OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) -- Community members from the foothills gathered in Oakhurst Tuesday to talk about how to minimize risk and damage when another wildfire starts.
Oakhurst will likely be part of Assemblyman Jim Patterson's new district after the November election. He gathered people to talk about how they can brace for the next fire incident that is inevitable in their community.
"Make sure that we are as prepared as we possibly can be when the next one comes," said Patterson.
Mariposa County resident Wesley Smith spoke about how the prep starts on each person's property. He says making sure he had a defensible space didn't save his property from burning in the Oak Fire, but it likely slowed the flames down enough for his wife to get out safely.
"It would be very rough for me if I hadn't taken care of my property to know that it was the cause or an effect of burning down my neighbor's property," he said. "So I have solace in that."
Assemblyman Patterson says making your property safer will not only give you and your home a better chance, but it could make it easier and less expensive to get insurance coverage. Insurance policies can be hard to come by for homeowners living on property prone to wildfires.
"Insurance companies have to evaluate risk and if you can be a part of reducing the risk," said Patterson. "There's a higher probability that you will get a policy, that you will get a discount and probably be able to afford it."
Coarsegold resident Wyatt Wass is learning that banding together with his neighbors to improve their properties through a program called FireWise can get them discounts on insurance.
"They explained a lot more about how to specifically go about that, what all you can do and how beneficial it really can be," said Wass. "It's got me thinking I am going to implement a lot of different things in my own home."