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Fire Safe Council and Master Fire Plan

Humboldt County Fire Safe Council            Phone: (707) 268-3736

2009 Northwest California Regional Fire Safe Council Conference

Conference Summary

Presentation PowerPoints

Conference Summary

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 agency's projects.

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.
  • Include discussion 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.

Presentation PowerPoints

Best Management Practices for Natural Resources & Environmental Compliance 

Miriam Morrill, Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator 

US Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region, Fire Management


Firewise Landscaping 

Produced by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region


Woody Biomass Utilization: form a Landowner's Perspective 

Jeff Bryant, Jeff Bryant Forestry


Collection 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 University


Understanding Impediments to Prescribed Fire in Northern California 

Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Humboldt State University


Fuels Treated. What Next? 

J. Morgan Varner, Assoc. Professor and Director Wildland Fire Laboratory, Department of Forestry & 

Wildland Resources, Humboldt State University


Woody Biomass Utilization Northwest California: A Snapshot 

Gareth J Mayhead, University of California Berkeley


Building Materials and Design for Home Survival in Wildfire Prone Areas 

Steve Quarles, University of California Cooperative Extension


Cost Share Programs Available for Private Landowners to Address 

Fuels Reduction and other Forestry Projects 

Yana Valachovic, UC Cooperative Extension


Update on Disease Spread and Development in California: What Can the North Coast Expect? 

Janet Klein, MMWD Marin County