Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

A community that survived a wildfire in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Park and Stakeholders Collaborate to Create
Regional Plan

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California
National Fire Plan, Community Assistance*

A federal grant in place through the California Fire Safe Council with a community in the Santa Monica Mountains has helped to create a Regional Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). To help write the CWPP, a contract with "ForEverGreen Forestry" was established and the year-long collaboration process with NPS, state and local parks, local fire departments and the community began. The purpose of a CWPP is to help identify community needs such has wildfire hazard mitigation, community preparedness, structure integrity and wildfire response. This CWPP is a collaborative effort with all levels of government involved, but with the idea that the individual communities take real ownership of its content.

The process of developing a CWPP can help a community clarify and refine its priorities for the protection of life, property, and critical infrastructure in the wildland-urban interface as it pertains to wildfire. A key element in community fire planning should be the meaningful discussion it promotes among community members regarding their priorities for local fire protection and land management. It can also lead community members through valuable discussions regarding fuels management options and implications for the surrounding watersheds.

To ensure community involvement in the collaboration process for the Santa Monica Mountains CWPP, over 20 public meetings were held over a one-year period beginning in October 2009. The meetings were held in communities throughout the Santa Monica Mountains and were facilitated by the contractor from "ForEverGreen Forestry" along with staff from NPS fire management at Santa Monica Mountains, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Ventura County Fire Department and California State Parks. From these meetings, valuable information such as local knowledge of rural road ways, bridge load limits, locations of water tanks and even identifying who had swimming pools was gathered and submitted into the plan. Also, a common occurrence at each of the meetings was the constructive communication amongst neighbors about how they needed to better prepare their community against wildfire.

The goal is that this plan will help serve as a guide for the communities to use as they plan and prioritize projects which will help reduce the threat of wildfire to their communities. The plan is currently with local government to be reviewed and signed with the hopes of being completed by the beginning of 2011.

Contact: Mike Wilson, Fire Communication and Education Specialist
Phone: (805) 370-2364

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives.