The Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council (FSC)
For more information visit the Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council Home
Sphere of Influence
Community Fire Safe Projects
President: Joel Ficklin – Palo Verde Volunteer Fire Department
Bill Eastwood – Beginnings Volunteer Fire Department
Tim Jones – BLM
Dave Kahn – LTO inTelegraph Ridge
Mike Miller – Sprowel Creek Volunteer Fire Department
John Rogers – Institute for Sustainable Forestry
Peter Tittman – Salmon Creek Volunteer Fire Department
Sphere of Influence:
The FSC’s sphere of influence boarder runs South from Phillipsville, just
South-East of Honeydew, East from Shelter Cove, along Humboldt County’
Southern boundary, East to Palo Verde and Alderpoint. Communities within the
sphere of influence are:
Alderpoint, Palo Verde, Phillipsville, Garberville, Redway, Briceland,
Telegraph Ridge, Ettersburg, Sprowel Creek, Whitethorn, Piercy, and Whale Gulch.
Southern Humboldt area residents concerned about the potentially devastating
effects of wildfire upon our families, homes, businesses and community have
recently formed the Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council. It is because we enjoy
living and working in our beautiful natural environment, and that this wonderful
community could be destroyed in a wildfire that we are motivated to form this
council which will help protect ourselves from this threat and minimize our
potential losses. The public safety issues we discuss may even extend beyond
fire safety, to earthquake preparedness, emergency medical response, etc.
The council had its first meeting July 2nd 2002 and has continued
to meet on a monthly basis. Participation has been widespread with more than
forty individuals including representation from the following volunteer fire
departments: Beginnings, Telegraph Ridge, Sprowel Cr., Palo Verde, Whale Gulch,
Shelter Cove, and Salmon Creek. Additionally the California Department of
Forestry and Fire Protection’s Garberville Battalion Chief and other personnel
from CDF’s Humboldt-Del Norte Unit based in Fortuna have worked with us.
Organizations that have thus far participated in the SHFSC include Beginnings
Inc., the Institute for Sustainable Forestry, Ancient Forest International,
Sanctuary Forest, and the Humboldt Fire Chiefs Association. Additional
networking is being done with BLM and the California Conservation Corps to
coordinate our activities (i.e. fuel breaks) with other fire prevention efforts.
The mission of the Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council is to protect the
region’s natural and manmade resources by mobilizing our community to make
their homes, neighborhoods and communities fire safe.
- Reduce the risk and effects of wildfires
- Community preparedness and fire planning
- Job Creation through fuels reduction and utilization of fire hazard reduction
- Protect natural and manmade resources
- Improved forest health and ecosystem function
- Extensive fuel breaks (demonstration projects)
- Education about fire hazard reduction and fire safety
- Neighborhood and road associations participation
- Increased communication between chiefs (VFD’s) and within neighborhoods
- Initiate prescribed burning program
- Improved training for emergency response teams
- Capital investments for equipment to manage vegetation
- Increased fire department training and equipment
To accomplish the established goals and objectives, the council plans to seek
funding to enable:
- Work on creating fuel breaks in strategic places in the community;
- Creating defensible space around homesteads in the urban-wildland
- Funding a coordinator position;
- Creation and distribution of educational materials;
- Developing a fire plan that will help us to identify needs and prioritize
- Capital investments in equipment to accomplish the above tasks.
Community Fire Safety Projects:
- Remove trees and brush beside roadways (roads are pre-existing fuel
- Work to increase fuel break capacity adjacent to roads, especially along
ridges and escape routes.
- Make fuel breaks up to 200 feet wide.
- Work along road edges where vegetation restricts views, prevents two
vehicles from safely passing each other, and encroaches into turnouts.
- Remove ladder fuels.
- Prune trees- dominant and co-dominant trees pruned up to 16 feet above the
ground but always leaving at least 40% of the bole in the live crown.
- Develop/improve emergency access for all neighborhoods.
- Sign and map all neighborhoods. VFD’s and CDF to have copies of maps.
- Construct turnouts – where needed to 10’ x 30’ every 400 feet.
- Provide gate access – provide emergency response with keys/combos.
Develop access to emergency water sources.
Develop more emergency storage/sources (pools, ponds, etc.).
Sign existing access points to emergency water sources (pools, ponds,
outlets, creeks, where engines could refill).
Provide map of emergency water sources to fire fighting agencies.
- Develop maps of neighborhoods and include, roads, gates, water sources etc.
- Develop and sign emergency fire safety zones – take advantage of fuel
breaks, be a minimum of 10,000 ft. sq. and allow vehicle traffic in/out.
Fuel Reduction/Stand Improvement:
- Stand Improvement occurs as a by-product of fuel reduction through the
removal suppressed trees, hazard trees and the thinning of crowded stands.
- Pruning up improves timber quality, encourages upward growth, eliminates
- Remove dying and diseased trees with some exceptions (see below).
Enhance Wildlife Habitat:
- Retain large woody debris important for re-establishing forest biota after
a wildfire, and are often too wet to burn, provide habitat for wildlife; Snags
are important for wildlife nesting and as food sources.
- Needs of fire hazard reduction must be weighed against wildlife
- Thinning the under-story improves forage for most large mammals and birds
of prey, and allows sprouting of fruiting bodies of plants like huckleberry
that will produce more berries on newer growth and with increased light from
- Distribute phone lists for emergency response.
- Construct community bulletin boards for neighborhoods.
- Write column for local paper.
- Develop/distribute educational material.
- Create model fire-safe landscaping/garden.
- Neighborhood meetings.
Fie Protection Organization Capacity:
- Building Capacity of existing fire fighting entities through
cross-trainings with CDF and other VFD’s; coordinating efforts; mapping;
accessing capital for equipment; grant writing.
- Develop the Economic Infrastructure that will allow sustainable
forestry/wood products businesses to employ local people to undertake the
massive job facing us.
- This may include: small diameter timber, round wood
construction, pole wood, biomass-based energy production (biogas or pellet
fuel), mushroom production, other non-timber forest products.
- Prioritize Community outreach to build our effectiveness.