Fire safe councils


Fire safe councils

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 [http://www.grants.firesafecouncil.org/ Grants Clearinghouse] on behalf of the [http://www.cafirealliance.org/ 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 [http://www.carcd.org/ 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 and the world. The [http://nvfsc.org/nvfsc/ Nevada Fire Safe Council] in the state of Nevada and [http://www.firesafespokane.com/ Fire Safe Spokane] in the state of Washington are examples in the United States. The [http://www.fesa.wa.gov.au/internet/default.aspx?MenuID=324 Bush Fire Ready Action Groups] is an example outside of the US. [http://firewise.org/usa/index.htm Firewise Communities/USA] are also community-based organizations focused on wildfire mitigation throughout the US, including California.

Evolution of fire safe councils

The “Fire Safe” concept

The "Operation Fire Safe" wildfire prevention program was begun in 1968 ["Operation FIRE SAFE!," State of California Resources Agency, Department of Conservation, Division of Forestry, 1968] by the State of California Resources Agency, Department of Conservation, Division of Forestry, (CDF or CAL FIRE) in response to changing wildfire conditions resulting from more and more homes being built in rural areas that were formerly wildland. (The term “Wildland Urban Interface” [http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/fire_er/fpp_terminology?filter=W “Wildland Urban Interface”] , or WUI, is used to describe this area.)

Next, the "Fire Safe! Inside and Out" wildfire prevention campaign was developed in 1989 by Loren Poore, Chief of Fire Prevention with CDF. ["Two Longtime CDFers Retire from Fire Prevention", CDF Communiqué, January/February 1994] This program created materials, including a video, a brochure, [ [http://cid-b39aaa958d967857.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/Public "Fire Safe Inside and Out Brochure"] ] and other items, to educate homeowners about implementing fire safe practices inside and outside the home. Defensible space began to become the catchword for protecting homes and wildlands in the WUI. At this time, most wildfire safety education was conducted by members of the CDF Volunteers in Prevention (VIP) program. [http://frap.cdf.ca.gov/publications/flammable_state.html "California--The Flammable State",] Richard A. Wilson, Director of CDF, CDF Comment, July 1994, retrieved on March 18, 2008]

The Oakland Firestorm of 1991 provided a new incentive to increase wildfire prevention education and activities, and CDF formed the Fire Safe Advisory Council, AKA the Fire Safe Council, which included insurance industry representatives, wildland firefighting agencies (such as the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)), private industry, and the public.

The first fire safe councils

In the early 1990’s, three organizations were formed that were precursors of what eventually became known as local, community-based Fire Safe Councils::*The Oakhurst Fire Safe Program, located in the central Sierra foothills, was formed as a joint effort by CDF and the US Forest Service, National Park Service, local agencies, community groups, and businesses seeking to formalize a cooperative fire prevention relationship. This program has evolved into the present-day [http://www.mariposafiresafe.org/ Mariposa County Fire Safe Council] .

:*The Fire Safe Committee of San Mateo County (now [http://www.smcfiresafe.org/ Fire Safe San Mateo County] ) was formed by the local community. [ [http://www.canonbal.org/chronoset.html "200 Years of History Uninterrupted By Progress"] , Steve Kennedy, The Cannonball Express, retrieved on March 18, 2008]

:* [http://www.firesafemarin.org/ Fire Safe Marin] in Marin County was formed by the local community in 1992 and remains active today. [ [http://www.nps.gov/pore/parkmgmt/upload/firemanagement_fireeducation_mij_peopleparksfire_021005_p03.pdf "FIRESafe MARIN, 1992-2002, Celebrating the Past, Preparing For the Future"] , retrieved on March 18, 2008]

The 1993 Firestorm in Southern California was another major wildfire event. The losses in the Laguna Beach/Emerald Bay area alone made it one of the 10 largest-loss fires in U.S. history as of that date. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_1998_Oct_16/ai_53090162 "Five Years Later, Laguna Becomes Model for Fire Safety; From the Front Lines of 1993 Firestorm to the Forefront of Fire Safety"] , Business Wire, October 16, 1998] Residents of the Laguna Beach area formed three committees to deal with the losses as well as to prevent, or at least reduce, future losses. [ [http://www.csulb.edu/~dhorne/b_C_resume.htm Personal Profile, David Horne, PhD.] , retrieved on March 18, 2008] These groups evolved into the present-day [http://www.lagunacoastfiresafecouncil.org/ Greater Laguna Coast Fire Safe Council] .

