USFS Invests $33M to Support Rural Schools & Communities

USFS Invests $33M to Support Rural Schools & Communities

On April 12, the U.S. Forest Service announced that California will receive over $33 million of a $232 million package to support public schools, roads and other municipal services through the agency’s Secure Rural Schools program. The funds support crucial public services and pave the way for more jobs. In addition to directly aiding rural schools and roads, funds will reimburse counties for national forest emergency services, and assist in creating community wildfire protection plans.

Recap of The Southern California Regional Meeting


April 4, 2024

A full-capacity audience of over 300 people came together at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido (with over 200 joining online) for the Governor’s Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force’s Southern California regional meeting. Hosted by the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, the agenda and activities focused on landscapes and land management issues unique to Southern California, including cultural burning, utilities & infrastructure, and regional planning and implementation.

If you couldn’t make it in person, or missed the real-time webinar, video recordings are available below.


  • Director’s Report: Director Wright provided an update on recent accomplishments and investments in Southern California, progress being made on Task Force key actions and products as well as an overview of the process to update the Task Force Action Plan.
  • Southern California’s Unique Landscapes & Challenges: University researchers discussed threats to the incredibly biodiverse region and management techniques needed to build ecological resilience in the densely populated, shrubland dominated region. Additionally, an update on Regional Resource Kits and how they can be utilized in the region was provided.
  • Regional Leadership Panel: Regional leaders shared local project highlights and showcased their efforts to develop landscape-scale projects and align federal, state, and regional plans, priorities, and investments.
  • Cultural Fire & Indigenous Stewardship: A panel of cultural practitioners and resource managers discussed obstacles and barriers facing cultural burners, including difficulties in obtaining burn permits, threats to tribal sovereignty, and the continued struggles of California tribes to overcome structural racism in order to maintain traditions and steward ancestral lands.
  • The Role of Utilities & Infrastructure in Wildfire Resilience: A panel of energy, water, and transportation agency representatives discussed new and emerging strategies to address wildfire impacts to infrastructure as well as the role utilities play in reducing ignitions risksinfrastructure.

View Full AgendaCAL-SPAN VIDEO

Welcome & Opening Remarks

• Lisa Peterson, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

• Stephen W. Cope, San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians

• Jennifer Eberlien, USDA Forest Service

• Task Force Executive Committee

• Joel Anderson, San Diego County Supervisor

Director's Report

• Patrick Wright, Task Force

Southern CA's Unique Landscapes & Challenges

• Megan Jennings, San Diego State University

• John Battles, University of California, Berkeley

Regional Leadership Panel

• Moderator: Kathy Peterson

• Susie Kirschner, Inland Empire Resource Conservation District

• Scott Tangenberg, Cleveland National Forest

• Heather Marlow, Greater SD County Resource Conservation District

• Sal Reyes, San Bernardino National Forest

• Eric Just, CAL FIRE

Trailer Screening: MAATHAAW: The Fire Within Us

•Learn more and donate at:

Cultural Fire & Indigenous Stewardship

• Moderator: Will Madrigal Jr., Climate Science Alliance

• Wesley Ruise Jr., La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians

• Marlene’ Dusek, Climate Science Alliance

• Kevin Soland, KRS Environmental Consulting

• Emily Burgueno, Kumeyaay Diegueno Land Conservency

• Travis Armstrong, CAL FIRE

• Joel Arellano, Climate Science Alliance

The Role of Utilities & Infrastructure in Wildfire Resilience

• Moderator: Phil Saksa, Blue Forest

• Caroline Thomas Jacobs, Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety

• Thom Porter, San Diego Gas and Electric

• David Guzman, Southern California Edison

• Greg Woodside, San Bernardino Municipal Water District

• Lisa Worthington, Caltrans

Closing Remarks

• Task Force Co-Chairs

Fall color leaves in the forest

USFS Pacific Southwest Region Releases Broader-Scale Monitoring Results Viewer

Fall color leaves in the forest

USFS Pacific Southwest Region Releases Broader-Scale Monitoring Results Viewer

A Broader-Scale Monitoring Strategy is an overarching strategy to help answer questions at a broad geographic scale that goes beyond one plan area.

On April 5, 2024, the USFS Pacific Southwest Region released the first results of their Broader-Scale Monitoring Strategy which evaluates the status and trend of social, economic, and ecological conditions on National Forest System lands in California. Monitoring results show that national forests in California have been weakened by chronic stress from climate change as well as climate-amplified disturbances like insect infestation, disease, and wildfire. You can download pdf reports of the results or explore the results and data yourself with interactive features such as dashboards and searchable maps.

