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Sacramento, Aug. 30, 2018 – As destructive wildfires continue to burn throughout California, the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (Board) took action last week in adoption of the 2018 Strategic Fire Plan. The Strategic Fire Plan for California is the State’s road map for reducing the risk and impacts from wildland fires.
“We continue to experience large and damaging wildfires across our State and must work to break the cycle,” said J. Keith Gilless, Chair of the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. “This plan addresses the need for continued efforts to prevent wildfire, while considering recent climate considerations like drought and tree mortality.”
The plan update was developed over the past 21-months in a collaborative effort between the Board, CAL FIRE, stakeholders, and public input. “Significant effort went into the development of this plan, and now we have updated policy to guide us through current and future fire seasons.” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director.
The Strategic Fire Plan places an emphasis on what needs to be done long before a fire starts, while also looking to reduce firefighting costs, property losses, increasing firefighter safety, and contributing to forest health. The 2018 Strategic Fire Plan has seven goals that include: analyzing the fire risk, supporting land use planning, community preparedness planning, public education, integrating landowner fuels management, identifying fire suppression resources, increasing fire prevention efforts, and post wildfire recovery.
Since the last iteration of the Strategic Fire Plan in 2010, it appears that the impacts of climate change has resulted in increased severity of wildfires, longer fire seasons, increased extreme weather conditions, historic drought, and led to our State’s worst tree mortality epidemic in history. The 2018 Strategic Fire Plan addresses these issues and highlights the need for heightened levels of fire prevention and protection of natural resources.
“The 2010 Fire Plan served us well in navigating one of California’s worst droughts,” said Chief Daniel Berlant, CAL FIRE assistant deputy director and co-chair of the Fire Plan Steering Committee. “This new plan will continue to provide us a framework to reduce California’s growing wildfire risk.”
The State’s Strategic Fire Plan is updated every 8-10 years. Annually, CAL FIRE provides an update to the Board to report on the progress in plan implementation and on successes, as well as challenges. Each CAL FIRE Unit and Contract County develop local fire plans based on the guidance provided in the 2018 Strategic Fire Plan.