CDF support for fire safe councils

In support of the community-based efforts, CDF began including these local groups in its Fire Safe Council. The coalition was headed by the CDF Public Education Officer. ["California’s I-Zone: Urban Wildland Fire Prevention and Mitigation", CDF Office of the State Fire Marshal, 1996] Sometime after 1996, as more and more communities started local Fire Safe Councils throughout the state, the Fire Safe Council became known as the "California" Fire Safe Council (CFSC). The CFSC was a precursor of the current California Fire Safe Council, Inc. (CFSCI).

Through the CFSC, CDF provided assistance to local fire safe councils via monthly meetings where local fire safe councils, and other organizations sharing the fire safe mission, could network; marketing literature such as a brochure; development of videos and Public Service Announcements; a [http://cid-b39aaa958d967857.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/Public?uc=2 handbook on how to form a Fire Safe Council] ; and other materials. Marketing support was provided under a contract with the public relations firm [http://www.mslpr.com Manning Selvage & Lee] , which had an office on K Street in Sacramento at the time.

This overall support from CDF ceased when the California Fire Safe Council, Inc. was formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in mid-2002. However, most individual CDF/CAL FIRE Units continue to work closely with their local area fire safe councils, often providing "in-kind" matching funds for grants as well as advice on fire safe projects.

The number of fire safe councils expands

With active support from CDF and its California Fire Safe Council coalition, more and more communities began forming local Fire Safe Councils. Expansion of the program accelerated after the [http://www.firesafecouncilnevco.com/ Fire Safe Council of Nevada County] (FSC/NC) received a [http://www.wflccenter.org/about/wildland_fire_protection.php Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) grant] in 1998. One of the conditions of the WUI grant was that the Executive Director of the FSC/NC take an active role in assisting other communities to form Fire Safe Councils, and aid in their success.

Now, over 100 local Fire Safe Councils are active in California alone, with more forming all the time.

Funding for fire safe councils

Federal funding

Since 2000, the [http://www.forestsandrangelands.gov National Fire Plan] and the subsequent Healthy Forests Initiative (HFI) have been the primary source of funding for fire safe councils to do fuel reduction projects on private lands. Currently, in California and Nevada these funds are administered by the California Fire Safe Council, Inc. (CFSCI) which operates the [http://www.grants.firesafecouncil.org/ Grants Clearinghouse] on behalf of the [http://www.cafirealliance.org/ California Fire Alliance.] Funding is provided to the Grants Clearinghouse by the US Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. In fiscal year 2008-2009, 119 projects throughout California and Nevada will be administered by the Grants Clearinghouse for a total of $13,159,683. [http://www.grants.firesafecouncil.org/funded_projects.cfm] . (Note that these agencies, notably the USFS, have other grant funding streams that do not go through the Clearinghouse.) Since there is a restriction by these funding sources that projects be "in the vicinity" of Federal lands (generally interpreted to mean within 1.5 miles unless otherwise specified by an approved [http://www.cafirealliance.org/cwpp/ Community Wildfire Protection Plan] ), many FSCs are not able to qualify. These programs are due to sunset in the next few years unless Congress takes action to renew them.

Title II and Title III funds from the [https://wwwnotes.fs.fed.us/r4/payments_to_states.nsf/ Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000] (AKA "HR 2389") have been another source of funds for FSCs in Counties that qualify for HR 2389 payments, especially for staff, operations, and education projects, as funds from the Grants Clearinghouse are generally not available for these functions. In FY 2008, the state of California received a total of $3,892,863 in Title II funds, and $6,888,856.96 in Title III. These funds are paid to Counties, and it is up to the Counties to decide how they are used. Many Counties use at least a portion of the funds for fire safe activities. Unfortunately, HR 2389 expired at the end of 2006. Congress approved an emergency one-year extension, but failed to fully re-enact and fund new legislation.

tate funding

While there is no statewide funding source specifically for fire safe projects as of 2008, there are two state programs that can be used by the FSCs fortunate to be located in the Counties that qualify. Both have a limited life span unless reauthorized by the State Legislature. The [http://www.cdf.ca.gov/resource_mgt/resource_mgt_forestryassistance_prop40.php Proposition 40] , the California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002, is operated on behalf of CAL FIRE by the Sierra Coordinated Resource Management Council (SCRMC), a Joint Powers Agreement with the [http://www.carcd.org/ Resource Conservation Districts] in the 15 Counties covered by Prop 40. These funds can be used for fuel reduction projects on non-Federal lands by either government agencies or nonprofit organizations.

