In recent years, California’s fire season has gotten longer, and the state has seen some of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in recorded history. To help FIRESafe Marin and the MCFD prepare for wildfire events and develop a framework for wildfire mitigation efforts, Sonoma Technology scientists collaborated with fire agencies, county officials, community members, and county, state, and federal land management agencies to create The Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). This plan provides a science-based assessment of wildfire hazard and threats to homes in the wildland urban interface (WUI) of Marin County, California. The 2020 CWPP is an update of a 2016 version, which Sonoma Technology also helped to develop.
Sonoma Technology’s fire and air quality scientists used geographic information system (GIS) analyses to perform county-level and parcel-level fire hazard assessments and develop up-to-date, high-resolution topography and fuels maps. The results of these analyses are useful for identifying areas and communities that are at greatest risk from wildfires. The CWPP concludes with a discussion of mitigation strategies, and provides recommendations to (1) educate and prepare residents for wildland fires and (2) reduce fire hazard. Our team also developed an ArcGIS StoryMap summarizing our process and findings.
A recent assessment from the County of Marin shows that approximately 65% of all living units in the county—valued at a combined $58.5 billion—are located within the WUI. Because of the mix and density of structures and natural fuels combined with limited access to these homes, fire management is more complex in these WUI environments. According to CAL FIRE’s Communities at Risk list, approximately 82% of the land area in the county is designated as having moderate to very high fire hazard severity ratings. The CWPP provides fire agencies, land managers, and other stakeholders in Marin County with guidance and strategies to reduce fire hazard and the risk of catastrophic wildfires in the WUI, while promoting the protection and enhancement of the county’s economic assets and ecological resources.