Reducing Wildfire Risk in Santa Barbara County

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Source: Cachuma Resource Conservation District

As the region becomes increasingly vulnerable to fire due to extreme drought and heat conditions exacerbated by climate change, community leaders and organizations have come together to proactively address fire risk in Santa Barbara County. For over a year, a dedicated team, which included the Cachuma Resource Conservation District, LegacyWorks Group, Community Environmental Council, McGinnis Environmental and Conservation Biology Institute engaged numerous partners in the fields of fire protection, education, environmental stewardship, restoration, land management, agriculture, neighborhood associations and government leadership. Together, the partners identified fire risk reduction opportunities and developed a suite of project ideas. Nearly 200 potential projects were identified and 50 high impact opportunities were prioritized addressing:

  • Equity
  • Neighborhood Organizing
  • Restoration
  • Capacity Building
  • Education Engagement
  • Planning and policy
  • Insurance
  • Buffers and Land Protection
  • Research and Analysis 

The group also undertook extensive spatial analysis work to map the specific places in the County where different types of wildfire risk reduction activities would have the most impact. The maps and models are available in an interactive Spatial Tool.  They will also facilitate decision making and serve as a platform for future resilience planning and project implementation.

The potential for this suite of projects to have a transformative impact on Santa Barbara County is immense. Rob Hazard, Division Chief and Fire Marshall for Santa Barbara County Fire Department and a close collaborator on the RPP says “If we implement the projects in the RPP over the next ten years we’ll be 90 percent of the way to building resilience to wildfire. Most of these projects are going to be done by non-government players, and the County needs to do everything we can to help. The end result will be a more resilient natural environment and a safer community.”

The results of this 18 month undertaking are now available to view and contribute to through the website There, the public may access all the project ideas, descriptions and maps. 

On December 9, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, we will have a brief presentation of the Spatial Tool followed by a hands-on tutorial how to use the Tool. You can use it to understand where the analysis prioritized action, for what types of projects, why, and how to build your own custom maps.  See for further details.

The visionary project was funded by the California Coastal Conservancy and was administered and led by the Cachuma Resource Conservation District. The partners intend to update the plan as needed and collaborate on the implementation of priority projects.

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Shasta Guy Nov 29, 2021 09:02 PM
Reducing Wildfire Risk in Santa Barbara County

I think equity means fuel reduction equally in the wild lands.
I think neighborhood organizing means everyone participating in fuel reduction.
I think restoration means getting the wild lands back to the way they were before European settlement by enabling more frequent, lower intensity fires.
I think capacity building means having enough tools for fuel reduction.
I think education engagement means everyone is trained in fuel reduction.

Nothing else will matter on the list because after all those other things are done the fires won’t be as destructive. California will once again be fire compatible because we will have rolled back the dangers created by a century’s worth of 100% fire suppression policy which loaded all the wild lands with too much fuel.

Lucky 777 Nov 29, 2021 01:34 PM
Reducing Wildfire Risk in Santa Barbara County

There is a very large EMPTY reservoir on Flora Vista adjacent to Escondido Park that used to be kept filled in readiness to defend the Mesa and Alta Mesa neighborhoods. It has been drained and now serves only as an attractive nuisance for skateboarders and stoners. So, start with the obvious and re-fill these reservoirs. I bet there are others around town that have also been drained to become useless.

sacjon Nov 30, 2021 08:47 AM
Reducing Wildfire Risk in Santa Barbara County

OGSB -"eq·ui·ty
Learn to pronounce
See definitions in:
Trade Unionism
1. the quality of being fair and impartial.
"equity of treatment"
2. the value of the shares issued by a company.
"he owns 62% of the group's equity""

How is that political? Answer: It's not. It's just angry conservatives labeling that word as some sort of liberal "agenda" to make things fair for all. Weird that it's so objectionable to you people.

ChillinGrillin Nov 29, 2021 07:48 PM
Reducing Wildfire Risk in Santa Barbara County

Con: Why are equity and local organizing bad in any way for this issue? Firefighting and prevention resources should be available for all areas (duh) and it's a no-brainer that local preparation works when natural disasters strike. Could you remind me of the latest conservative plan to address climate change and fire prevention again? Is it still focused on raking leaves and saying climate change is a Chinese conspiracy? Or shooting down the Jewish space lasers controlled by the deep state? I'm genuinely wondering.

sacjon Nov 29, 2021 04:40 PM
Reducing Wildfire Risk in Santa Barbara County

Ah yes, making it political I see. Ever stop to think they considered equity when looking at different possible projects, just as they say? Maybe they don't bulldoze low income areas to make room for something that may not lower the risk of wildfire that much? Maybe not erect a facility that puts financial burden on people who aren't able to bear it? Why does treating people with equity and equality have to be "political" to you people? Why is it so unthinkable to try to consider people OTHER than yourselves? Just the mention of certain "liberal buzzwords" has you folks salivating. It's gross.

ConservativeSB Nov 29, 2021 04:31 PM
Reducing Wildfire Risk in Santa Barbara County

I will start with equity. If a focus is equity, which is equality of outcomes, and not on the absolute best solution to wildfire risk, it’s just another waste of time. What does equity have to do with forest management? Equity is a purely political term used to sell a garbage bill of goods. They did the same with Covid vaccines in the beginning. Dispersed based on equity rather than those who are at greatest risk like anyone with two brain cells would do.

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