Fire safe councils are grassroots community-based organizations which share the objective of making California's communities less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire. Fire safe councils accomplish this objective through education programs and projects such as shaded fuel breaks or firebreaks to protect area residents against an oncoming wildfire and to provide fire fighters with a place to fight the oncoming fire. The first fire safe councils started in the early 1990s, and there are now over 100 around the state.)
(An exception to the grassroots formation is the California Fire Safe Council, Inc. (CFSCI). Since its incorporation in mid-2002, the primary role of the CFSCI has been to operate the Fire Safe California Grants Clearinghouse on behalf of the California Fire Alliance. Thus, in the rest of this article the true grassroots fire safe councils are referred to as "local fire safe councils" (FSCs) in order to distinguish them from the CFSCI.)
Local fire safe councils usually include representatives from:
- Fire agencies, including the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF or CAL FIRE), the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and/or local fire protection districts as appropriate;
- Local governments, such as city and/or county;
- Businesses, especially insurance;
- Other agencies, such as Resource Conservation Districts; and
- The public
The fire agency and local government representatives may be members of the FSC, or may serve in an advisory capacity, depending on local needs.
All fire safe councils are independent entities. Some are organized as non-profit 501(c)(3) corporations; others operate under a memorandum of understanding with a county, city, and/or local fire protection district; some have no formal structure at all.
Fire safe councils vary in focus. Some are county-wide, while others comprise only the Homeowner's Association in a subdivision, to all sizes in between. There are also several regional associations of fire safe councils.
While some fire safe councils have paid staff, such as an Executive Director, and may have grant funding for fuel reduction projects, all FSCs rely heavily on volunteers for much of their work.
The community-based approach to reducing wildfire risk is being implemented in other locations in the United States. The Nevada Fire Safe Council and FireSafe Montana are examples. Firewise Communities/USA are also community-based organizations focused on wildfire mitigation throughout the US, including California.
Read more about Fire Safe Councils: Networking For Fire Safe Councils, Examples of Fire Safe Council Accomplishments, Recognition of Fire Safe Councils, Relationship With The California Fire Safe Council, Inc., Firewise and Firewise Communities/USA, How To Start A Fire Safe Council, Resources, See Also
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