2009 Northwest California Regional Fire Safe Council Conference
The Humboldt County Fire Safe Council (FSC) was the proud host of the 2009 "Northwest
California Regional Fire Safe Council Conference". The conference was sponsored, planned,
and conducted by a diverse group representing local FSCs and fire departments, as well as local,
state, and federal agencies. Many long emails and conference calls were shared back and forth
between the planning team which enjoyed participation from the Humboldt County, Orleans-Somes Bar
and Van Duzen Watershed FRCs, the Humboldt County Planning Division, University of California
Cooperative Extension, Humboldt State University, the Mattole Restoration Council, the Fruitland
Ridge and Miranda fire departments, Six Rivers National Forest, California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Trinity County Resource Conservation
District. If this wasn't enough of a demonstration of collaboration, presentations and panelists
were secured from most of the above organizations and agencies as well as the North Coast Unified
Air Quality District, the Center for Forestry at the University of California Berkeley, Jeff Bryant
Forestry, the Del Norte FSC, the Trinity County FSC, the FSC of Siskiyou County, the Mt. Shasta Area
FSC, and Redwood National Park.
The two day conference was held on December 10th & 11th at the Fortuna Fire Department Hall in
Fortuna, California. The use of the hall was graciously donated by the Fortuna Fire Protection District.
Sixty (60) people give or take a few, were drawn out of their remote coastal communities or over the
mountains to the Humboldt Bay area for the gathering. Representatives from county-wide FSCs were present
from Humboldt, Siskiyou, Del Norte, and Trinity Counties. The smaller FSCs of the Lower Mattole,
Southern Humboldt, Van Duzen Watershed, Orleans-Somes Bar, Willow Creek, and Mt.Shasta areas were also
represented. The participants were treated to welcoming remarks from the Chair of the Humboldt County
FSC, a member of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisor, The Unit Chief of the CAL-FIRE Humboldt-Del Norte
Unit, the Forest Supervisor for the Six Rivers National Forest, and a Board member of the California FSC.
Humboldt County unveiled a prototype of the new fire planning application in the
Humboldt GIS Portal
that is designed to plan and track hazardous fuels reduction projects countywide.
Workshop participants provided feedback on how to improve the tool and expressed
enthusiastic support for its completion. One participant stated that it could be
used as a communication and coordination tool for all projects happening in and
around communities to ensure projects are working to benefit the area and enhance other
Presentations were provided on several topics, including woody biomass utilization from both the
landowner's and researcher's perspectives and fuels treatment with particular attention to what's next for
areas that have already received treatment and the impediments to the use of prescribed fire.
Information was provided on building materials and design for home survival in wildfire prone areas,
best management practices in regards to natural resources and environmental compliance, and a variety
of cost share programs designed to support wildfire mitigation and forest health projects. All
of the PowerPoints are available on this page.
Workshop participants expressed appreciation for the many opportunities and various formats for sharing their
challenges and successes and for brainstorming solutions to common problems. Many FSCs have been able to capture
grant funds and get valuable community projects completed. Increased collaboration among FSCs was noted, with examples of
multiple areas getting addressed through one grant proposal. Community wildfire protection plans are being funded
and completed and in some cases updated and there is a general sense that community trust is being built. Many
participants expressed their appreciation for the support they are receiving from state and federal agency
personnel. The Northwestern California Prescribed Fire Council was initiated and its members are hopeful that
it will result in broader application and acceptance of fire as a fuels management tool.
Challenges faced by FSCs include the need to foster sustained volunteer support and survive the dry spells
between grant funding. The environmental compliance process came up as a difficulty and point of confusion
for some of the participants. All of the participants are working hard to sustain momentum toward their community
fire safety goals and keep the work fresh and exciting. They would ultimately like to help community members learn
how to take care of their own property and maintain their fire safety measures so that their vulnerability to damages
from wildfires is reduced.
Feedback from the group directed to the California FSC included the following:
They would like feedback about why clearinghouse grant proposals are not selected.
Support for regional meetings from the California FSC – maybe small amounts of
funding for annual meetings and web-based information.
Expand California FSC website to include more regional information.
State level support for meeting with insurance representatives about wild land guidelines.
about FireWise and Fire Safe Councils at the next regional meeting.
California Fire Safe Council Board meeting in the Northwest California region.
Support development of a standard Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) model making it easier for
small/local community FSC to develop CWPPs in a way that proves useful - perhaps by being attached to a
county-level CWPP for much of the background information, which would allow for a more focused and brief
CWPP at the community level.
Review state legislature education effort to assist with communication of local fire safe council issues and concerns.
Hold a statewide FSC meeting bringing in representatives from county and local FSCs.
Consider a central site for obtaining logo-ware.
Overall the conference was very well received. 85% of those who filled out a conference evaluations indicated that
they strongly agreed that the conference met their expectations.
Management Practices for Natural Resources & Environmental
Miriam Morrill, Wildland Urban Interface
US Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest
Region, Fire Management
Produced by the US Fish & Wildlife Service,
Pacific Southwest Region
Biomass Utilization: form a Landowner's Perspective
Jeff Bryant, Jeff Bryant
and Transportation of Woody Biomass for Energy
Han-Sup Han, Ph.D., Associate Professor of
Forest Operations and Engineering Department of
Forestry and Wildland Resources, Humboldt State
Understanding Impediments to Prescribed Fire in Northern
Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Humboldt State
Treated. What Next?
J. Morgan Varner, Assoc. Professor and
Director Wildland Fire Laboratory, Department of Forestry &
Wildland Resources, Humboldt State
Biomass Utilization Northwest California: A Snapshot
Gareth J Mayhead, University of California
Building Materials and Design for Home Survival in Wildfire Prone
Steve Quarles, University of California
Share Programs Available for Private Landowners to
Reduction and other Forestry Projects
Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative
Disease Spread and Development in California: What Can the North Coast
Janet Klein, MMWD Marin