Living in the Western United States means living with wildfire. We use maps, data and conversations to help communities understand and manage their wildfire risk. Along with our parent company, Firestorm, we offer full-service wildfire hazard mitigation—from design to implementation.
Community Wildfire Protection Plans
We use our expert knowledge of wildfire behavior, cartography and land management to develop tangible projects that affect real changes on the ground.
Our prefire plans improve public safety and benefit the landscape by:
- Identifying places where a wildfire might trap and kill people or destroy property
- Establishing priorities for fuel reduction and habitat restoration
- Integrating wildfire management with other land management objectives
- Reducing the risk of natural resource damage from severe fire and fire suppression activities
- Improving fire suppression effectiveness, as well as firefighter safety
- Preventing infrastructure losses/property damage during wildfire incidents
We use the following tools to assess fire hazard across landscapes:
- GIS landscape analysis tools
- Satellite imagery and aerial photography
- Fire history
- Tree-ring analyses (dendrochronology) in project areas
- Ground-based fuel mapping and surveys
- Numeric wildfire behavior models
- Qualitative data via interviews with authorities and knowledgeable locals
- Application of peer-reviewed science
DCR’s wildfire mitigation experts have helped to develop wildfire pre-plans in the Lassen Foothills, Klamath Mountains, Lake Tahoe Basin, Central Coast, Klamath Mountains, Plumas and for El Dorado, Amador, Monterey, Nevada, and Yuba Counties. Our staff developed a major hazardous fuels reduction project for Lick Observatory in Santa Clara County and also developed the Plumas County Hazardous Fuel Assessment & Strategy.
Major projects have included the Lassen Foothills Fire Management Plan for 85,000 acres of The Nature Conservancy land in Northern California, a fire management plan for Palo Corona Regional Park, on the California Central Coast, Community Wildfire Protection Plans for the Lake Tahoe Basin, wildfire and fuels sections for the Eddy Gulch LSR Forest Restoration project EIS on the Klamath National Forest, and plans for managing wildfire-caused erosion within the 50,000 acre Morro Bay Estuary watershed.
Additionally, DCR staff have performed cost-benefit analyses for fuels management projects across 35 million acres of public lands administered by the Nevada BLM.
Olympic Valley Community Wildfire Protection Plan – 2021-2022
Client: Olympic Valley Public Service District
CWPP identifies and prioritizes fuel reduction and wildfire prevention strategies within the Olympic Valley Fire Department’s service area. The plan addresses wildfire response, hazard mitigation, community preparedness, home hardening and structure protection. The CWPP will be used to guide the District’s Fuels Management Program and will allow the Olympic Valley community to be eligible for many wildfire prevention grant funding programs. The Olympic Valley Public Service District Board approved the CWPP in November 2022.
City of Chico Community Wildfire Protection Plan – 2020-2021
Client: City of Chico
Using a collaborative process, DCR developed a CWPP that assessed wildfire risks, community preparedness, defensibility and potential hazard mitigation projects for Chico and the surrounding areas. The project extensively described the greater Chico area’s wildfire risk, simulated potential wildfire disasters within the urban area, identified critical risk areas and high-risk neighborhoods, recommended specify fuel treatment projects, policy enforcement improvements and public outreach initiatives to elevate the community’s relationship with wildfire risk.
City of Chico Vegetative Fuels Management Plan EIR – 2020-2021
Client: City of Chico
DCR led the project’s wildfire hazard assessment efforts, using LiDAR survey data, aerial photos, and extensive fieldwork to map wildland vegetation, characterize fuel loading, summarize potential fire behavior, and develop vegetation management objectives for lands owned and managed by the City of Chico. DCR developed a burn plan to increase use of prescribed fire in management of City of Chico-owned lands.
South Lassen Watersheds Wildfire Hazard Assessment – 2021
Client: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation
Assessed landscape-scale wildfire hazards and suppression/management options on 850,000 acres in Northeastern California. Facilitated collaborative mapping exercises, modeled potential fire spread, and used GIS analysis to prioritize areas for mechanical thinning and prescribed fire. Much of the project area burned during Dixie Fire, and we evaluated model performance after the fire.
Big Chico Creek Forest Management Plan – 2020
Clients: Butte County Fire Safe Council, CSUC’s Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve and Local Landowners
DCR provided fire behavior and prescribed burning specialists for planning and design of a 1,500-acre fuels reduction and forest health project in the Big Chico Creek Watershed, near Forest Ranch, California. This CEQA document will support partial implementation of a Forest Management Plan, also to be developed by BCRCD, covering 7,500 acres of the watershed. DCR mapped wildfire fuel loading conditions and developed large prescribed burning units in ponderosa pine and black oak forest areas.
