Placer County District Worries Dry Brush Could Fuel Fire That Destroys School

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — After watching fields of grass turn to flames almost on a daily basis during California’s drought, schools are concerned what could happen over the summer.

From the Newcastle Elementary School baseball field, you can see a lot of dry brush butting up against the area. In reality, the school is surrounded by woods—an ongoing fear for administrators during fire season.

“It’s a matter of somebody flicking a cigarette and causing a big problem,” said Peggy Aadnesen.

It’s not the first time the administrators have lost sleep over dry brush. Every year the district asks for the community’s help in cleaning up the area as much as possible.

“We’re a tiny district so we don’t have a lot of personnel that are on payroll to do it regularly,” said Superintendent Kathleen Daugherty.

They look for anything that can add fuel to a possible fire, cutting down weeds and grass and getting rid of dried up branches.

Daugherty says they are always looking for more help from agencies that can donate tools and time to help clear defensible space.

The loss of the school to a fire would be devastation, Daugherty says.

“We don’t have any other buildings we can put kids in so if these buildings burned we’d have no place to out them,” she said.

School officials say they have been proactive about fire and student safety. They’re even adding a 15,000 gallon water tank in case the day comes they need to protect the school from flames.

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