The Handbook mentioned above recommends eight steps in preparing a CWPP:
1) Convene decision-makers
2) Involve federal agencies
3) Engage interested parties
4) Establish a community base map
5) Develop a community risk assessment
6) Establish community hazard reduction priorities and recommendations to reduce structural ignitability
7) Develop an action plan and assessment strategy
8) Finalize the CWPP
… plus providing for ongoing updates
This Plan is primarily a blending of recently-updated CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit data with fresh, local, grass-roots input.
We hope that this is the last print version of the plan. MCFSC is creating a digital version of the Plan to facilitate future updates. We will include in the digital version of the plan an easy method to submit updates by sub-areas so that our fire planning efforts in Mendocino County will be continuously up-to-date.
GEOGRAPHICAL PLANNING STRUCTURE
At the first Planning Collaborative meeting, it was determined that, for CWPP purposes, the county’s communities would be grouped into Planning Zones equivalent to the Mutual Aid Zones utilized by local emergency response personnel. Resources within a Mutual Aid Zone are called upon by local emergency responders — fire and medical alike — when a fire or other emergency exceeds the response capability of the local agency. These zones generally follow watershed boundaries and correlate closely with CAL FIRE battalions. The comparison is as follows:
Planning Zone 1: North and northeast areas of county
CAL FIRE Battalions 1, 2, and 4
Towns and fire departments: Covelo, Willits, Brooktrails, Laytonville, Leggett, and Piercy
Watersheds: Eel River, including North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork
Planning Zone 2: Southeast and central portion of county
CAL FIRE Battalion 3
Towns and fire departments: Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Hopland, and Potter Valley
Watersheds: Russian River, plus Eel River north of Potter Valley
Planning Zone 3: Southwest area of county
CAL FIRE Battalion 5
Towns and fire departments: from Anderson Valley, including Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, and Navarro, to Gualala, Point Arena, Manchester, and Elk on the South Coast
Watersheds: North Fork Gualala, Garcia, Russian, and Navarro Rivers, and Dry Creek
Planning Zone 4: West central and coastal region of county
CAL FIRE Battalion 6
Towns and fire departments: Albion, Little River, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, and Westport on the coast, plus Comptche nine miles inland of Mendocino
Watersheds: Albion, Big, Noyo, and Ten Mile Rivers, and Salmon Creek
CAL FIRE’S FIRE MANAGEMENT PLANNING PROCESS OVERVIEW
CAL FIRE has initiated a state-wide pre-fire management initiative to reduce wildland fires and the costs of suppressing them. This initiative includes a systematic application of risk assessment, fire safety, fire prevention, and fire hazard reduction techniques. The goal of the initiative is to identify — for state, federal, and local officials, and the public — those areas within the State Responsibility Areas that are high priorities in terms of assets at risk and have a high probability of large wildfires, with associated costs and losses. Identifying these will allow public and government decision-makers to focus on what can be done to develop wildfire protection zones and reduce costs and losses in these areas. The end product of this CAL FIRE initiative is the California Fire Plan. The Mendocino Unit Fire Plan uses the same processes that the state Fire Plan uses to develop a working plan.
The assumption used in developing this Pre-Fire Management Unit Plan is that a proposed pre-fire project will reduce costs and losses during periods of severe fire weather, which is when most of California’s wildfire costs and losses occur. Once a pre-fire management project is accomplished, a large fire burning in that specific high-risk /high-value area would be contained at a smaller size, burn with lower temperatures and severity, incur significantly reduced suppression costs, and result in substantially lower levels of losses.
CALIFORNIA FIRE PLAN GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The overall goal of the California Fire Plan (2010) is to reduce total costs and losses from wildland fires in California by protecting assets at risk through focused pre-fire management prescriptions and increased initial attack success. The California Fire Plan has five strategic objectives:
- To create wildfire protection zones that reduce the risks to citizens and firefighters
- To assess all wildlands, not just State Responsibility Areas. Analysis will include all wildland fire service providers: federal, state, local, and private. The analysis will identify high-risk / high-value areas, and determine who is responsible, who is responding, and who is paying for fire emergencies.
- To identify and analyze key policy issues and develop recommendations for changes in public policy. Analyses will include alternatives which will reduce total costs and losses by increasing fire protection system effectiveness.
- To have a strong fiscal policy, to focus and monitor the wildland fire protection system in fiscal terms. This will include all public and private expenditures and economic losses.
- To translate the analyses into public policies.
A large portion of Mendocino County has residents living in the State Responsibility Area served by CAL FIRE, so we include the Mendocino Unit Plan as a core of our plan. We rely on their professional assessment of risk to guide rural residents and their individual neighborhood planning efforts.