Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition Exceeds 2023 Goals and Plants 542,000 Trees

Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition Exceeds 2023 Goals and Plants 542,000 Trees


May 2024: The Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition has exceeded its goals in 2023, its second year of large-scale collaboration. The Coalition, made up of 20 partner entities, treated nearly 9,900 acres in 28 giant sequoia groves in 2023. This restoration work brings the total giant sequoia grove acres treated since the extreme 2020-21 wildfires to 14,143 out of 26,000.

The Coalition also planted over 294,000 native tree seedlings in severely burned areas, bringing the total to over 542,000. Other Coalition accomplishments include initiating and hosting research studies by academic, government, and nonprofit organizations, reviving cultural practices, and expanding co-stewardship agreements with tribes and nonprofits.


UC ANR Provides a One-Stop-Shop for Continuing Forestry Education Through ‘California Tree School’

UC ANR Provides a One-Stop-Shop for Continuing Forestry Education Through ‘California Tree School’


May 2024: The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Forest Stewardship Education (FSE) program has been helping California’s forest landowners be proactive about the inevitable shifts their forestland will experience. The Forest Stewardship and Post-Fire Forest Resilience workshop programs utilize an online educational format, which guides landowners through the basics of creating forest management plans and managing post-fire landscapes.

The FSE team is piloting a new program to engage a wider audience of forest landowners and community members passionate about trees. This spring, the Forest Stewardship and UC ANR Fire Network teams are holding the first California Tree School, where individuals attend multiple in-person classes on forestry topics.


US Department of Labor Awards $2.9M for Clean-Up & Recovery After Northern California’s 2021 Wildfires

US Department of Labor Awards $2.9M for Clean-Up & Recovery After Northern California’s 2021 Wildfires


On March 25, the US Department of Labor announced the incremental award of more than $2.9 million to continue supporting disaster-relief employment and employment training services for residents as the state continues to recover from the wildfires that devastated several Northern California communities between July and October, 2021. The grant allows the state to provide temporary jobs for debris removal and forest restoration activities in Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Tehama and Trinity counties, including employment and training services for eligible people in the affected areas. This award builds on a previous award from 2022 and brings the department’s total award to California to $5,936,700.


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.


Tahoe Conservancy Grant Supports Joint USFS-Washoe Tribe Project at Meeks Meadow

Tahoe Conservancy Awards $600,000 Grant to Support Joint USFS-Washoe Tribe Project at Máyala Wáta (Meeks Meadow)


The California Tahoe Conservancy has awarded a $600,000 grant to the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) for forestry operations as part of its joint project with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California to restore Máyala Wáta (Meeks Meadow). The absence of low-intensity fire has allowed lodgepole pines to encroach on the meadow, drying the soils and reducing the availability of culturally significant plants. The LTBMU will use these funds, matched by $1 million in federal funds, to remove encroaching conifers from 213 acres of the meadow and thin 70 acres of the surrounding upland forest. This federal, state, and tribal partnership is an excellent example of how Task Force partners can work together to achieve multiple benefits, from improving wildlife habitat to promoting culturally significant plants.

RESOURCES


Press Release

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.


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.

RESOURCES


Learn More


USFS Awards Stanislaus National Forest $57.6M in FY24 Wildfire Crisis Strategy Landscape Funding

USFS Awards Stanislaus National Forest $57.6M in FY24 Wildfire Crisis Strategy Landscape Funding


Stanislaus National Forest is currently into year three of a ten-year, 305,000-acre project to reduce fuel loads on the forest through a variety of methods to include mechanical thinning and the application of prescribed fire. FY24 funding is part of USFS’ Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which also includes the already underway Social and Ecological Resilience Across the Landscape (SERAL) Project being implemented by Stanislaus National Forest, Tuolumne County and Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions (YSS), a collaborative of 25 local industry, environmental and recreational groups.


Fire Adapted Communities


FIRE ADAPTED COMMUNITIES


Working at the intersectionof people, fire & place

The challenges involved in adapting communities to be more fire resilient are remarkably vast and diverse. It’s also inherently local, as no two areas in the state have the exact same set of needs, values, risks, and capacities.
By aligning resources, tools and organizations, the California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force is uniquely structured to address the scope and complexity of resourcing and supporting communities to achieve a more resilient future.

The Vision Statement from the Fire Adapted Communities Work Group is a testament to that approach.