In 2006, voters passed Proposition 84, also known as the [http://sierranevadaconservancy.ca.gov/ Sierra Nevada Conservancy,] which approved $5.4 billion in bonds to fund programs for safe water supply and quality, flood control, park improvements and natural resource protection. Since catastrophic wildfire is detrimental to water quality and to natural resources, some fire safe projects are eligible for funding from the Conservancy if they are located in the Sierra Nevada region.

All of the State and Federal funding sources described in this section require matching funds, either in the form of cash or "in kind", such as labor, materials, vehicles, etc. While not a formal program, most CAL FIRE units provide financial assistance to their local fire safe councils in the form of "in kind" matching funds for grants.

Other funding sources

Other sources of funds for fire safe councils are donations from the community, membership dues, grants from sources other than listed here, and funding from their County and/or City government. In addition, a percentage for administration is usually a component of any grants received, although these funds are restricted in that they can only be used an activities associated with the particular grant and must be accounted for to the funding agency.

Examples of fire safe council accomplishments

This section is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to give a few examples of what has been accomplished by fire safe councils over the years. Most of these projects are funded by grants.

pecial needs assistance

Many fire safe councils operate a program that assists people with special needs, such as seniors, low-income, and disabled persons, to create and maintain the defensible space around their home. Some examples are:
* [http://http://www.edcfiresafe.org/free_vegetation_removal.htm El Dorado County Fire Safe Council Senior Assistance]
* [http://www.plumasfiresafe.org/Documents/Plumas%20County%20Fire%20Safe%20Council%20Application%20for%20Eld-Dis%20Program.pdf Plumas County Fire Safe Council Senior & Disabled Assistance Program]
* [http://www.firesafecouncilnevco.com/services.htm Fire Safe Council of Nevada County Seniors & Disabled Assistance Program]

Free chipper program

One difficulty homeowners have with creating and maintaining defensible space is what to do with the vegetation once it is removed. To help with this, many fire safe councils provide free access to a chipper. Some examples are:
* [http://www.krvfiresafecouncil.org/ChipperDays.htm Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council Chipper Days]
* [http://www.buttefiresafe.org/chipper.php Butte County Fire Safe Council Chipper Program]
* [http://www.southlakefiresafecouncil.org/chipping.htm South Lake Fire Safe Council Free wood chipping]

Defensible space inspection/education program

The purpose of these programs is to educate homeonwers as to what they need to do to create adequate defensible space and sometimes also give suggestions about modifications to make to the home itself to make it more resistant to wildfire. These are also called "dooryard visits" by some fire safe councils. These volunteers are trained by their local CAL FIRE Unit or their local Fire Protection District.
* [http://www.buttefiresafe.org/homevisit.php Butte County Fire Safe Council Fire Safe Home Visit Program]
* [http://www.firesafecouncil.org/education/attachments/LytleCreekHomeInspectionReport.doc Lytle Creek Fire Safe Council Home Inspection]

Fuel breaks

While defensible space protects homes from wildfire, firebreaks, also called fuel breaks, protect communities. These may also be referred to as "shaded fuel breaks". Fuel breaks are usually linear. The US Forest Service also uses the [http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/snfpa/draft-seis/pdf/ch2.pdf Strategically Placed Area Treatment] (SPLAT) concept. SPLATs may be any shape. Many fuel breaks have been created by fire safe councils, using grant funding. Some examples are:
* [http://www.mcfsc.org/PCFuelBreakProj.htm Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council Pine Cove Fuel Break]
* [http://www.maderafsc.org/html/past_projects/crooks_mountain.htm Eastern Madera County Fire Safe Council Crooks Mountain Fuel Break]
* [http://www.firesafeojai.org/content/view/23/59/ Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council City of Ojai Last Defense Fuel Break]

Community wildfire protection plan development

The Federal funding sources described in the section on Funding either require that projects be part of an approved [http://www.cafirealliance.org/cwpp/ Community Wildfire Protection Plan] (CWPP), or give preference to such projects. In response, many FSCs have taken a proactive role in getting these plans developed and approved, even though this responsibility really resides with local government. A list of approved plans is available at [http://www.cafirealliance.org/cwpp/cwpp_status Community Wildfire Protection Plans/CWPP Status] .

