County approves wildfire plan

Danielle Jester
Those who worked to formulate the nearly 300- page Siskiyou County wildfire planning document spoke at last week’s Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors meeting, including Julie Titus, Lead Wildfire/Fuels Planner; Jay Perkins, Wildfire Behavior Analyst; Phil Anzo, CAL FIRE’s Siskiyou Unit Chief; and Bernie Paul, President of Siskiyou County Fire Chiefs’ Association.

The nearly 300-page result of a two year countywide effort to help local communities prepare for and protect against wildfires was unanimously approved by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors on May 21.

“This plan is what the Fire Chiefs have been waiting for,” said Siskiyou County Fire Chiefs’ Association President Bernie Paul. “A lot of us who have been in fire for a long time know where our problem areas are and this validates it. This is the best plan I have seen throughout the state; with all the different tools we have in (this) one plan.”

Paul also stated that the wildfire plan will make local agencies more competitive for fuels reduction projects and grant funding.

District 5 Supervisor Ray Haupt encouraged the plan’s representatives to explore how the plan can be used most effectively and broadly in the county.

The Siskiyou County Community Wildfire Protection Plan was presented by wildland fire and fuels specialist Julie Titus, CAL FIRE Siskiyou Unit Chief Phil Anzo, Paul, and wildfire analyst Jay Perkins.

The project of creating the wildfire plan was actuated by two grants received by the Fire Safe Council of Siskiyou County, courtesy of the US Forest Service and CAL FIRE, according to a press release. Contractor team, Proactive Wildland Resources, was selected to perform the process of updating all policy and data and in addition, the team provided wildfire science and maps to make the document useful, reader/user friendly and an excellent tool for any entity in Siskiyou County that may find it necessary to write their own localized plan, the release explained.

Proactive Wildland Resources is a group of fire planning experts from Siskiyou County who have spent many years in fire planning and suppression. The staff consists of Titus, Lead Wildfire/Fuels Planner: Jay Perkins, Wildfire Behavior Analyst; John Kessler, Registered Professional Forester; Kelvin Clark, GIS expert: Sue Constantinides, editor.

Their final product, the CWPP, is one of the finest documents like this in the region, according to the release.

Several public meetings were held and were well attended allowing input and opinions to be considered and incorporated during the creation of the wildfire plan.

The plan states, “The primary purpose of this CWPP is to provide guidance that enhances protection of human life and to help Siskiyou County communities become more adaptable to wildfire, while reducing the wildfire threat to community values such as structures, critical infrastructure, businesses, and natural and historic resources. This CWPP is designed to guide future actions by residents, property owners, business owners, homeowners’ associations, fire safe councils, agencies and citizens. It will provide an understanding of how to plan and implement specific actions to reduce wildfire threat, live more safely in a wildfire prone environment, and build more resilient communities.”

The plan provides information on the local climate and its risk factors, along with area fire history. It explains fuel mitigation measures and other actions that should be undertaken to reduce wildfire threat. The plan goes on to detail concrete strategies for protecting human life, natural and cultural resources, and other values in the event of a wildfire.

The CWPP document and requisite maps can be found at under the CWPP tab.