Western El Dorado County Community Wildfire Protection Plan Update – 2021-2022
Client: El Dorado Fire Safe Council
DCR updated Western El Dorado County’s CWPP, tracking the progress of fire mitigation and fuel reduction projects initiated by the original 2017 plan. The updated document, created in partnership with WildlandRx and the El Dorado Fire Safe Council, covered multiple communities and towns, providing officials, organizations and shareholders with a new “road map” to address their current fire hazards.
Community Wildfire Risk Pilot Project – 2019
DCR provided a subject matter expert on a CAL FIRE Forest Health Program-funded project that seeks to reduce wildfire risk by providing better analytical methods and information for planning fuel treatments and implementing defensible space in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and intermix.
Wildfire: Assessing and Preparing for Risks under Climate Change – 2019
The California Energy Commission is funding applied research and development to fill gaps in knowledge of fire science and apply that new knowledge to improve models to assess wildfire risk for grid operations and planning. DCR is contributing to the Extreme Weather & Wildfire Team, delivering advice on fire progression and fire weather events from an operational/field perspective; the Fuel Mapping & Fire Physics Team, delivering advice on field conditions during megafires; and the Wildfire Forecasting Team, delivering advice on the integration of risk forecasts into fire management and wildfire mitigation plans for investor-owned utilities.
Lick Observatory Wildfire Safety Project – 2016-2017
Client: University of California
DCR designed a wildfire safety vegetation management plan, wrote detailed work and maintenance specifications, helped choose a contractor, and supervised implementation of this $650,000 project. This project cut and removed hazardous wildfire fuels around a major mountain top observatory outside of San Jose, California. This project was tested when large wildfires burned across the area in 2020. The high-intensity fire impacted the site at night and all major facility buildings survived with minimal air support.
Sierra County Community Wildfire Protection Plan – 2015
Assembled a project GIS, facilitated community collaborative mapping meetings, edited community-provided mapping data, and produced planning and final report maps.
Lake Tahoe Basin Community Wildfire Protection Plan Update – 2015
Cartography showing completed and proposed hazardous fuels reduction projects for fire districts throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Sierra County Community Wildfire Protection Plan – 2015
We assembled a project GIS, facilitated community collaborative mapping meetings, edited community-provided mapping data, and produced planning and final report maps.
Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the Yuba County Foothills – 2014
Client: Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council
Mapped wildfire hazard, facilitated collaborative mapping meetings, and established and prioritized hazardous fuels reduction projects for communities in the foothills and mountains of Yuba County, California.
Gold Mountain Community Wildfire Hazard Assessment – 2014
Client: Gold Mountain Homeowners Association
This project mapped wildfire hazard on 400 parcels in Eastern Plumas County, California, and established priorities for wildfire hazard reduction thinning.
Grizzly Ranch Community Wildfire Hazard Assessment – 2014
Client: Grizzly Ranch Homeowners Association
This project mapped wildfire hazard on 300+ parcels in Eastern Plumas County, California, and established priorities for wildfire hazard reduction thinning.
Timber Service Company Wildfire Hazard Assessment and Mitigation Strategy – 2007
Client: Mason, Bruce and Girard, Portland Oregon
Evaluated current conditions on 150,000 acres of industrial timberland in Western Oregon. Used timber stand data and ground surveys to develop data to run FlamMap software. Used FlamMap, FireFamily+, and FMA+ to develop scenarios for timber losses. Developed criteria to use in developing future harvest plans that would strategically alter continuity of young stands, reducing likelihood of large fires.
Palo Corona Regional Park Wildfire Management Plan – 2007
Client: Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District
Evaluated wildfire hazards and resource management issues on new 10,000 acre park adjacent to Carmel Valley, California. Mapped access, water, fuels, sensitive species, and WUI areas. Ran FlamMap software to model potential fire spread scenarios, and developed strategies for wildfire suppression. Researched applicable sections of California Public Resources Code, and developed prevention recommendations. Mapped wildfire fuels and developed unit-specific fuels photo series book for land managers to reference to understand potential hazard for each major vegetation type on the site.