A sampling of other projects

*The Greater Laguna Coast Fire Safe Council [http://www.lagunacoastfiresafecouncil.org/red_flag_program.htm Red Flag Program] is designed to complement the official steps taken by the fire fighting professionals with the goal of providing a highly visible reminder to all citizens in the region to be extra careful and vigilant on the days when the Santa Ana winds blow.
*The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County has published the [http://www.firesafecouncilnevco.com/Publications/FSC_plant03.pdf Fire Wise Plants for Nevada County] , which is distributed by a local nursery. The nursery reported a significant shift in the mix of plants people purchase.
*A helpful tool for homeowners is a list of local contractors who do fuel reduction work. The Fire Safe Council of Nevada County maintains a [http://www.firesafecouncilnevco.com/contractors.htm Fuels Reduction Contractors List] , and the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council has a [http://www.edcfiresafe.org/contractors.htm Fuels Reduction Contractors List] .
*At the request of the [http://www.buttefiresafe.org Butte County Fire Safe Council,] California State Assemblyman Rick Keene authored legislation ( [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=ab_1883&sess=CUR&house=B&search_type=email AB 1883] ) to streamline the process by which local Fire Safe Councils may contract with CAL FIRE to have inmate fire crews implement fuel reduction projects. [http://republican.assembly.ca.gov/members/a3/Index.aspx?page=PR&pr=4892] This bill became law on August 4, 2008.

Recognition of fire safe councils

Many fire safe councils, as well as individual contributors, have received recognition for their efforts to improve the ability for California’s communities to survive wildfire. Since it is impossible to list all of these, the following examples are offered in honor of all who have contributed to this important effort.

National recognition

*In 2001, the Bronze Smokey Award was presented to the [http://firesafecouncilnevco.com/ Fire Safe Council of Nevada County] by the US Forest Service for providing outstanding public service in wildfire prevention. [http://biodiversity.ca.gov/Meetings/Minutes/Oct_01.pdf] The Bronze Smokey is the highest National honor given for community-based fire prevention work.

*In 2002, the [http://www.co.yuba.ca.us/firesafe/ Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council] received a Bronze Smokey from the USFS [http://www.symbols.gov/smokey/policy/2002SBAwardSummary.html]

*In 2003, Idyllwild's [http://www.mcfsc.org/ Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council] received a national award from the USFS in recognition of its contributions to the community over the past year. [http://www.mcfsc.org/FSAward2003.htm]

*In 2005, Luana Dowling, Fire Chief for Iowa Hill and Chair of the [http://www.firesafeforesthill.org/ Foresthill/Iowa Hill Fire Safe Council] , received recognition from the US Forest Service for her success in obtaining funding for, and then implementing, various fuel reduction projects on USFS and BLM land near Foresthill and Iowa Hill. [http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/newslog/january2006/focus/tahoe-award.html]

tate recognition

*In 2000, Laura Dyberg, President of the [http://www.mountainrimfiresafecouncil.org/ Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council] in Southern California, was named Woman of the Year for the 31st Senate District of California by Senator Jim Brulte [http://www.sen.ca.gov/ftp/sen/SENATOR/_ARCHIVE_2004/BRULTE/PRESS-RELEASES/2000WOMN.TXT]

*in 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger included fire safe councils in his Executive Order S-07-07 as one of the resources available to CAL FIRE “to support a heightened level of fire prevention public awareness and education” [http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/press-release/6174/]

*In 2008, the California Legislature enacted a joint resolution, SCR 80 (Cogdill) recognizing that “local Fire Safe Councils work to educate communities, provide wildfire safety planning, fire prevention, and educational programs throughout the state and remain a critical component of statewide fire protection efforts.” [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=scr_80&sess=CUR&house=B&author=cogdill]