California RCDs Are Making Substantial Progress on Prescribed Fire

California RCDs Are Making Substantial Progress on Prescribed Burns

Getting beneficial fire to scale is a critical aspect of California’s Wildfire & Forest Resilience Action Plan. In counties throughout California, Regional Conservation Districts are making a significant impact, getting good fire on the ground, and showing the way on best practices for safe, effective prescribed burns. 

Here are a few recent highlights, as favorable fall and winter conditions have enabled California’s Resource Conservation Districts to make significant progress on prescribed burns.

In Yolo County

  • The Yolo Prescribed Burn Association hosted its first prescribed burn at a private ranch north of Capay on June 17th. It’s a great, full case study on effective beneficial fire.
  • Yolo County RCD also recently completed their first Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). On-the-ground CWPP fuels reduction work has already begun to supplement an annual CAL FIRE prescribed burn.
  • Beyond burns, Yolo County Fire Safe Council launched two programs: the Neighborhood Chipper Program and the Reflective Address Sign Program, supplying residents of high fire areas with 111 signs across 81 properties and chipping debris from the creation of approximately 5,589 cubic yards of defensible space.

In Trinity County

  • Pile burning activities by Trinity County Resource Conservation District (TCRCD) fuels reduction technicians are contributing to a broader initiative to establish a shaded fuel break along the ridgetop of Browns Mountain to safeguard Weaverville and Lewiston.
  • With numerous projects underway, TCRCD remains committed to leveraging controlled burns to enhance landscape health, reduce wildfire risks, and foster long-term ecological resilience. At least 35% of investments benefit residents of disadvantaged communities.

In Butte County

  • Butte RCD has built a very active Prescribed Burn Association with over 350 members who are out burning almost weekly. With the addition of a fully outfitted burn trailer, RCD truck, and 125-gallon slip-in fire skid, they plan to step up acreage this spring.
  • Local media has taken notice, with coverage by North State Public Radio about neighbors helping neighbors and PBA work near a major evacuation route.

In Placer County

    • Placer RCD has a state-certified burn boss on staff and a robust program. Their website is full of good content, including videos, pictures, updates, and information about upcoming workshops.
    • They also put out a quarterly newsletter titled Forest Steward with lots of high quality beneficial-fire related content and stories.

USFS Invests $179M to Confront Wildfire Crisis

USDA Forest Service Invests Nearly $179 Million for Priority Landscapes in California to Confront Wildfire Crisis

On February 20, the USDA Forest Service announced it will invest nearly $179 million into priority landscapes across California as part of a $500 million national investment to expand work on the Wildfire Crisis Strategy to reduce risk to communities, critical infrastructure, and natural resources from the nation’s ongoing wildfire and climate crisis. This builds on the $2.8 billion already invested by Governor Newsom and California’s Legislature to take proactive actions to reduce catastrophic wildfire risks, protect communities, and restore the health of our landscapes.

“These and other federal investments are vital to match the Governor’s $2.8 billion investment over the last several years. They will also strengthen our partnership with the Forest Service, California’s largest landowner, in taking an ‘all-lands’ approach to improve the health of our forests and the safety of our communities,” said California Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force Director, Patrick Wright.

Funding has been designated for the following projects:

Regional Landscapes                               FY24 Allocation
Stanislaus $57,663,352
North Yuba $16,489,560
Sierra and Elko Fronts (includes CA & NV) $27,692,340
Klamath River Basin (includes CA & OR) $36,831,090
Plumas Community Protection $3,522,500
Southern California $1,915,000
Trinity $34,749,886
Total Allocation FY24: $178,863,728

An additional $100 million will be allocated across 24 qualifying states under a new Forest Service program — the Collaborative Wildfire Risk Reduction Program which will expand work in high-risk wildfire areas outside the 21 priority landscapes. The Collaborative Wildfire Risk Reduction Program will use hazardous fuels funds from the Inflation Reduction Act to treat areas in other high-risk wildfire areas where national forests and grasslands meet homes and communities.

Sierra Nevada Conservancy Shares Draft Strategic Plan for Public Comment

Sierra Nevada Conservancy Shares Draft Strategic Plan for Public Comment

Over the past year, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) has been taking stock of the past five years and gathering input from their Board, partners, and the public in order to craft a Strategic Plan for 2024-2029 that will help the SNC best serve the Sierra-Cascade and all of California. Comments on the Draft Strategic Plan can be emailed or delivered in person at SNC’s March 7 Governing Board meeting in Sacramento. Public comment closes Friday, March 8 at 5 PM. After review of public comment, the SNC anticipates that the Board will consider adoption of a 2024-2029 Strategic Plan at its June 2024 meeting.


