McConnell Supports Community Resiliency

Dear Friends,

Often we don’t know our true strength until we are tested. After such a test, we learn we possess resiliency — the psychological strength to cope with stress and hardship.

The 2018 fires shook Shasta County, and neighboring communities, and for the past year our community has been in reboot, recover and rebuild mode. As such, we have exemplified resiliency! It’s a strength we can own and celebrate.
Through four seasons we have observed first responders, law enforcement, land and resource agencies, health care providers, the education community, faith-based groups, nonprofits, business, and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. We are filled with appreciation and inspiration.

Moving into year two, as we dig deeper to learn about, plan and implement fire prevention practices, The McConnell Foundation pledges to be a part of a long-term strategy. We have been working closely with city, county, state and federal agencies, as well as nonprofit and business partners to find our role in facilitating fire recovery and reducing the risk of future fires. Looking forward, if large-scale ecosystem impacts, such as catastrophic wildfire, are our “new normal,” we are committed to pursuing strategies that improve resiliency in our communities and ecosystems as part of our normal work plan.

Thank you for your efforts this past year. Let’s stay encouraged, hopeful and engaged in moving from immediate relief and response, to long-term recovery. With resiliency as our strength, we have gained wisdom and new tools to work together.

John A. Mancasola
President & CEO
The McConnell Foundation

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2 Responses

  1. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Wonderful piece John. I would love to be a part of the discussion about this disaster, and share ideas about what we learned this year that could keep our community safer and increase the lines of communication. Your former neighbor, Joanne

  2. Avatar Eleanor Townsend says:

    Thank you, John, for this encouraging message. My heart continues to go out to those who have lost everything, and have no choice but to be resilient.

    It is surely reassuring to know that a foundation with the stature of McConnell will be a part of ongoing vigilance in reducing the possibility of a recurrence of 2018. A major insurance company is currently issuing non-renewal notices on all its customers in Palo Cedro and Bella Vista (including us) due to increased fire danger. This surely increased my ‘fire alert’ status, especially due to the 166-house new proposed development by Shasta Red in Palo Cedro and Bella Vista.

    A large number of citizens attended the County Planning Commission hearing on this issue on July 23rd, having learned from the EIR that this development would be in a ‘Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone’ which ‘would expose people and structures to a potential risk of loss, injury or death involving wildland fires.’ We were certainly surprised that this project had reached the FEIR stage without realistic fire mitigation plans, and very concerned, especially given our recent history, that the only evacuation routes would be two narrow roads onto two two-lane roads (Boyle and Alturas). The prospect is unthinkable.

    Some residents also pointed out that parts of the plan were not in alignment with the County Plan and current zoning, and I believe some areas of the FEIR are to be re-assessed, but I am surely concerned that we can remain resilient should another fire erupt in a very high risk area of closely compacted homes.

    I hope we have gained wisdom, as you rightly say, but this proposed subdivision does not seem like a wise move to me. I don’t believe this is a very good time to continue ‘business as usual’ in County planning, especially with the dire prediction already in the FEIR, but not addressed! I am hoping the County will review its procedures so that a project cannot reach this advanced stage without the application of the hard-learned lessons of recent history.

    Again, I am very encouraged that the McConnell Foundation will be a participant in deterring wildfire in the North State. Thank you!