ingress/egress route. There are multiple spurs that have neither signage indicating that they
are dead ends, nor the number of homes at the end. The available turnarounds are tight on
older homes but the newer homes provide a 50' diameter turnaround for emergency vehicles.
Most homes in this community have at least a 5,000 gallon storage tank and some have 10,000
gallons or more.

The fuels in this community are primarily redwood forest. Some old fire scars can be seen, and
there was a major fire that occurred in 1985. There is also a Douglas fir component. Surface fire
is the biggest concern, with a few areas of active crown fire under extreme conditions. Long
flame lengths are expected under extreme conditions, as are elevated rates of spread.



                                                                                              48
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-The Morrill Road thinning project was recently completed. This 5.5-acre project protects
approximately 200 homes in the area. Maintaining this project is beneficial for this community
and those around it by preventing fire from limiting evacuation access on Summit Road. The
community should continue to take an active approach to fuels reduction projects.

-Consider extending the Morrill Road shaded fuel break to Summit Road on both ends.

-With a few improvements, the Loma Prieta School could potentially be used as an evacuation
center for those in the area. In this case, more focused defensible space, including installation
of screens on eaves and construction improvement, is necessary.

-Contact the tree farm that surrounds the school to examine the possibility of using their
irrigation water during a fire event.

-The Montevina pipeline that is now owned by SJWC runs down Summit Road almost to Morrill
Road. During a wildfire, this could provide a much needed supply water. Hydrants to this
pipeline exist and the Santa Cruz side of Summit Road in the neighborhood of Villa De Monte
which runs their water system off of the pipeline. Coordinate with SJWC to develop access.

-There are multiple dead ends which need to be labeled as such. These road signs should also
indicate the number of homes on the dead-end road.


-The Aldercroft/Wright Station evacuation road improvement (Figure 20) will benefit this
community as well.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Following the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is recommended as a first
step; however individuals should work with professionals to discuss the options available for his
or her property. Defensible space guidelines often focus on clearing canopies, but for
redwoods, the focus should be on clearing and reducing surface and ladder fuels, opposed to
cutting large trees. See page 14 of the main CWPP report for details.




                                                                                                 49
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Upper Loma Prieta




Hazard Rating: Very High

Description

This community sits above Loma Prieta - Lower. Average lot size is about five acres. There are
extremely steep slopes, chimneys and houses that sit in saddles. The houses have roofs that
are highly resistant to fire with combustible siding. Home addressing should be improved.
Defensible space has been completed for some of the houses in the community. The roads are
narrow and unpaved, but they are well maintained. There are no adequate turnaround areas on
the road. There are multiple ingress/egress routes, but they are all accessed via a single mid-
slope access road that goes through chaparral; this is also true for the second egress to Mt.
Bache Road. A water supply is available through individual home cisterns.

The fuels in the community are primarily brush and chaparral, which provide continuous but light
surface fuel loading. Shrubs are fairly short and almost totally cover the area. Because of the
light surface loading, surface fires would typically not be very intense under moderate weather
scenarios. There are large areas of mixed conifer with high surface fuel loading below the
community, which are likely to preheat the brush, and thus lead to increased uphill rates of
spread and longer flame lengths. Drainages will act as funnels for fire, creating areas where
active fire behavior, fast uphill runs, and long flame lengths are likely. Once the fire reaches the
                                                                                                 50
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


ridge, it will be much more exposed to the wind, which will cause the fire to spread rapidly when
conditions are extreme.

Recommendations

-A potential evacuation exists from Loma Prieta Way to Loma Prieta Road (Figure 18). The
road should be treated along the entire route, including limbing, thinning, and brushing out
where necessary.

-Roadside treatment along Loma Prieta Avenue is recommended. Extend the treatments where
brush exists.

-Maintain an emergency water supply.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 of the main
CWPP report for details.

Figure 18. Upper Loma Prieta Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                                                               51
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Skyline/Black Road




Hazard Rating: High

Description

This community has many older homes and large vineyards. Parcels tend to be large. The
retreat center located within Skyline/Black Road is listed as an Area of Special Interest (ASI) in
this report. (See the ASI section for details.) In the event of a fire, the retreat center and the
vineyards have open areas that would be appropriate for use as staging areas, incident
command posts, or to fulfill other needs. These large areas also help provide fuel breaks for
other structures in the community. Construction is a mixture of combustible and non-
combustible materials with high fire resistant roofing. The area encompassing Skyline Road is
very narrow and decreases to a one-lane road at the top, making for difficult ingress/egress.
Travel speeds on these roads are slow, creating long access times for suppression vehicles.
The high level of recreational use in this community further complicates the road situation.
There is no municipal water supply or cisterns, but there are two ponds located in the
community that may be a potential water supply in case of a wildland fire.

The topography within this community is complex, featuring steep terrain and a variety of
vegetation types. While the community is primarily at the top of a large hill, the fuels below are
highly influential on the fire behavior within the community. Much of the vegetation along the
lower elevations are redwoods, oak, and mixed conifers. Fuel continuity is high and has a
moderate level of surface fuel loading, which allows for surface fire spread. While surface fire is
expected under moderate weather conditions, some torching may be seen in conjunction with
longer flame lengths. Vegetation in the northern part of the community is also mixed conifer, but
it has a higher component of dead and down material. As a result, under extreme conditions,
active crown fire and faster rates of spread are likely. This is especially true if fire from below
were to preheat and dry out these fuels.
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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-Roadside thinning should be performed from the intersection of Briggs and Black Road and
continue on Black Road to Skyline Boulevard (Figure 19). The project should also focus on
breaking up horizontal and vertical fuel continuity.

-This is also an area that is very affected by sudden oak death (SOD). Removing the dead and
dying trees around homes and roadways is also beneficial.

-Skyline Boulevard has been identified as a main road for evacuation in the case of a wildfire.
Therefore, brush should be removed, trees should be limbed and trimmed, and mowing should
be performed in grassy areas.

-Roadside treatments within the community should be carried out along Black Road (Fig. 17).
Vertical and horizontal fuel continuity should be broken up to hinder the spread of fire. Create
pullouts along this road where possible.

-A fire awareness sign should be placed at the bottom of Bear Road and Black Road.

-The Alma College Road/Bear Creek Road fuel break (Figure 21) within the Bear Creek
community will also benefit this community.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 for details.




                                                                                                   53
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Figure 19. Skyline/Black Road Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                         54
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Lake Canyon




Hazard Rating: High

Description

The Lake Canyon community is located in the base of the canyon and is surrounded by very
steep slopes. The creek bottom is very wet, and as a result there is a lower fire risk in the area.
Nonetheless, embers from a fire above could lead to home ignition. Further, the lack of
defensible space and close spacing between homes increases the risk of home ignition. The
community is characterized by mixed construction with roofs primarily low to fire ignition. There
is a fair amount of debris and litter surrounding the houses and collected on the roofs, which can
easily be removed. The roads are very narrow, and often not labeled. Currently there is only one
ingress/egress route in Lake Canyon. There are multiple narrow bridges that are not marked
with weight limits. There is no hydrant supply in the community.

The primary overstory fuels in the area are redwoods, maple and Douglas-fir. Because of the
moist environment, these trees are not at a high risk for ignition. The north-facing aspect of the
canyon is mostly hardwoods but also includes short needle conifers, Douglas-fir, and Western
larch. The steeper, south-facing slope also has these same fuel types, but with a larger
component of dead and down fuels, resulting in potentially more intense burning. Slow
spreading surface fires are most likely under moderate weather conditions, but some torching
and spotting are possible, especially if weather conditions were to become extreme. Extreme
weather conditions would also lead to longer flame lengths and increased rates of spread,
especially for fire running uphill.