Local recognition

* In 2003, [http://www.firesafemarin.org/ Fire Safe Marin] received the Regional Excellence Award from the Board of Supervisors for its work to support fire agencies across Marin County in protecting life, property and the environment for the citizens of Marin. [http://www.co.marin.ca.us/EFiles/BS/AgMn/agdocs/031125/031125-3-BS-Marin-RES.PDF]

*In 2004, Robin Yonash, Founder of the Greater Colfax Area Fire Safe Council, received a commendation from the Placer County Board of Supervisors for promoting fire safety throughout Placer County. [http://www.placer.ca.gov/bos/~/media/bos/cob/documents/sumarchv/BSSA_Stor/BSAA_2004.ashx]

*In 2006, the [http://fallbrookfiresafecouncil.org/ Fallbrook Fire Safe Council] was honored as the Fire Safe Council of the Year for San Diego County for “its extraordinary efforts to improve fire safety in the community” by the North County Fire Protection District (NCFPD). [http://www.thevillagenews.com/story.php?story_ID=18683]

*In 2006, Blair Ceniceros received a plaque from Riverside County commemorating his tenure as President of the [http://www.mcfsc.org/ Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council] . Ceniceros began his leadership as president of the MCFSC in 2003 and stepped down in May, 2006 but will remain on the Board. [http://www.mcfsc.org/Ceniceros.htm]

*On October 18, 2006, the third anniversary of the Cedar Fire entry into the City of San Diego, Jerry Mitchell, Director of the [http://srfiresafecouncil.org/ Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council] , was presented the Channel 10 (KGTV) Leadership Award for starting the fire safe council in October 2003. [http://srfiresafecouncil.org/SRFSCNotices.htm] Mr. Mitchell also received the [http://www.firesafesdcounty.org/ Fire Safe Council of San Diego County] Volunteer of the Year Award and a United States Senate Certificate of Appreciation. [http://www.10news.com/leadershipaward/10168944/detail.html]

*In 2007, The Greater Auburn Area Fire Safe Council was awarded the Citizen Outstanding Service Award by the Placer County Fire Chief's Association. The citizen-lead Greater Auburn Area Fire Safe Council was recognized for working hand-in-hand with local and state fire agencies in Auburn, Newcastle and Penryn, in identifying ways to educate residents on protecting their families and homes from wildfire. [http://www.auburnjournal.com/detail/60704.html?content_source=archive]

*In 2007, Janice Fast, a long time member, staunch supporter and volunteer of the [http://www.mcfsc.org/ Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council] was awarded the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council's first "Citizen of the Year" award. [http://www.mcfsc.org/JaniceF.htm]

*In 2008, Joanne Drummond, Executive Director of the [http://www.firesafecouncilnevco.com/ Fire Safe Council of Nevada County] , was given a special recognition award by the [http://www.ncrcd.org/home.html Nevada County Resource Conservation District] for her leadership role in fire safe activities and program development. [http://www.theunion.com/article/20080310/WEBUPDATE/177819187]

*The Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council received a Good Neighbor Award from the American Red Cross Inland Valley Chapter for community disaster preparedness efforts. [year unknown] [http://www.inlandvalleyredcross.org/article.aspx?&a=415]

Relationship with the California Fire Safe Council, Inc.

As described earlier in this article, initially fire safe councils throughout the state, with support from CDF staff and other organizations that shared the fire safe mission, comprised the California Fire Safe Council (CFSC).

However, with the incorporation of the California Fire Safe Council, Inc. (CFSCI) in mid-2002, the old inclusive CFSC disappeared and was replaced by an non-membership 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The CFSCI Board of Directors and its staff comprise the CFSCI. Local fire safe councils are no longer members and have minimal impact on, or knowledge of, decisions made by the CFSCI. The CFSCI is simply one more entity among the over 100 independent organizations that focus on wildfire safety throughout the state of California. It has a somewhat different function from local FSCs in that its primary role is to administer the Grants Clearinghouse on behalf of the California Fire Alliance.

Inaccuracies about the role and function of the California Fire Safe Council, Inc.

