People ranging from local Woodbridge residents to elected county officials have been concerned about the fire hazard in the Woodbridge Wilderness Area.
But the brush — consisting of bone-dry weeds and grapes— will be removed within the next two weeks.
"There are 10 to 20 kinds of vegetation," said Tom Miller, project coordinator of the California Conservation Corps' Stockton office.
Miller, who lives in Lodi, is no relation to a different person named Tom Miller, an active Woodbridge resident who lives near the wilderness area entrance.
A crew of 12 to 15 CCC members will begin work shortly after 8 a.m. Monday. They will remove brush for eight hours a day, said Miller, the CCC leader.
San Joaquin County officials will send written notices today to neighborhood residents, Parks and Recreation Director Craig Ogata said.
"We plan to clear approximately 30 feet from the property line into the wilderness area, creating a fire break between the residences and area," Ogata said in an e-mail Tuesday. "Work will not go closer than 150 feet from the river.
"The CCC will be removing underbrush from the trees, and any vegetation within the 30 feet, mostly the noxious weeds and non-native species," Ogata added.
The issue came up in late June, when the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors considered Ogata's request for $50,000 for county employees to clean up the wilderness area.
While acknowledging that the area is a fire hazard, supervisors said they didn't want to pay $50,000. Instead, they asked Ogata to look for a nonprofit agency like the CCC to do the work at little or no cost to the county.
"I spoke with several groups," Ogata said in an e-mail Tuesday. "However, due to the nature of the work, the CCC has the most experience in performing the work. They can provide all the necessary equipment and supervision necessary."
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the California Conservation Corps
The California Conservation Corps is sort of a domestic Peace Corps that Jerry Brown started when he was governor in the 1970s. It's for people aged 18 through 25 years old who sign a contract, and gives them employable skills on completion of the program.
Tom Miller, the CCC's project coordinator in the Stockton office, said the organization is run in a quasi-military style, and crew members take orders.
Corps members begin at $8 an hour. For those at residential centers, there is a $325 monthly deduction for room and board.
After completing 900 paid hours, corps members receive a $100 cash bonus; after 1,500 hours, they receive an additional $200. Members receive vacation and sick leave.
Participants can't be on probation or court referral, Miller said.
For more information, visit www.ccc.ca.gov.
— Source: California Conservation Corps.