                                                                                                 55
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-Because of the potential for home to home ignition in this community, defensible space is the
number one recommendation. Following the guidelines established by the Santa Clara County
FireSafe Council is recommended as a first step; however individuals should work with
professionals to discuss the options available for his or her property. Defensible space
guidelines often focus on clearing canopies, but for redwoods, the focus should be on clearing
and reducing surface and ladder fuels, opposed to cutting large trees. See page 14 of the main
CWPP report for details.

-Vegetation and needle buildup on roofs is one of the most common catalysts for home ignition,
so roofs should be cleared regularly. Embers lofting into the community can land on a roof and
smolder in the debris until the house eventually catches fire.

-Adequate road clearance and access is needed in this community. Abandoned vehicles,
equipment, and other debris should be removed immediately to allow for egress if necessary.

-Explore the possibility of using water from water treatment facility.




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Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Hebard




Hazard Rating: High

Description

The homes in the Hebard community are fairly close together due to smaller lot sizes. Group
addressing on mailboxes is standard. Topography is quite steep. The home siding and decking
materials are combustible and generally have moderately ignition resistant roofs. All of the
homes need defensible space. Wood burning in homes, common in this community, increases
the risk of ignitions. The roads are paved but are also steep and exceedingly narrow. Some of
the utilities are above ground, which also make access for fire apparatus difficult. Each house
has an individual cistern for water supply, but these need reflective signage.

There are many different fuel types within this community. Much of the area is either mixed
conifer or hardwoods, but there are also patchy areas of tall chaparral. The lowest lying areas
are primarily mixed conifer, while hardwoods and brush prevail near tops of slopes. The majority
of the structures are either located on the top of the hill or mid-slope on the east-facing
aspect. Fire starting below the community is the biggest concern. Given moderate conditions,
flame lengths longer than 12 feet can be expected within areas of the mixed conifer stand.
Preheating of uphill fuels could lead to moderate rates of spread. Under extreme conditions,
longer flame lengths and more active fire behavior is likely, especially in areas further up slope.




                                                                                                57
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-Remove vegetation along roads, focusing on vertical and horizontal clearance.

-Flagged addressing, rather than the grouped addressing currently used, is recommended along
the roads.

-Reflective signage is recommended for all hydrants and draft hydrants in the community.

-Fire hydrants should be tested annually for flow capacity and proper general functioning.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 of the main
CWPP report for details.




                                                                                             58
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Upper Redwood Estates




Hazard Rating: High

Description

This community sits above Redwood Estates. The homes in this area are newer construction
with highly fire resistant roofs, but with combustible siding. There has been some defensible
space done within the community. The roads are fairly wide (20-24 feet) and well marked, but
they lack adequate turnarounds. There is a municipal water supply, comprised of hydrants
located throughout the community. These hydrants need to be consistently well marked.

Fuels in Upper Redwood Estates have a large oak component, with some mixed conifers like
Douglas-fir and short needle pines. The surface fuels are continuous, with moderate surface
loading. However, a number of roads running throughout the community do break up some of
the fuel continuity. The majority of the homes sit on the top of the ridge, and there are multiple
slopes that may facilitate fire to spread into the community. Moderate weather is likely to
produce surface fires. Rates of spread depend on the surface vegetation; for example, in the
mixed conifer stands, fire is likely to travel more quickly than it is in hardwood stands. Longer
flame lengths, increased rates of spread, and more active fire behavior are predicted on steeper
slopes and under more extreme weather conditions, especially if fire below is preheating the
vegetation further uphill.
                                                                                                59
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-The annual community brush chipping project is an excellent opportunity to remove brush and
should be continued.

-A roadside brush clearing project has been going on for the last three years and should be
continued to be supported.

-Continue to educate homeowners regarding fire safety and brush abatement during the Annual
Members Meeting.

-Continue monthly mailings before and during peak fire season. These mailings are an excellent
way to educate homeowners about vegetation/leaf build-up on their roofs, gutters, and the
importance of Firewise practices.

-Green Waste Disposal Company should maintain their weekly curb-side pickup for yard waste.
This is a valuable program because it allows Firewise practices to be completed easily.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 of the main
CWPP report for details.




                                                                                              60
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Call of the Wild




Hazard Rating: High

Description

This community is a mixture of construction types. Dominant roof type is moderately resistant to
ignition, and siding is a mix of combustible and non-combustible. Little defensible space has
been implemented in this community. The roads are steep and have copious amounts of
vegetation along the sides where clearing needs to be maintained. Some areas have adequate
turnarounds for fire vehicles, while others are inadequate. Street labeling is inconsistent. There
is only one ingress/egress route. Water supply is available from individual home cisterns
equipped with fire department connections. In some cases, physical barriers and lack of
maintenance make access to these cisterns difficult.

The vegetation in the community is largely hardwood forests, consisting of redwoods and oaks,
especially along the ridge tops and higher areas. The hill slopes are more dominated by mixed
conifer stands, which include Douglas-fir that extend into the valleys below the community. The
threat of fire in this community stems from the fuels below. If fire were to start in the mixed
conifer stands below, under moderate weather, a surface fire would be most likely. Fire would
run up hill and build in intensity as it moves. Flame lengths could get to the point where fire
would extend into the trees, causing individual torching and more active fire behavior. Under an
                                                                                                61
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


extreme weather scenario, more rapid rates of spread and intense, active fire behavior can be
expected, especially along the ridge on the south side that has small patches of chaparral and
other brush.

Recommendations

-Fuels reduction work should focus on reducing surface fuels in the understory. These areas
should be cleared of dead material and potential ladder fuels.

-Investigate roadside thinning to increase vertical and horizontal clearance.

-A secondary egress for this community is recommended (Figure 20). Mineral Springs Way is a
dirt road that with some clearing and maintenance could be an effective evacuation route. The
road will be useful for those in the Call of the Wild community, as well as others living in
Aldercroft Heights. Preventing fires in this area will serve to reduce the amount of
sedimentation in the lakes and waterways, thus improving water quality.

Call of the Wild Estates
This enclave of five homes is different enough from the rest of the community to be called out as
a sub-community. The rating for this area is moderate due to several factors: ignition-resistant
construction with high ignition resistant roofing materials and interior sprinklers; larger lots on a
flat knoll; a large turnaround on Gillette Drive; and roads are of adequate width. Further, utilities
are underground and there are dedicated water storage tanks for fire. The vegetation is
primarily Redwood forest that would not pose a great threat from fire. However, the understory
could support a fire and the steep slopes below would likely increase the rate of spread towards
the homes.




                                                                                                  62
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-Linked defensible spaces that concentrate on the downhill side to the north and east would
help protect the homes in this neighborhood.

-Understory vegetation treatments are recommended down the slopes to the north and east.

-Water tanks in the community should be tested annually to ensure they are working properly.

-The drinking water tank should be fitted with the proper connections to make it available for use
by firefighters.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 of the main
CWPP report for details.

Figure 20. Call of the Wild Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                                                               63
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Mountain Charlie/Melody Lane




Hazard Rating: High

Description

This community is a mixture of construction types, including both combustible and non-
combustible materials, with roofs primarily moderately resistant to fire. There is little defensible
space for individual homes. The roads are fairly wide but very steep and have large amounts of
vegetation along the sides that requires clearing. Some areas have adequate turnarounds for
fire vehicles, while others are inadequate. There is inconsistent labeling of streets in the area.
There are multiple ingress/egress routes. Water supply is available from individual home
cisterns outfitted with fire department connections. However, these cisterns are not always
accessible, either due to lack of maintenance or physical barriers, such as fences.

The vegetation in the area is an overstory of redwoods, with continuous understory vegetation.
Surface fuel loading is moderate, but there is a high level of slash loading from cutting projects
and downed fuels. Douglas-fir, oak, and other short needle pines are the dominant vegetation
type. Small patches of chaparral within and directly surrounding the community are also
present. Surface fire spread is expected, carried by the surface fuels. Individual torching and
some long flame lengths are possible with moderate weather. Some of the area around the
structures has been cleared, and is therefore unlikely to burn, but trees directly impinging upon
the homes could potentially pose a threat. Increased flame lengths and faster rates of spread
will occur with more extreme conditions.
                                                                                                  64
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-Roadside thinning is recommended in this community (Figure 21). This work should aim to
break up the horizontal and vertical continuity of the fuels. The fuels reductions should be
focused on the main roads within the community, especially Mountain Charlie Road.

-The Aldercroft/Wright Station roadside thinning (Figure 20) will benefit this community as well.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Following the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is recommended as a first
step; however individuals should work with professionals to discuss the options available for his
or her property. Defensible space guidelines often focus on clearing canopies, but for
redwoods, the focus should be on clearing and reducing surface and ladder fuels, opposed to
cutting large trees. See page 14 of the main CWPP report for details.

Figure 21. Mountain Charlie/Melody Lane Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                                                               65
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Lower Loma Prieta




Hazard Rating: High

Description

This community is characterized by larger lots and homes with mixed construction. There is a lot
of agriculture in the area, including some fruit tree farms and vineyards. Some defensible space
has already been implemented in the community. The roads are steep, and they do not provide
adequate turnarounds. Above-ground utility lines are also present. Water is available through
individual home cisterns.

The majority of the structures in this community sit on top of the hill where the fuels are primarily
grass and other light, flashy fuels. However, on the south-facing slope below the structures, the
vegetation consists of mixed conifers with higher levels of dead and down fuels. The fuels below
on the north-facing slope are shrubs, grasses or forbs. Fire behavior in the mixed conifer stands
is likely to have increased intensity due to the higher quantities of surface loading, but rates of
spread will be fairly low. Some crowning, spotting and torching are likely. Less intensity is
common with the brush on the north-facing slope, but given extreme weather, high uphill rates
of spread and long flame lengths can be expected. The large open areas surrounding the
structures are unlikely to burn.


                                                                                                  66
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-A landscape scale fuel break is recommended on the south side of the community, extending
from the intersection of Morrill Road and Summit Road, continuing along Summit Road to the
east (Figure 22). Special attention should be given to the downhill side of the road because of
the risk of fire from below.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 of the main
CWPP report for details.

Figure 22. Lower Loma Prieta Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                                                              67
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Bear Creek




Hazard Rating: Moderate

Description

The Bear Creek community is comprised mostly of large lots, but has some higher density
residences. The large lots are on relatively open vineyards or agricultural areas that are
scattered throughout the community. Many of the more dense areas and apartment buildings
are located near the highway. Defensible space has not been completed for all of the homes.
The construction is a combination of combustible and non-combustible materials, but the roofs
are primarily highly resistant to ignition. The roads are well maintained and provide multiple
ingress/egress routes. Not all of the roads are marked with 4-inch reflective signage.

Of the natural vegetation in the community, various oak species and other hardwoods
predominate. The large open areas do not provide significant fuels for fire in the area. There are
some steeper areas with drainages that have higher fuel loading. Fire behavior within this
community is not very extreme. While fire could travel quickly through the forested areas as a
surface or crown fire, the large, open areas, highway, and reservoir greatly diminish the impact
fire would have on the community.




                                                                                               68
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-A fuel break along Bear Creek Road from Highway 17 to the northern Preserve Boundary
would be recommended. Brushing along Highway 17 would also provide an added measure of
safety for homes north of the Preserve, as well as the Preserve itself (Figure 23).

-Carry out defensible space for homes not in the large agricultural areas, following the Santa
Clara County FireSafe Council recommendations. This will provide for an appropriate level of
protection for infrastructure, while limiting landscape level impacts within the Preserve. See
page 14 of the main CWPP report for details.

Figure 23. Bear Creek Fuels Reduction Projects




                                                                                                 69
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Idylwild




Hazard Rating: Moderate

Description

This community is located at the top of a hill, which has fairly steep slopes around it. Houses in
this community tend to be newer construction, and typically have highly ignition resistant roofs
and mixed siding. Defensible space has been partially completed by individual homeowners, but
is not consistent throughout the entire community. In general, home addresses are well labeled
but not reflective. The roads are over 20 feet wide, allowing for fire apparatus to access the
community. There is a mixture of adequate and inadequate turnarounds throughout the area.
This community is located on the east side of Santa Cruz Highway (HW 17), and allows for
multiple routes for ingress/egress. The presence of overhead utility lines should be noted. Water
is available from individual home cisterns.

The fuels in the community are varied. Drainages and hilltops are a combination of closed
canopy hardwoods and short needle conifers. The north end of the community has a higher
component of chaparral along the top of the ridge. Fire from below is of greatest concern to the
community. While slow-burning ground fires with low flame lengths are typical with moderate
conditions, heavy fuel concentrations may allow fire to flare up and spread more readily through
the mixed conifer stands. Extreme weather conditions that produce high winds are likely to
cause increased rates of spread, spotting, and overall increased fire behavior. Fire behavior in
the chaparral is expected to be of high intensity and exhibit long flame lengths.
                                                                                               70
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Recommendations

-Although the roads are well maintained within the community, they need to have 4-inch
reflective signage.

-Mark evacuation routes so residents know the appropriate way to leave the area if necessary.

-Maintain general roadside clearing throughout the community. This is already being done for
some roads and should be continued and expanded.

- Fire hydrants should be tested annually to ensure they are working properly and for their flow
capacity.

-Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow the
guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 of the main
CWPP report for details.




                                                                                               71
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


Areas of Special Interest

Loma Prieta Road

The area along Loma Prieta Road is designated an area of special interest and not a community
because of the low housing density. However, because of the risk and the scattered homes, it’s
an area that should still be addressed, and is given a very high hazard and risk rating. Because
of the low population density, a large fuelbreak is not economically feasible. To mitigate the fire
risk for those in the area, the following recommendations are suggested:
         -Maintain Twin Creek’s Spur Firebreak.
         -Continue with CAL FIRE’s planned fuelbreak, PL566. This fuelbreak will offer additional
         protection by decreasing the risk of fire coming from the east.

Lupin Lodge

The Lupin Lodge is an area of special interest due to its size and capacity to house so many
guests. The Lodge is a 110 acre private club that has a year-round population. The Lodge
offers a variety of activities for its guests, and as a result has many small cabins and yurts in
addition to the main lodge. Recommendations for the area of special interest include:
        -Defensible space for all the outbuildings.
        -Ensure a safe evacuation route for all guests and staff.
        -Further investigate the area as a safety zone or an area where people can shelter in
         place.
        - Provide brochures on fire safety for guests, especially during times of high fire danger.

Presentation Center

The Presentation Center is a 67-acre retreat center located along Bear Creek Road. There is a
main lodge which can hold 77 people and several small cabins, increasing the guest capacity to
137. The presentation center is used year-round for conferences, meetings, retreats, and other
business services. The main building has recently been remodeled and is adobe construction.
Overall, the recommendations include:
       -Defensible space for the main building and outbuildings.
       -Ensure a safe evacuation route for all guests and staff.
       - Provide brochures on fire safety for guests, especially during times of high fire danger.

