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Community Wildfire Protection Plans

There are four Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) that cover some of the most fire prone areas of Santa Clara County.  The first two CWPPs, for East Foothills and the Croy Fire Area, were developed by SCFSC under a Federal Grant from the USDI Bureau of Land Management in 2006-2007.  The third CWPP, for the Lexington Hills area, was developed by SCFSC with contributions from stakeholders and the community in 2008-2009.  The fourth CWPP, called the Palo Alto Foothills Fire Management Plan, was developed independently from SCFSC in 2008.  All of these CWPPs are available on our Web Site.

A new initiative to develop a Countywide CWPP, supported by CAL FIRE, started in 2014 (see Countywide CWPP below).

East Foothills and the Croy Fire Area CWPPs

SCFSC was selected for a 2006 grant from the USDI Bureau of Land Management to develop a CWPP.  I volunteered to help develop a CWPP for the East Foothills area because I thought I could somehow get it done.  Dave Athey wanted to develop a CWPP for the Croy Fire Area and said CAL FIRE (then CDF) would help.  This was early in the CWPP development process before the concept of developing a more general County-wide CWPP was established and we wanted to develop more detailed CWPPs for specific fire prone areas.

San Jose Fire Department (SJFD) supported the development of the East Foothills CWPP and, with the support of Battalion Chief José Luna, the SJFD Wildland Officer, Fire Captain José Guerrero, and I surveyed the most important fire prone areas.  This area is all in the SJFD coverage area even though most of the area is outside the San Jose City limits because SJFD covers this area under contract with Santa Clara County.

CAL FIRE is responsible for fire protection in the Croy Fire area and Fire Captain Nick Ciardella did the surveys for the Croy Fire Area CWPP.   A Request for Proposal was released to cover both CWPPs and Dudek was selected as the winning proposal.  However, this grant only had enough funds for one CWPP so Dudek did the fire hazard analysis and on-site verification and we each wrote various sections of the CWPPs to keep the project within the available funds. 

These CWPPs were completed in early 2007 and it was relatively easy to obtain the signatures for the Croy Fire Area CWPP because CAL FIRE could sign as the State Forester and the fire department responsible of the area. The only other signature needed was the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in September, 2008

Obtaining all the signatures for the East Foothills CWPP was more difficult because this CWPP had to be reviewed and approved by SJFD and the City of San Jose as well as CAL FIRE and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.  This process was completed in October, 2009.

Lexington Hills CWPP

The Lexington Hills CWPP was developed by SCFSC with contributions from stakeholders and the community.  A Request for Proposal was released and Anchor Point was selected as the winning proposal.  This CWPP involved many large stakeholders including CAL FIRE, Santa Clara County Fire Department, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Santa Clara Valley Water District and San Jose Water Company.  Several community organizations were also represented including Aldercroft Heights County Water District.  Rick Parfitt led the development of this CWPP and it was completed mid-2009 and the last signature was in January, 2010.

Palo Alto Foothills Fire Management Plan

The Palo Alto Foothills Fire Management Plan was developed independently from SCFSC by the Palo Alto Fire Department and Wildland Resource Management and was completed in early-2009.

Countywide CWPP

SCFSC applied for grants many times to develop a Countywide CWPP and Santa Clara County Fire Department also applied for a FEMA grant for this purpose. None of these grant applications were successful, primarily because the federal agencies had started to give higher scores for grant applications for fuel reduction projects. A new initiative to develop a Countywide CWPP, supported by CAL FIRE, started in 2014.

In November 2015, a kick-off meeting was held for the countywide CWPP led by retired CAL FIRE Unit Chief Dan Turner. CAL FIRE has allocated $250,000 for this CWPP.  SWCA Environmental Consultants headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is the consultant for this project. Intterra is the application that will be used for the fire behavior modeling. There will be community workshops in February 2016 in four different areas of the county to get the public involved in the process. The draft CWPP is due in May 2016 and the final version should be completed by July 2016.  Dan Turner is the retired Unit Chief of the San Luis Obispo Unit. Prior to his assignment in San Luis Obispo, he was a Division Chief in the San Mateo Santa Cruz Unit. Dan is now the Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator and Executive Director, Urban Forest Ecosystem Institute at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Dan is also the Business Manager of the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council.

From the Santa Clara County Fire Department RFP for this project: According to the Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office, there are over 12,700 parcels with habitable structures in identified State Responsibility Areas (SRA) and Local Responsibility Areas (LRA) fire hazard severity zones within Santa Clara County. Of these parcels, over 6,000 are in the SRA and about 6,700 are in LRA. CAL FIRE has identified 14 communities at risk to wildfire within the County of Santa Clara, which are being served by six fire agencies. Four of these communities have existing CWPPs.

The countywide CWPP will put all the communities at risk to wildfire in one planning document that will be utilized by CAL FIRE, local fire agencies and the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council in prioritizing the placement and maintenance of shaded fuel breaks, fuel reduction programs and public education campaigns. County Fire, in conjunction with the Santa Clara County Fire Chiefs Association, the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council, the County of Santa Clara and other entities are seeking one comprehensive countywide CWPP.

Severe wildfires in recent years prompted several communities and the FireSafe Council to independently craft plans for addressing wildfire risk in their immediate vicinity. Agencies and partners in Santa Clara have been active in such projects as chipping programs, Special Needs Assistance Programs, defensible space, roadside fuels reduction, private landowner fuel breaks, defensible space inspection programs, and the identification of evacuation routes.

The development of a countywide CWPP is the next step in helping to make this County more fire safe and to define and prioritize specific fuel reduction projects for implementation.

Next: Jan Moves to Placerville  |  SCFSC History Table of Contents

References for this chapter:
SCFSC Community Wildfire Protection Plans

Questions?

Is this an official history of the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council?

No, this is how Judy and I remember it plus the contributions of many past and present SCFSC participants.

Can I contribute?

Yes, your comments are welcome and appreciated. Please use the Comment form at the bottom of each history page or use the Contact form.

Are we done yet?

No, there will be many more pages, photos and contributions.  Hopefully, the history of SCFSC will never be finished.

Is there a Table of Contents?

Table of Contents,
SCFSC People

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