Cameron Park Community Wildfire Protection Plan – 2006
Client: WildlandRX and Eldorado County Firesafe Council, California
Conducted parcel-level surveys for over 7,500 individual homes in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. 12 attributes were collected for each structure, including: Building and roofing materials, vegetation attributes, fire hazard, and firefighter access. Survey results (delivered to county employees via open-source interactive web-based maps) were used to prioritize code enforcement actions.
Lick Observatory Wildland Fire Hazard Mitigation Project – 2005-2009
Client: University of California, Santa Cruz
Wrote successful $500,000 grant for hazard reduction work on Mount Hamilton around Observatory facilities. Modeled potential fire behavior using FLAMMAP, and used outputs to refine design of fuels hazard reduction projects. Authored potential impacts sections of CEQA documents. Developed vegetation management prescriptions and maintenance requirements for each treatment unit, and conducted before-and-after photopoint monitoring of project. Burned piles.
Tahoe Basin Fuels Management Plan – 2004
Client: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA)
Provided GIS support and collected fuel loading data and photopoints on public and private land within the Lake Tahoe Basin. Used IKONOs 1m infrared satellite imagery and ground surveys to evaluate forest canopy closure and map areas for mechanical thinning, hand thinning, and brush mastication.
Plumas County Hazardous Fuel Assessment and Strategy – 2004
Client: Plumas County Fire Safe Council
Collected fuel loading data and photopoints at 86 different locations to represent range of fuel loading conditions across 1.6 million acres. Used Landsat TM satellite data, US Forest Service fuels mapping data, and ground surveys to develop FlamMap and FARSITE layers and run models to predict rates of fire spread and potential fireline intensities. Developed specific hazard reduction recommendations for each of the 45 “communities at risk” listed in the Federal Register.
Lassen Foothills Fire Management Plan – 2003
Client: The Nature Conservancy, Dye Creek, California
Mapped vegetation conditions, reviewed existing wildfire policies for adjacent National Forest and State lands, and developed landscape-scale fire management and prescribed burning strategies to reduce noxious weeds and benefit native species on the Nature Conservancy’s 900,000 acre Lassen Foothills project area (Eastern Tehama County, California). The plan identified unit-specific fire management objectives, and prioritized units targeted for prescribed fire. It also included unit fire prescriptions and plans, along with initial documentation required under by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), for priority burn units.
RAMS (Risk Assessment and Mitigation Strategies) Fuels Management Budget Assessment – 2001-2002
Client: Battle Mountain, Elko and Ely Districts, Nevada BLM
Provided GIS analysis for landscape-scale fuels management project prioritization. Used Landsat and other GIS data to evaluate existing vegetation. Used GIS to assess response times for fire resources, and to characterize threat of human wildfire ignitions over 35 million acres of public land
Morro Bay Estuary Watershed Fire Management Plan – 2002
Client: Morro Bay National Estuary Program
Identified areas with high wildfire hazard and established strategies for integrating fire and fuels management into long-term ecological restoration projects within the 50,000 acre Morro Bay Estuary watershed.
Whiskeytown Fire History Study – 2001
Client: National Park Service
Designed and mapped fire history research plots, coordinated field crews responsible for collecting and preparing fire-history tree-ring cross-section samples for Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (NPS).
Deer Creek Fire Management Framework – 1999
Client: Deer Creek Watershed Conservancy with funding from the EPA.
Identified potential erosion hazards associated with high-severity wildfire in the watershed and evaluated the feasibility of implementing a landscape-level network of shaded fuel breaks across the 130,000-acre Deer Creek Watershed. Compiled and analyzed existing GIS data, conducted field-surveys, and used ground observations to interpret stand composition and densities on oblique aerial photography collected from a light plane. Facilitated meetings with land managers and biologists, and published a final report.
Big Chico Creek and Butte Creek Watershed Existing Conditions Reports – Wildfire and Fuels Management Sections – 1999
Client: CSU, Chico Research Foundation
Wrote wildfire and fuels management chapters evaluating current fire suppression infrastructure, wildland fire hazard, potential fire behavior, and general strategies for reducing wildfire-caused property damage within the Big Chico, Butte, and Deer Creek Watersheds.
Region 5 USFS Hazardous Fuels Review
Evaluated the Fuels Management programs on eight National Forests in California
Plumas Corporation, Plumas County Fire Safe Council
Validation of existing fuel profiles, analysis of expected fire behavior using BEHAVE and FlamMap, identification and mapping of fuel treatment projects, and prioritization of fuels treatment projects for the county.