“Our vision for fire-adapted communities will require working across sectors and scales in new ways by engaging people and institutions to build community capacity and partnerships, leveraging investments, and prioritizing and scaling actions for maximum impact. We will accelerate and improve the effectiveness of fire prevention, planning, mitigation, response, evacuation, and recovery. We will embrace holistic and equitable approaches that empower our communities and build sustained wildfire resilience at all scales, while respecting the diverse places and landscapes across our state.”

California’s communities will become more resilient to wildfires by redefining our relationship with fire, protecting and sustaining our people and the places we live, and working towards a fire-adapted future.

FAC Roadmap and Dashboard Project

The Task Force’s Fire Adapted Communities Work Group, with help from Resources Legacy Fund, CAL FIRE, Ascent and others, initiated the FAC Roadmap and Dashboard Project – a strategic statewide initiative focused on fire-adapted and resilient communities, expanding, and building upon other ongoing California wildfire resilience initiatives.

The FAC Roadmap will serve as the strategic plan and implementation strategy for the community fire adaptations and resilience effort of the Task Force, with specific goals and strategic actions that both inform and serve as a critical source of content for the next update to the Action Plan in 2024.

The FAC Framework and Components

The FAC Wheel serves as the organizational foundation for developing a strategic statewide framework for community-focused fire adaptation and resilience. The blue inner ring displays the main framework components, while the green outer ring displays examples of specific programs or activities communities can engage in. The Wheel describes a set of components that make up community wildfire adaptation, but it should be noted that it is not a check-list or “one-size-fits-all” approach; every community’s journey to living better with fire is unique.


COMPONENTS

Prevention

Most wildfires begin with human-caused ignitions, and efforts are already in place to address and reduce these ignitions. For example, electric utilities play a significant role in ignition prevention, and public awareness campaigns can play major roles in prevention, among other efforts.

Actions:

  • Action 2.11: Maintain Fire Prevention Grants.
  • Action 2.21: Review Wildfire Mitigation Plans.
  • Action 2.22: Coordinate Utility-Related Wildfire Mitigation Initiatives.
  • Action 2.23: Expand United States Forest Service (USFS) Master Special Use Permits.

Other Efforts:

·       CAL FIRE “One Less Spark” Campaign
·       Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings
·       OSFM Fireworks Program
·       OSFM Wildfire Prevention Guides
·       Public Safety Power Shutoffs
·       Reducing Utility-Related Wildfire Risk: Utility Wildfire Mitigation Strategy and Roadmap for the Wildfire Safety Division

Resident Mitigation

Fire hazard mitigation in the residential context includes protecting both individual homes and properties, as well as overall neighborhood- or community-scale implementation, to reduce the risk of fire-related damage or loss caused by embers, radiant heat exposure and combustion, or direct flame contact.

Resident mitigation efforts include defensible space, home hardening, and fire-resistant landscaping and building materials, among others. It is important to note that these concepts are not unique to single-family homes, but also includes multi-family properties, manufactured homes, and other housing types, to ensure protection that spans the entire community.

Additionally, while the FAC framework does not include a “commercial mitigation” component, some concepts addressed under resident mitigation may also apply to infrastructure and businesses.

Actions:

  • Action 2.19: Develop WUI Fire Safety Training Manual
  • Action 3.8: Launch Catalyst Fund Forest Investments
  • Action 3.9: Develop X-Prize for Wood Product Innovation
  • Action 3.10: Address Feedstock Barriers through Pilot Projects
  • Action 3.11: Develop Statewide Forest and Wood Products Workforce Assessment
  • Action 3.12: Maintain and Develop Removal Incentives

Other Efforts:

·       California Climate Insurance Working Group

·       California Fire Safe Council

·       California Wildfire Mitigation Program

·       CAL FIRE County Coordinator Grant Program

·       CDI “Safer from Wildfires” Initiative and Regulations

·       Defensible Space Regulations

·       Fire Aside ChipperDay Platform

·       IBHS “Wildfire Prepared Home” Program

·       Local Home Retrofit and Defensible Space Assistance Programs

·       NFPA “Firewise Communities” Firewise USA® Recognition Program

Infrastructure & Business

Wildfires can affect a wide array of assets that are vital to a functioning community, including infrastructure and local businesses. This component of FAC is related to critical facility and infrastructure protection (e.g., hospitals, water infrastructure), along with business continuity, resilience, and the role of private businesses in addressing wildfire risk and supporting wildfire resilience.