It appears that the CFSCI has not realized that a transition occurred when it was formed, as its members continue to make assertions that applied to the old CFSC, but are no longer accurate. The following examples, taken from CFSCI Chairman Bruce Turbeville's [http://www.oes.ca.gov/Operational/OESHome.nsf/PDF/7 presentation to the Governor's Blue Ribbon Fire Commission] , and from the [http://www.firesafecouncil.org/education/brochure/FSC_Brochure.pdf Fire Safe Council Brochure] , retrieved on September 16, 2008 are illustrative.

The corrections below are not intended to detract from the valuable service provided by the CFSCI in its administration of the Grants Clearinghouse. They simply indicate that the thinking of the CFSCI has not kept current with the changes that occurred when the CFSCI was formed.

"Ten years ago, CDF formed the California Fire Safe Council. … We believe we’ve been very successful. The Council is independent of CDF."
*The current CFSCI began when it was incorporated in mid-2002, which is when the previous CFSC, as a confederation of local councils, CDF staff, and other organizations supporting the fire safe mission, ceased to exist. The CFSCI was not formed by CDF, is not the same organization as the former CFSC, and should not claim a common history or take credit for results of the previous organization."We are the statewide umbrella organization that supports community fire safety efforts and creates consensus on fire safety among diverse audiences. In California, we are the community-level cooperators implementing the National Fire Plan."
*The CFSCI is not statewide. It is a business with headquarters in Glendora, California.
*The CFSCI is not an umbrella for anything. It is an independent business. In particular, it is not a parent organization of the more than 100 local fire safe councils in California and Nevada.
*The CFSCI does not create consensus among diverse audiences. This was true of the former CFSC, but not of the CFSCI. The CFSCI consists of a Board of Directors and some staff. The list of organizations at [http://www.firesafecouncil.org/about/ Who Comprises The Fire Safe Council?] is leftover from the old CFSC.
*The CFSCI is not a "community level cooperator." It is the local fire safe councils which operate at the community level.
*The CFSCI does not implement the National Fire Plan. It channels funding to the local FSCs, who are the implementers on private lands, while the Federal agencies implement the NFP on Federal lands."Our local Councils…"
*The local fire safe councils are not the property of the CFSCI."The Fire Safe Council is a coalition of public and private sector organizations that share a common, vested interest in reducing losses from wildfire.
*The current CFSCI is not a coalition. It is an independent non-membership 501(c)(3) business.
*Calling the CFSCI "the" Fire Safe Council is an affront to all of the local fire safe councils in California and Nevada."The Fire Safe Council empowers communities to become fire safe."
*It is the local community-based fire safe councils that empower their communities.

Exclusion of local fire safe councils from the process

The [http://cid-b39aaa958d967857.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Public/CFSCI%202003-01-15%20Bylaws.pdf CFSCI Bylaws] state: ”The general purpose of the advisory standing committees is to advise the Board of Directors and the at-large members [i.e. local Fire Safe Councils] . … Committee participation by at-large members is explicitly encouraged.” [emphasis is in the original document.] This membership would allow local councils to know what the CFSCI is doing, and to have some say in the matter. However, as of September 2008, local FSCs have been excluded from these committees, in violation of the Bylaws.

Thus, the only source of information about the activities and decisions of the CFSCI is to attend the public portion of its quarterly Board of Directors meetings. In general, this is not feasible for local FSCs due to the travel involved, so they must depend on the meeting minutes.

Minutes of the Board meetings are supposed to be posted in a timely manner to the CFSCI [http://www.firesafecouncil.org web site.] However, as of September 2008, minutes for half of the Board meetings were either incomplete or missing altogether. Further, much of the CFSCI business is conducted in "executive session" and the minutes do not list the topics discussed or the decisions reached.

While the CFSCI is not subject to the Brown Act, hopefully it will start to operate that way in the interests of open and transparent communication with the local fire safe councils, since many of its actions and decisions impact local councils. And hopefully it will start to actively include representatives of local councils on its committees.

Firewise and Firewise Communities/USA

[http://www.firewise.org/ Firewise] and the [http://www.firewise.org/usa/index.htm Firewise Communities/USA] program, part of the National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Program, differ from fire safe councils in that the Firewise program is nationwide while fire safe councils are mainly in California and Nevada. Outside of California and Nevada, where the concept of local fire safe councils is not well developed, Firewise Communities are the major community-based organizational structure.

