CAL FIRE creates Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division

CAL FIRE consolidates eight existing programs to create a Community Preparedness and Mitigation Division to help local communities prepare for upcoming fire season 

SACRAMENTO CALIF. – CAL FIRE has established a Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division within the office of the State Fire Marshal following an Assembly bill that focuses exclusively on community fire prevention, preparedness and mitigation efforts.

 “As California continues to experience more severe and damaging wildfires, our wildfire strategy must include preparing our homes and communities to be more resistant to the effects of wildfire,” Chief Daniel Berlant, CAL FIRE Deputy Director of Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation said.  

According to CAL FIRE, the addition of this division allows them to continue to prioritize, develop and implement different projects and strategies that help create more fire prepared environments. They are creating fire adapted communities and landscapes by improving community preparedness, fire resilience and reducing the severity and damage caused by wildfires. This division consolidates eight existing program areas into one. These eight areas include defensible space, wildland building codes and home hardening, pre-fire planning, fire hazard severity zones, land use planning, wildfire prevention grants and utility wildfire mitigation. 

 The Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division will be expanding its local technical assistance to cities and counties to make sure they have the best support, education and funding to prepare their communities for fires. 

“For nearly 100 years the Office of the State Fire Marshal has focused on fire prevention,” Chief Mike Richwine, California’s State Fire Marshal said . “With our new division focusing on wildfire prevention and community readiness, we will be able to expand our efforts in reducing the threat to lives and property.”

In April, CAL FIRE Director Joe Tyler appointed Chief Daniel Berlant as deputy director to lead the division. For nearly two decades, Berlant has worked in a variety of fire prevention and public engagement positions within the organization. He also led the department’s previous Wildfire Planning and Engineering Program.

The Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division followed the signing of Assembly Bill (AB) 9 by Governor Newsom in Sept. 2021. Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) designed a bill that created the new branch within the Office of the State Fire Marshall to work specifically with fire prevention, preparedness and the mitigation efforts of CAL FIRE according to a press release on AB 9. Wood says communities need to prevent and prepare for the horrible fires, and what that looks like is different for every area across the state. 

“Housing density, vegetation type and topography are just a few of the many considerations that affect the kinds of work communities must undertake to prepare for the next fire,” Wood said. “This bill ensures that strategies be regionally focused to meet the unique needs of each community.”

May 1 kicked off Wildfire Preparedness Week. CAL FIRE encourages everyone to take this time to educate themselves and the community on how to be better prepared for wildfires. 

To learn more about how you can be prepared for wildfire, visit ReadyforWildfire.org. 

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