Workforce Development (Forestry Corps Crews)

Department: California Conservation Corps

Program Description: The California Conservation Corps Forestry Corps program trains youth in a year-long program in forest resilience. Often recruiting from lower income or vulnerable communities, these young men and women sign up for a year of service and training. These fuel reduction crews assist local departments, cities, counties in completing priority fuel reduction projects to reduce wildfire risk in fire-threatened areas. Often elbow-deep in poison oak and working in long-hot conditions, Forestry Corpsmembers remove hazardous fuels to reduce wildfire risk and re-plants trees to recover after a fire, while gaining valuable work experience in the climate and green industries.

Program Impact: The Pomona Forestry Corps has contributed greatly to the mitigation of wildfire with their fuel reduction and fire recovery projects. Santa Fe Dam’s nature center had an issue with overgrown pepper trees that could serve as ladder fuels, so the Pomona crew significantly reduced the fuel load on two acres of land. William S. Hart Park in Hollywood had a similar issue with oak trees and oleander before the Forestry Corps arrived and brushed another two acres of overgrowth. The Pomona crew assisted Big Basin State Park to reopen after the CZU Lightning Complex Fire by cutting and brushing along 20 miles of trail. Most recently, the crew has been reducing the amount of hazard trees and ladder fuels at Monrovia Canyon Park in the burn scar of the 2020 Bobcat fire. All Forestry Corps members have been trained in using chainsaws and most have completed S-212 training through CALFIRE BDU. There are plans for Forestry Corpsmembers to receive additional training from CALFIRE, including CALFIRE Hazmat First Responder Operational and 1C. Five Corpsmembers have transitioned into the center’s fire crew so far; one Corpsmember received arborist training; and two Corpsmembers have been selected for Hotshot crews in California ahead of this fire season. Pomona Forestry Corps has allowed Corpsmembers to have an impact across the state and prepared them for fruitful careers in fire and forestry.

The Chico Forestry crew has been hard at to work in both the classroom and out on projects. Many Corpsmembers have completed a five-week utility arborist training through our building partnership with Butte College; to date, this course has been taught twice. The crew also has been able to receive Basic CALFIRE fire training on two separate occasions. This has enabled the crew to take part in planned prescribed fire incidents on the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER) and in Chico’s Upper Bidwell Park. The Big Chico Ecological Reserve is our Forestry Crew’s main project partner. We have completed many project hours reducing fire hazard fuels and invasive plant species on the Reserve. The crew is currently conducting two spikes in the Big Basin State Park completing fuels work.

The Greenwood CCC Forestry Corps has treated more than 200 acres and removed more than 317 trees since July 2022 on projects at Greenwood, Tahoe, and Pollock Pines. During the summer, the crew was also assigned to several fires including the McKinney Fire, Mill Fire, Mountain Fire, Barnes Fire, and Mosquito Fire. They have also participated in several trainings including the CALFIRE 1C fire training, chipper safety training, flood training, basic chainsaw training, beginner tree climbing training, and basic and intermediate faller training. Most of the crew will be completing their Forestry Certificate from Lake Tahoe Community College in June 2023.


Resilience in Action: Pomona Forestry Corps:

Training provided by the CCC as well as CALFIRE has prepared many Corpsmembers to advance their careers this season. Corpsmembers on the crew have been in the Forestry Corps for most of the year, receiving job knowledge as well as interagency certifications. Corpsmembers Ryan Lucindo and Joshua Gutierrez received tentative job offers from Hotshot crews across the state that they intend to accept; Corpsmember Nathan Jaime recently completed utility arborist training and intends to advance to the center’s fire crew; and five additional Corpsmembers from Forestry are currently using their fire training on Pomona’s fire crew.


Chico Forestry Corps:

The utility line arborist training the Crewmembers received through Butte College is invaluable and opened pathways for employment with tree companies. The Corpsmembers who attended received Certificates of Training in OSHA-10, certified flagger, Electrical Hazard Awareness Program, and aerial rescue.

To further expand the California Natural Resources Agency’s core commitments to embedding equity, environmental justice, and tribal affairs in all that we do, Alex Lima (Greenwood Forestry Corpsmember) served as the first CCC Equity Corpsmember (CCC-ECM) to support the development of a policy white paper on providing inclusive language in our Agency’s operations, practices, and procedures. Alex also supported the Assistant Secretary for Equity and Environmental Justice, the assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs, and the Office of the Secretary in their efforts to further embed equity across the Agency, including but not limited to, supporting existing roundtables, and the relevant tribal affairs work stemming from the CA Advisory Committee on Geographic Names outside from his main projects, Alex also:

  • Provided Language support to Secretary Wade Crowfoot for his 2022 CalFire Silver Medal/ Gold Medal award presentation speeches
  • Organized technical changes to CNRA agencies/Equity action plans
  • Created initial web map outline for CRNA Equity and Environmental Justice home web page
  • Edited short films to support Latino Heritage Month career day and the Secretary Crowfoot Speaker series

Pomona Forestry Corps:

Monrovia Canyon Park before Pomona Forestry Corps set to work.
Corpsmember Will hauls two rounds, trying to keep up with sawyers cutting trees into moveable sizes.
Crew Leader (left) Jake explains tension and compression to keep Corpsmember Sam (right) from pinching their bar.

Chico Forestry Corps:

Corpsmember Michael Garnett holding line at a prescribed fire incident in BCCER.
Corpsmember Caitlin Patterson performing an aerial rescue during the arborist training.

Tahoe (at Greenwood) Forestry Corps:

Greenwood Forestry Corpsmembers in a tree during beginner arbor training.

The CCC also runs six additional Forestry Corps crews which were not part of the 2021 Wildfire Package. Below are additional examples of projects such crews have completed across the state.

Inland Empire Forestry Corps Corpsmembers haul dead vegetation away in a tarp during project work in San Bernardino County.
Inland Empire Corpsmember Deciderio Gallegos hauls downed tree limbs during a fuel reduction project in San Bernardino County.
Tahoe Forestry Corps Corpsmembers Remove Fire Fuel Near Homes in South Lake Tahoe Near Echo Summit


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