The two approaches to motivating community members to take responsibility for preparing their communities to be better able to survive a wildfire are very compatible. The Firewise Communities in California are usually chapters of a county-wide fire safe council, but they can function independently if that best serves the community.

Firewise offers a wide range of resources, including the [http://www.firewise.org/resources/index.htm Firewise Catalog] , where materials can be ordered simply for the cost of shipping.

References

External links

California community-based fire safe councils

*Almanor Basin Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.alpinefiresafe.org/ Alpine Fire Safe Council]

*Alta Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.amadorfiresafe.org/ Amador Fire Safe Council]

*Angeles Forest Valleys & Lakes Fire Safe Council

*Angeles Oaks Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.arrowheadfsc.net/ Arrowhead Communities Fire Safe Council]

*Benton Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.bbvfsc.org/ Big Bear Valley Fire Safe Council]

*Big Santa Anita Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.buttefiresafe.org/ Butte County Fire Safe Council]

*Calaveras Foothills Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.firesafecouncil.org/ California Fire Safe Council]

* [http://cambriafiresafe.org/ Cambria Fire Safe Council]

*Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council

*Carveacre Fire Safe Council

*Chimney Canyon Fire Safe Council – see Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.cohassetcommunity.org/ Cohasset Community Association]

*Copco Lake/Bogus Fire Safe Council

*Cottonwood Creek Watershed Fire Safe Council

*Crest Fire Safe Council

*Day Lassen Bench Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.deerspringsfiresafecouncil.com/ Deer Springs Fire Safe Council]

*Del Norte Fire Safe Council

*Descanso Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.diablofiresafe.org/ Diablo Firesafe Council]

*East Foothills FireSafe Council

* [http://www.maderafsc.org/ Eastern Madera County Fire Safe Council]

* [http://easternsierrafirecouncil.org/ Eastern Sierra Regional Fire Safe Council]

* [http://www.edcfiresafe.org/ El Dorado County Fire Safe Council]

* [http://fallbrookfiresafecouncil.org/ Fallbrook Fire Safe Council]

*Fire Safe Council of Greater Julian

* [http://www.firesafecouncilnevco.com/ Fire Safe Council of Nevada County]

* [http://www.firesafesdcounty.org/ Fire Safe Council of San Diego County]

*Fire Safe Council of Siskiyou County
* [http://www.firesafemarin.org/ Fire Safe Marin]

* [http://www.smcfiresafe.org/ Fire Safe San Mateo County]

* [http://www.firesafesonoma.org/ Fire Safe Sonoma]

*Forest Ranch Preservation Alliance

* [http://www.firesafeforesthill.org/ Foresthill/Iowa Hill Fire Safe Council]

*French Creek Fire Safe Council

*Greater Alpine Fire Safe Council

*Greater Auburn Area Fire Safe Council

*Greater Colfax Area Fire Safe Council

*Greater Julian Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.lagunacoastfiresafecouncil.org/ Greater Laguna Coast Fire Safe Council]

* [http://www.tehachapifiresafe.com/ Greater Tehachapi Fire Safe Council]

*Greater Vista Fire Safe Council

*Greater Weed Area Fire Safe Council

*Happy Camp Fire Safe Council

*Harrison Park Fire Safe Council

*Highway 108 Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.highway168firesafecouncil.com/ Highway 168 Fire Safe Council]

*Horizon Hills Fire Safe Council

*Humboldt County Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.fireinformation.com/Inland Empire Fire Safe Alliance]

*Inter-Canyon League Fire Safe Council

*Janesville Fire Safe Council

*Juniper Flat Fire Safe Council

*Kentwood Fire Safe Council

*Kentwood II Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.krvfiresafecouncil.com/ Kern River Valley Fire Safe Council]

*Klamath River Fire Safe Council

*LA County Fire Safe Council

*Lake County Fire Safe Council

*Lake Hodges FireSafe Council

*Lake Shastina Fire Safe Council

*Lakehead Fire Safe Council

*Lassen County Fire Safe Council

*Lone Pine Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.mattole.org/associates/LMFSC/ Lower Mattole Fire Safe Council]

*Lower Scott River Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.lytlecreekfsc.org/ Lytle Creek Fire Safe Council]

