CAL FIRE recently updated their Fire Hazard Severity Zones (FHSZ) for land in the State Responsibility Area (SRA) as required by state law. As a result of the update, 303,863 acres out of a total of 382,036 in the SRA have been classified as being in a Very High Hazard Zone. 76,021 acres are classified High Hazard and only 2,153 acres are considered Moderate Hazard.

Nevada County 2023 Fire Hazard Severity map
Nevada County 2023 Fire Hazard Severity map by CAL FIRE. You can download a high resolution pdf file here

Per CAL FIRE, “Fire Hazard Severity Zone maps evaluate “hazard,” not “risk”. They are like flood zone maps, where lands are described in terms of the probability level of a particular area being inundated by floodwaters, and not specifically prescriptive of impacts. “Hazard” is based on the physical conditions that create a likelihood and expected fire behavior over a 30 to 50-year period without considering mitigation measures such as home hardening, recent wildfire, or fuel reduction efforts. “Risk” is the potential damage a fire can do to the area under existing conditions, accounting for any modifications such as fuel reduction projects, defensible space, and ignition resistant building construction.”

Nevada County has a total area of 974 square miles, with 958 square miles or 613,120 acres of land and 16 square miles of water. Over half of the landmass is in the State Responsibility area which excludes the Town of Truckee and the Cities of Nevada City and Grass Valley. Municipalities are in the Local Responsibility Area (LRA) and federal lands in the Federal Responsibility Area (FRA.)

CAL FIRE will hold public hearings in every county to collect public comments. The Nevada County meeting is scheduled for January 5, 2023 at 10:00 am at the Nevada County Rood Center.

It bears repeating that Hazard classifications exclude any fuel modifications like shaded fuel breaks, defensible space you create around your home or home hardening efforts.

You can check your fire hazard zone below (scroll to the bottom of the splash screen and click/tap the ‘I understand’ box to access the CAL FIRE maps)