Actions:

  • Action 2.8: Develop Defensible Space and Home Hardening Curriculum
  • Action 2.12: Extend Defensible Space Programs
  • Action 2.13: Expand Assistance Programs
  • Action 2.14: Increase Defensible Space Inspections
  • Action 2.15: Improve Defensible Space Compliance
  • Action 2.16: Create a Model Defensible Space Program
  • Action 2.17: Expand Home Hardening Programs
  • Action 2.18: Develop Home Hardening Guidance
  • Action 2.20: Develop Insurance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Other Efforts:

  • FEMA Continuity Guidance Circular and Continuity Resource Toolkit
  • Local Business Resiliency Initiatives
  • NFPA 1600® Standard on Continuity, Emergency, and Crisis Management
  • Planning and Investing for a Resilient California: A Guidebook for State Agencies
  • PROTECT Program

Community & Regional Planning

Community and regional planning efforts provide an excellent opportunity for localities to reduce wildfire risk within their jurisdictions. Planning, at its foundation, is an articulation of how local or regional governments, residents, and other stakeholders want their communities to look, feel, and function in the future. In WUI areas, or any areas where there are wildfire-related concerns, community and regional planning can set a vision with actionable policies and programs for building resilience to wildfires.

Actions:

  • Action 1.18: Develop Prescribed Fire Strategic Action Plan
  • Action 1.29: Develop Network of Regional Forest and Community Fire Resilience Plans
  • Action 1.36: Complete Timber Harvesting Plan Guidance Documents
  • Action 2.4: Update the Fire Hazard Planning Technical Advisory
  • Action 2.5: Develop WUI Best Practices Inventory
  • Action 2.6: Develop Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Best Practices Guide
  • Action 2.21: Review Wildfire Mitigation Plans.
  • Action 2.26: Assist with General Plans
  • Action 4.1: Complete Applied Research Plans

Other Efforts:

  • CAL FIRE Land Use Planning Program
  • Climate Adaptation Plans
  • Community Wildfire Protection Plans
  • Fire Hazard Planning Technical Advisory
  • General Plans
  • Joint Powers Agreements
  • Local Hazard Mitigation Plans
  • Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program
  • Examples and Best Practices for California Communities

Landscape Treatment

Landscape treatments refer to a suite of measures that strategically manage fuel loads to reduce fire risk. Specifically, these measures can include conducting prescribed burns, developing fuel breaks, thinning roadside vegetation, and generally ensuring that forests, woodlands, or other highly vegetated areas are treated in a way that reduces the risk of wildfire ignition and spread.

Actions:

  • Action 2.9: Develop and Maintain 500 Fuels Management Projects
  • Action 2.10: Link with Landscape Scale Projects
  • Action 2.25: Develop Framework for Safe Road Corridors
  • Action 2.27: Expand Highway Treatments
  • Action 2.28: Develop Good Neighbor Agreement

Other Efforts:

  • CAL FIRE Forest Stewardship Program
  • CAL FIRE Prescribed Fire Claims Fund Pilot Program
  • CAL FIRE Vegetation Management Program
  • CAL FIRE Wildfire Prevention Grants Program
  • California Vegetation Treatment Program
  • California’s Strategic Plan for Expanding the Use of Beneficial Fire
  • Keepers of the Flame
  • Roadmap to a Million Acres

Safety & Evacuation

The concepts of safety and evacuation are crucial components of FAC because there will always be some degree of risk—even if measures are taken to reduce risk and build resilience to wildfires, that risk will never be zero. The first and utmost priority when it comes to wildfire, or any hazard, is to protect and sustain human lives, and that could be reflected in pre-fire preparedness, wildfire safety programs and procedures, and robust evacuation planning and execution, among others.

Actions:

  • Action 2.24: Identify Subdivision Secondary Emergency Access
  • Action 2.25: Develop Framework for Safe Road Corridors
  • Action 2.26: Assist with General Plans
  • Action 2.27: Expand Highway Treatments
  • Action 2.28: Develop Good Neighbor Agreement
  • Action 2.29: Expand Messaging Campaign

Other Efforts

  • Assembly Bill 747 (Levine, 2019)
  • Assembly Bill 1409 (Levine, 2021)
  • CAL FIRE Subdivision Review Program
  • Medical Baseline Program
  • Microgrid Incentive Program
  • PG&E Backup Power Transfer Meter Program
  • PG&E Portable Battery Program
  • “Ready, Set, Go” Campaign
  • Senate Bill 99 (Nielsen, 2019)

Public Health

Wildfire can affect people’s physical and mental/emotional health significantly. Perhaps most notably, smoke from wildfires can result in an array of human health impacts (e.g., respiratory issues). However, wildfires can also lead to water supply and soil contamination, along with a severe mental health toll caused by death or injuries to loved ones, property damage or loss, temporary or long-term displacement, and other impacts. A strategic framework for fire-adapted and resilient communities must consider and prioritize public health.