* [http://www.mariposafiresafe.org/ Mariposa County Fire Safe Council]

*McCloud Fire Safe Council

*Meadows Fire Safe Council

* [http://firesafemendocino.org/ Mendocino County Fire Safe Council]

*Millcreek Canyon Fire Safe Council

*Modoc Fire Safe Council

*Monrovia Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.firesafemonterey.org/ Monterey Fire Safe Council]

*Monterey-San Benito Range Improvement Association Wildland Fire Safe Council

*Morongo Valley Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.drycreek.org/fireSafe/fireSafeHome.html Mount Veeder Fire Safe Council]

*Mountain Area Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.mcfsc.org/ Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council]

* [http://www.mountainrimfiresafecouncil.org/ Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council]

*Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council: Crest Forest Chapter

*Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council: Green Valley Lake Chapter

*Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council: Running Springs/Arrowbear Chapter

* [http://mtlaguna.org/fire.htm Mt. Laguna Fire Safe Council]

* [http://www.mtpinosfsc.org/ Mt. Pinos Communities Fire Safe Council]

*Mt. Shasta Area Fire Safe Council

*Nevada County – see Fire Safe Council of Nevada County

*Oak Glen Fire Safe Council

*Oak To Timberline Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.firesafeojai.org/ Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council]

*Orinda Fire Safe Committee

*Orleans/Somes Bar Fire Safe Council

*Oroville Community Association

*Palomar Mountain Fire Safe Council

*Pine Glade Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.placerfirealliance.org/ Placer County Fire Safe Alliance]

* [http://www.plumasfiresafe.org/ Plumas County Fire Safe Council]

* [http://potrero.net/FSC.htm Potrero Fire Safe Council]

*Quartz Valley Area Fire Safe Council

*Ramona Fire Safe Council

*Ranches of Palo Verde

*Rancho Cucamonga Fire Safe Council

*Rattlesnake Creek Watershed Fire Safe Council

*Salmon River Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.sbfsc.org/ San Benito Fire Safe Council]

*San Francisco Peninsula Fire Safe Council

*San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council

*Sand Canyon Fire Safe Council

*Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.sccfiresafe.org/ Santa Clara County Fire Safe Council]

*Santa Cruz County Fire Safe Council

*Scott Bar Fire Safe Council

* [http://srfiresafecouncil.org/ Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council]

*Sea Ranch Fire Safe Council

*Seiad Valley Fire Safe Council

*Shasta West Fire Safe Project

*Sherilton Valley Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.goshingletown.com/HTLM/FireSafe/FireSafeList.htm Shingletown Community Fire Safe]

*Sierra County Fire Safe and Watershed Council

*Sierra Highway 4 Fire Safe Council

*South Yreka Fire Safe Council

* [http://co.humboldt.ca.us/planning/fire_safe_council/local_fsc/so_hum.htm Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council]

*Southlake Fire Safe Council

*Southwest Riverside County Fire Safe Council

*Tahoe Basin Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.talmadge.org/firesafe.htm Talmadge Fire Safe Council]

*Tehama-Glenn Fire Safe Council

*Topanga Citizen's Firesafe Committee

*Trinity County Fire Safe Council

*Tulare County Fire Safe Council

*Ventura County Fire Safe Council

*Wheeler Crest Fire Safe Council

*Willow Creek/Lower Trinity Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.wrightwoodfsc.com/ Wrightwood Fire Safe Council]

*Yankee Hill Fire Safe Council

*Yosemite Foothills Fire Safe Council

* [http://www.co.yuba.ca.us/firesafe/ Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council]

Other organizations

* [http://www.fesa.wa.gov.au/internet/default.aspx?MenuID=324 Bush Fire Ready Action Groups]

* [http://www.fire.ca.gov/ CAL FIRE] also called CDF or California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

* [http://www.cafirealliance.org/ California Fire Alliance]

* [http://www.firesafecalifornia.com/ Fire Safe California]

* [http://cid-b39aaa958d967857.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/ Fire Safe Library]

* [http://www.firesafespokane.com/ Fire Safe Spokane]

* [http://www.firewise.org/ Firewise]

* [http://firewise.org/usa/index.htm Firewise Communities/USA]

* [http://nvfsc.org/nvfsc/ Nevada Fire Safe Council]


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