California is Burning
Many people in California understand that our wildfire “season” is now year-round. Wildfire is a growing threat to anyone living in a canyon or mountainous area, especially if you live in what is called the Very High Fire Severity Zone, or VHFSV. What many people may not understand is how the risk applies to them – or put another way: to you. Being a part of the Wildfire Alliance and the MySafe:LA Fire Safe Council are important steps in being better prepared against the threat from wildfires.
The Numbers on Wildfire
The numbers for California are significant. Out of the top five locations in the United States at the highest risk from wildfire, three California communities are included:
Los Angeles County is ranked at 100% in the U.S. – 514,500 homes, or 24.5% of its properties.
San Bernardino County is ranked at 99.9% in the U.S. – 472,700 or 57.4% of its properties.
Riverside County is ranked at 99.94% in the U.S. – 684,400 homes, or 77.2+% of its properties.
The U.S. Forest Service, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, has a website that will help individuals access the risk to their property – utilizing interactive maps, charts, and other resources to help people understand how the risk may apply to their home.
Fire Hazard Severity Zones
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (Cal Fire) has established a method of determining those areas within the State where the risk – or hazards – related to wildfire are significant. This is a complicated endeavor, and includes not only Federal land, often referred to as “Federal Responsibility” areas, but “State Responsibility” areas and Local (Los Angeles County) Responsibility Areas.
Cal Fire updates their maps annually, and has done so since 2008. Note that Local agencies are not required to report such zoning actions and CAL FIRE does not have a current list of local agencies that have adopted ordinances establishing Very High Fire Hazard Severity zones within their boundaries.
Local Responsibility Area (LRA)
Los Angeles City Community Wildfire Protection Plan
MySafe:LA is developing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) for the City of Los Angeles. The City has never before had a CWPP, so this is an important and practical plan. MySafe:LA is approaching development of this plan utilizing its strengths in graphics, photography, video, and plan design.