The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, Inc. (MCFSC), was founded in 2003 by Colin Wilson, then President of the Mendocino County Fire Chiefs Association, and Julie Rogers. A primary motivation for starting the Council was the realization that county residents tend to rely too heavily on fire suppression resources without taking responsibility for their own safety, thus putting both themselves and firefighters in harm’s way needlessly.
The first meeting toward creation of a fire safety effort, held in September 2003, was attended by ten local and CAL FIRE chiefs, who decided that a Fire Safe Council was the best format for such an effort. Such Councils, they learned, already existed in all their neighboring counties. In November 2003 four county residents attended a regional Firewise Communities workshop, at which they realized that local Fire Safe groups working under the umbrella of a county-wide organization was the best working model for this county.
The MCFSC now has an office in the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District offices at 410 Jones Street in Ukiah.
MCFSC’S GOALS AND MISSION
The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is a coalition of individuals, businesses, and public and private agencies who share the goal of preventing loss of life, destruction of property, and damage to the environment caused by wildfire. The Council seeks to establish a broad partnership of stakeholders who will pool their resources and energies to pursue this common goal for the common good. The formal goals of the Council are:
- Work to minimize losses to values at stake, which include but are not limited to human lives, homes, animals, and natural resources;
- Educate residents, agencies, and other stakeholders about the nature and impacts of wildfire, fire prevention strategies, and effective preparedness in the event that wildfire occurs;
- Secure and utilize funding to assist residents in education, outreach, community projects, and other activities that further the mission and objectives of the Council;
- Encourage road associations, homeowner groups, subdivisions, towns, and other community groups to create their own Fire Safe Councils; and
- Act as an advocate for the people of Mendocino County in the area of fire prevention.
LOCAL FIRE SAFE COUNCILS
The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council encourages road associations, homeowner groups, subdivisions, towns, and any housing clusters to create their own local Fire Safe Councils. These groups need not have a formal or legal structure; they need only the desire to make themselves fire safe and to educate and encourage their neighbors to do the same. The MCFSC is available to – and does — assist local Councils in these ways:
- Leading or participating in local educational events
- Providing educational materials for local distribution
- Connecting local Councils with Fire Safe service providers and vendors, other Councils, and anyone else who can assist their efforts
- Seeking grant funding for vegetation reduction or address/signage projects
- Providing financial services such as holding trust funds or administering grant monies
- Generally assisting with administrative, business, financial, and legal functions, leaving local groups free to do on-the-ground projects and education
Each Local Fire Safe Group/Council identifies and prioritizes areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments and has identified the types and methods of treatments and programs that will help protect the community and its essential infrastructure. Each plan contains recommended measure that homeowners and the community can take to reduce the ignitability of structures within the corresponding group/council area.