Regional approach to wildfires more comprehensive, equitable – forest research and accessibility

It promises to build resilience in a pilot program in Santa Barbara County.

A.D. Following the 2003 wildfires around Southern California, many counties, cities, and neighborhoods have adopted community wildlife conservation plans to improve their preparedness and response. But Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Rob Hazard, CWPPs, and Treasurer noted that even in areas prone to wildfires, they are evenly distributed.

“The richer communities, the whites, the ones who get the subsidy, the ones who get the projects to reduce the risks,” Hazard said.

Mapping those unprotected communities – and making sure they have a more equitable focus area – are some of the goals of the ongoing wildfire in Santa Barbara County. This “Regional Wildfire Reduction Program” aims to fill the many gaps left by CWPs, which will focus more on fuel reduction for a specific area.

California Cooperative Extension State State Wildlife Specialist Max Moritz said: “They are really focusing on modeling and prioritizing oil breaks, and they leave all these other fire problems – our vulnerabilities, our potential faults – unresolved.”

Moritz is the co-author of a recently published research article. Use policies and management choices) and community (educating the public on home improvement and other issues).

“It’s a holistic approach that unites all of these components, and each of these components communicates with each other – they can’t be independent,” said study co-author Hazard.

Looking for a better way

A.D. After the Thomas-18 Fire destroyed the area in 2017-18 and caused a landslide in the Montesso deadly slum, Moritz – Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Management at Santa Santa Barbara Branch – sought more comprehensive mapping and mitigation solutions to meet CWPP efforts.

He joined Hazard, where he worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a “fresh team” firefighter and for 25 years with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

“We both believe it is a stress – yes, it strengthens the home – but it is also a defense, but there are some fuel treatments, but some of it is prescribed fire, but it is some kind of farm belt,” Hazard said. We have seen it right, and in Santa Barbara County there is something that works or does not work in every community.

By the end of the pilot program on the southern coast of Santa Barbara County, the team hopes to clarify a “decision support system” that other communities in the state – and perhaps around the world – can use. The framework includes local disaster risk assessment information and conditions to list the priority projects for wildfires in the three “domains”.

Being able to adapt to new information and the subsequent changes in ecology, communities and climate is another benefit of RWMP. Unlike the specific “plan” of the first and last days, this firefighting “program” is designed to capture and improve when conditions change. The goal is to encourage and guide risk reduction activities in each domain.

“The program is a live program, so there will be no PDFs stored anywhere on the server,” Hazard said.

One of the first lessons of the RWMP pilot – in addition to funding – is the need for an independent community community to continue its wildfire prevention program.

“We need a team in every community that is ready to take on this. “In many communities, this may be the Fire Council.”

Building ‘Firewise’ communities

According to the California Fire Protection Council, local fire safety councils are community-based organizations that protect their homes, communities and neighborhoods from wildfires.

And Moritz, Hazard, and other professionals serving on the volunteer board of the Santa Barbara County Fire Safety Board soon realized that they needed to hire staff to do a “community domain” job of educating and reaching residents.

The $ 5 million grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for the RWMP project helped build the council’s capacity, which hired Anne Marie Parkinson last fall.

Parkinson, a graduate of USBS, says: “Many people understand the importance of having community activists or leaders who are responsible for organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing, organizing. Bren School and co-author of RWMP Studies.

Parkinson’s is working to gain recognition from communities through the FireWis USA National Fire Protection Association program to strengthen wildlife preparedness and risk reduction.

Encouraged by the awareness and activism of the community she encountered, Parkinson heard of the need for more resilient forces and networks – concerns that could be better addressed by combining those questions with a regional approach.

“When we work with multiple communities, you can start mapping which communities need better telecommunications, and which communities will benefit from the local oil cuts, and then we can write a gift that will benefit five communities rather than a little help,” said Parkinson.

Going forward

There are many communities in need of assistance in fire-prone areas, and climate change is making their situation even more urgent, Moritz said, and a new and comprehensive framework – RWMP – is now available to assess and mitigate many risks.

“Each community has its own unique fire hazards and its own geographical location and vulnerability to those neighborhoods,” he said. But while each community and each region is unique, I hope this provides a somewhat strategic approach to growth and overall risk mitigation.

Other authors include Kelly Johnston, Molly Moverry, and Kathy Oran at the Community Wildlife Planning Center. Mark Myce Special Informatics Group: Natural Resources Laboratory and UC Santa Barbara Earth Research Institute; Graham Wesowowski Special Informatics Group: Natural Resources Laboratory; And David Schmidt’s Special Informatics Team. The article is published at Forest Forest and Global Change at

Those interested in learning more about the RWMP approach are encouraged to contact Graham Wesolovsky at or Max Moritz at

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