Sammie's Friends has vegetation on its property like most any land in Nevada County. It's an abundance of vegetation that worries county and fire officials. Tree limbs and overgrowth can help fuel wildfires. The McCourtney Road animal shelter sits in a unique spot for fighting those blazes. It's one of 3,000 improved parcels in the Ponderosa West Grass Valley Defense Zone Project. "Obviously, we are all for the safety of our animals and our community," said Lorie Hennessey, shelter director. That project, if funded, would create a 1,237-acre shaded fire break that runs from a portion of Squirrel Creek Road south across Highway 20 and past McCourtney Road. County officials caution the project area isn't finalized and could change. They haven't yet contacted area landowners, because project approval isn't final.
County officials are hopeful they'll learn by next month whether they'll receive over $3.2 million in grant funding for the project.