Mount Bache

Mount Bache is outside of the current study area. Mount Bache Road connects with Upper
Loma Prieta Avenue and includes approximately 80 homes in Santa Cruz County. Average lot
size is about two acres. There are extremely steep slopes, chimneys and houses that sit in
saddles. The houses have roofs that are highly resistant to fire with combustible siding. Home
addressing should be improved. Defensible space has been completed for some of the houses
in the community. The road is narrow, paved, but single lane in some sections. There are no
adequate turnaround areas on the road. There are multiple ingress/egress routes, but they are
all accessed via a single midslope access road that runs through chaparral; this is also true for


                                                                                                 72
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


the second egress to Loma Prieta Avenue. A water supply is available through individual home
cisterns.

This area has not experienced a fire for many years, and as a result the fuels have become
dense. The vegetation in the community is primarily brush and chaparral mixed with pockets of
dense knobcone pines. The chaparral is quite mature in some areas, growing up against the
sides of homes and under decks. Because of the high surface loading, surface fire would
produce long flame lengths and could spread quickly. There are large areas of mixed conifer
with high surface fuel loading throughout the community, which are likely to preheat the brush,
and thus lead to increased uphill rates of spread and longer flame lengths. Drainages will act as
funnels for fire, creating areas where active fire behavior, fast uphill runs, and long flame lengths
are likely. Once the fire reaches the ridge, it will be much more exposed to the wind, which will
cause the fire to spread rapidly when conditions are extreme.

Recommendations for this area include:
     -Become involved with the group developing a CWPP for Santa Cruz County
     -Look for potential evacuation routes and develop a plan for early evacuation in the case
      of an extreme fire event.
     -Roadside treatment along Mount Bache Rd is recommended. Extend the treatments
      where heavy brush exists.
     -Maintain an emergency water supply.
     -Defensible space should be implemented for all homes in this community. Please follow
      the guidelines established by the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council. See page 14 of
      the main CWPP for details.




                                                                                                  73
Lexington Hills CWPP – June 2009


CONCLUSION

The Lexington Hills Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a comprehensive,
scientifically based analysis of wildfire related hazards and risks in the Wildland-Urban Interface
(WUI) areas of Lexington Hills, CA. This document follows the standards for CWPPs that have
been established by the Healthy Forest Restoration Act, which was established in 2003.

The results of the analysis were used to determine a variety of fuel reduction projects
throughout the study area. While these are recommendations made by Anchor Point Group,
LLC., the stakeholders can also use these results to guide in decision making for additional fuel
reduction projects. Recommendations focus on reducing the threat of wildfire to values within
the study area. Additional recommendations are presented throughout the document, and
include public education, home and street addressing, as well as water source availability.

Local agreements and existing plans were examined, in order to create a coordinated fire
management effort between all parties involved. Public land management, private landowners
and resident concerns and comments were used to generate this document. The Lexington
Hills Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a multi-year guiding document that will
facilitate the implementation of future mitigation efforts. The CWPP is a living document,
meaning it changes and evolves through time. Consequently, it should be revisited at least
annually to assess the relevance and progress on the given recommendations.

Since much of the report is technical, detailed discussions of certain elements are contained in
appendices, which are included after the main CWPP document. Descriptions of these
appendices are as follows:

Appendix A: Fire Behavior Potential Analysis Methodology
Appendix A describes the methodology used to evaluate the threat represented by physical
hazards such as fuels, weather, and topography to Values at Risk in the study area, by
modeling their effects on fire behavior potential. A detailed description of each standardized,
nationally recognized fuel model found in the study area is included.
Appendix B: Action Plan and Project Priorities
This appendix provides guidelines on how to implement the recommendations made in the
CWPP. As a requirement for HFRA, projects are prioritized for completion. This section
includes all the recommended fuels reduction projects within the study area, as well as their
priority listing, one being the highest, four being the lowest. Other fire management
recommendations such as addressing and water supply are not prioritized, however a
methodology for local prioritization is provided in this appendix.
Appendix C: Project Collaboration
One of the main requirements of HFRA is to assure community participation. A summary of the
collaborative process undertaken for this project are found here.




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