Wildfire Preparedness processes reduce or eliminate fire hazards and risks, and change the environment by removing or reducing the heat source, modifying or reducing the fuels (this is where our defensible space program resides), and modifying the act or omission allowing the heat source to contact ignitable fuels.
Part of CAL FIRE’s mission is to prevent fires and protect habitable structures within the State Responsibility Area (SRA). Other important activities include defensible space inspections, home hardening, emergency evacuation planning, fire prevention education, fire hazard severity mapping, implementation of the Strategic Fire Plan for California, fire-related law enforcement activities such as investigations to determine fire cause and origin as well as arson cases, and support for local government fire safe planning in the SRA.
Defensible space, coupled with home hardening, is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Defensible space is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it helps protect your home from catching fire—either from embers, direct flame contact or radiant heat. Proper defensible space also provides firefighters a safe area to work in, to defend your home. For more information on Defensible space click here.
The Department’s Damage Inspection (DINS) Program has been collecting data electronically since 2014, recent extremely damaging wildfires have resulted in large amounts of damaged and destroyed data points. DINS data is provided to local officials for their own local land use planning purposes, the data collected has provided valuable information for planning and prevention research.
Communities located in wildfire-prone areas need to take extra measures to live safely. There are many ways to prepare communities and properties for wildfire, including creating and maintaining adequate defensible space and hardening homes through altering or replacing the construction components. The most effective way for homes to withstand wildfire is a “coupled approach” that considers the exterior construction materials and how they are put together, as well as the surrounding vegetation and other near-home combustible materials. Selection, location, and maintenance of vegetation and other combustible materials on a property can reduce the chance of a wildfire burning the home.
The Utility Wildfire Mitigation program was created in the fall of 2018 as a result of State legislation focused on climate change and powerline utility caused fires (reference Senate Bills 1028 and 901). CAL FIRE subject matter experts and other agencies conduct comprehensive reviews of the Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans annually.
Wildfire Risk Reduction takes into account the best design, construction, and engineering practices for preparing wildfire safe homes and communities. These principles also apply in the safe use of industrial and recreational equipment. The wildfire Risk Reduction staff recommend and interpret laws and regulations covering wildland fire safety and assist homeowners, landowners, decision-makers, and local government planners in building and rebuilding fire safety into California communities. Click Here