Fire hazard map review period extended following Cal Cities’ advocacy
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal FIRE) has granted stakeholders an additional 60 days to comment on the state’s draft Fire Hazard Severity Zone Map for rural, unincorporated areas (State Responsibility Area). The move was made in response to a request for more time and clarity from the League of California Cities and others.
The draft map comprehensively ranks the State Responsibility Area based on the likelihood of wildfires and does not include cities or large urban areas. The methodology and data behind the map will inform the upcoming Local Responsibility Area map, which deals entirely with cities.
The public comment period now totals 110 days and closes on April 4, 2023. Information about how to submit public comment is available on Cal FIRE’s website. