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February 5, 2023

Conservation Corps Hardens Scotts Valley Against Fires

Work continued this week to protect Scotts Valley and surrounding communities against the threat of wildfire, in a project involving two different state agencies.

The California Conservation Corps and Caltrans came together for the initiative meant to eliminate chances for fire to spark along Highway 17 between the two Scotts Valley turnoffs, and to get ready for inclement weather.

“Vegetation is being removed so we can clean drainage ditches in the area as part of preparation for the winter rains,” Caltrans District 5 spokesperson Kevin Drabinski said Wednesday. “Work is scheduled to go through Wednesday or Thursday this week, weather permitting.”

There was around a 60% chance of rain Saturday and Sunday for Scotts Valley, which is generally one of the sunniest parts of Santa Cruz County.

“Crews from the California Conservation Corps are assisting with this work due to the amount of vegetation that needs to be removed,” Drabinski said. “That project is the current focus of winter prep efforts in the area at this time.”

In addition, Caltrans workers will be out in the field during (and after) rains to clear debris from roadways and drainage infrastructure, he added.

On Tuesday afternoon, several Conservation Corps workers were spotted lugging thick sections of tree trunks up the freeway embankment—one member decked out in safety gear passing tree portions to another—before delving back into the forest, looking for more.

CCC was established by Gov. Jerry Brown in July 1976. It works to promote forest health and responds to natural and manmade disasters.

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]

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