Firebreak construction under way in Cold Creek |

Firebreak construction under way in Cold Creek

Becky Bosshart

Developer John Serpa plans to create a firebreak for two miles between Bavarian Road and Old Clear Creek Road to protect the lower canyon from future fires.

Serpa, of Washoe Valley, said the incentive to start this project came after 200 acres of Serpa family property was burned in the Waterfall fire. Firebreak construction started in mid-November and should continue for several months, depending on the weather.

“We have 1,600 acres up there and we don’t want to see the same thing happen again,” he said. “Plus the neighborhood people were interested in having it done.”

The first phase of clearing trees and shrubbery should cost about $500,000, he said. It will be funded by the Serpa family.

State Forester Pete Anderson said this firebreak with be a big help because it will help reduce the threat of spreading wildfires. The Serpa firebreak will run between Old Clear Creek Road and near Alpine View subdivision. He said this method was used before the Waterfall fire and it helped firefighters combat the blaze.

“Most land owners don’t have a lot of technical expertise on how to reduce the threat of wildfires, so we’ll work with a land owner and help him design the fuelbreak,” Anderson said.

He said a common misconception about firebreaks is that the vegetation must be cut down to the dirt, but that doesn’t have to be an option.

“There are ways to leave it aesthetically pleasing and reduce the wildfire risks and give firefighters that room,” Anderson said.

The division of forestry will mark the trees to be cut down that are necessary for a functional firebreak. It will be designed to run with the natural slope of the hillside.

Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.