Actions:

  • Action 1.39: Update Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System (PFIRS)
  • Action 2.30: Launch Smoke Ready California Campaign
  • Action 2.31: Release California Smoke Spotter App
  • Action 2.32: Enhance Prescribed Fire Reporting

Other Efforts:

  • California Smoke Blog
  • Protection from Wildfire Smoke Standard
  • Wildfire Smoke Clean Air Centers for Vulnerable Populations Incentive Pilot Program
  • Wildfire Smoke: Considerations for California’s Public Health Officials

Recovery

The goal of disaster recovery is timely restoration, strengthening and revitalization of infrastructure, housing, and a suitable economy, as well as the health, social, cultural, historical, and environmental fabric of affected communities. In the context of fire, recovery refers to the comprehensive and coordinated process of both short-term actions that typically begin after a wildfire has been contained, as well as longer-term, ongoing actions that serve as steps towards rebuilding communities that have been impacted by wildfire. Wildfire recovery is intrinsically broad, as it touches on many different aspects of society and requires coordination between an array of actors.

Actions:

  • Action 1.34: Develop Coordinated State Restoration Strategy

Other Efforts:

  • California Community Foundation Wildfire Recovery Fund
  • California Disaster Assistance Act
  • California Disaster Recovery Framework
  • California Wildfire Fund
  • Consolidated Debris Removal Program
  • EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance Program
  • FEMA Public Assistance and Individual Assistance
  • Fire Victim Trust
  • HUD Community Development Block Grant Programs
  • USDA Disaster Assistance Programs

Fire Adapted Communities is really about the intersection of people, fire, and place.

– Michelle Medley-Daniel, Fire Networks Co-Director

Guiding Principles

    • Recognize that climate change, along with decades of suppression-dominated solutions, is increasing the severity and scale of catastrophic wildfires that threaten the health and safety of our people and lands. We must take decisive and potentially disruptive actions to change our course to realize our vision for a fire adapted future and build sustained resilience in the years and decades to come.

 

    • Redefine our understanding of and relationship to fire as a natural and indigenous element in the landscape that must be understood, respected, and managed safely through increased education, partnerships, and cross-sectoral engagement with Indigenous, Tribal, and scientific and advocacy communities.

 

    • Use holistic, equitable, and community-centered approaches that empower local action and build resilience at all scales, in partnership with and support from public and private entities.

 

    • Engage and build community capacity to reduce risks to public health, safety, and property.

 

    • Recognize the connections between healthy and vibrant landscapes and community resilience and broaden community education and support for the use of beneficial fire and other landscape management techniques.

“The Task Force is shining a light on some very complicated issues. We’re creating a vision for what adaptation means, and that needs be locally driven.”

– Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension


PROGRESS METRICS


Progress On Task Force Fire Adapted Communities Key Actions

The table below shows Key Actions for California’s Wildfire & Forest Resilience Action Plan that are assigned to the Fire Adapted Communities Workgroup. Sort by status to see level of progress completion.

Fuel Reduction Treatment Trackers

“There are lots of valid pathways to living better with fire, and Fire Adapted Communities is about articulating those and helping those communities enact those visions.”

– Michelle Medley-Daniel, Fire Networks Co-Director

TASK FORCE MEETING PRESENTATIONS

On December 15 the Task Force met in Sacramento for its final quarterly meeting of 2023. The primary focus was on Fire Adapted Communities. Below are several presentations that provide comprehensive and current overviews of the state of community adaptation.

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.

FIRE ADAPTED COMMUNITIES WORK GROUP

On the FAC Work Group page you’ll find additional news and updates along with resources, Work Group leadership and Partners.

Learn More

Recap of Sacramento 12/15 Task Force Meeting

SACRAMENTO TASK FORCE MEETING RECAP


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


Co-chairs

  • 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