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NOAA Invests $34M in Fire Behavior Prediction

NOAA Invests $34M in Fire Behavior Prediction

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will award more than $34 million to six research universities in NOAA’s Cooperative Institute system to improve wildfire behavior modeling, forecasting, and wildfire warnings. Over the next five years, the funding will:

  • Help NOAA build and deploy new observing systems that detect and monitor wildfires and their impacts.
  • Advance high-resolution models to predict fires, emissions, and air quality.
  • Establish a new NOAA Fire Weather Testbed that will allow scientists and forecasters to evaluate experimental products and speed their transition to operations.
  • Improve the ability of NOAA’s incident meteorologists (IMETs) to provide emergency support at fire locations.


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Recap of Sacramento 12/15 Task Force Meeting


December 15, 2023

The Task Force held its quarterly meeting at the California Natural Resources Agency in Sacramento and live on Zoom. The primary focus of the meeting was on Fire Adapted Communities and the work being doing throughout the state to achieve more resilient communities. Some of the highlights include:

  • California’s Progress on Empowering Community Adaptation: Daniel Berlant from CAL FIRE and CA Fire Safe Council’s Jacy Hyde shared updates on how both statewide programs and local communities are building adaptive capacity and improving wildfire outcomes.
  • California’s Roadmap for Creating Fire Adapted Communities: Two members of the Task Force’s Fire Adapted Communities Work Group — Steve Hawks from CAL FIRE and Erik de Kok, representing Ascent Environmental — shared updates on the Work Group’s recently completed Baseline Assessment and next steps in developing a statewide roadmap for community fire adaptation.
  • Regional Leaders’ Perspective on Community Resilience to Fire: In a panel moderated by Molly Mowery of Community Wildfire Planning Center, regional leaders from across the state discussed pressing issues communities are facing to better adapt to fire, and the best ways state and federal institutions can support progress at the community level.

View Full Agenda

Welcome & Executive Remarks


  • Wade Crowfoot, CNRA
  • Jennifer Eberlien, USFS

Task Force Executive Committee

  • Joe Tyler, CAL FIRE
  • Ed Valenzuela, CSAC
  • Katy Landau, CalEPA
  • Juliann Aukema, PSW Research Station
  • Don Hankins, Indigenous Stewardship Network
  • Sam Assefa, OPR
  • Doug Teeter, RCRC

Director’s Report

Patrick Wright, Director, Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force

California's Progress on Empowering Community Fire Adaptation

Daniel Berlant, CAL FIRE

Jacy Hyde, CA Fire Safe Council

California's Roadmap for Creating Fire Adapted Communities

Steve Hawks, CAL FIRE

Eric de Kok, Ascent Environmental

Regional Leaders Perspective on Community Resilience to Fire

Moderator: Molly Mowery, CWPC

• Scott Tangenberg, USFS

• Rhiana Jones, Washoe Tribe of NV & CA

• Frank Frievalt, WUI Fire Institute 

• Calli-Jane West, Butte County Fire Safe Council

• Will Harling, W. Klamath Restoration Partnership

Closing Remarks

Task Force Executive Committee

CA Board of Forestry Establishes a Resource Library to Support CalVTP Implementation

CA Board of Forestry Establishes a Resource Library to Support CalVTP Implementation

The CalVTP Program EIR is a tool to expedite CEQA compliance for wildfire resilience projects and facilitate efficient permitting. Since CalVTP implementation began in 2020, the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has collected feedback about how to support efficient CalVTP use. To this end, the BOF has created an ArcGIS StoryMap and prepared the CalVTP Resource Library, which features example PSAs and PSA/Addenda, mitigation monitoring and reporting program implementation tools, updated frequently asked questions, and treatable landscape calculator.


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NFWF and USFS Announce $50M for Landscape-scale Grants

NFWF and USFS Announce $50M for Landscape-scale Grants

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with USFS-Region 5, has $50M available for landscape-scale grants — targeting landscapes encompassing up to 250,000 acres — to address comprehensive efforts to restore forest ecosystems. The priorities outlined in the California Headwaters RFP include ecological restoration and protection at a landscape scale using a comprehensive approach that takes into account the interdependencies between water and fire. NFWF is hosting a webinar on December 12 at 1:00 PM PST. Pre-proposals are due on January 18, 2024.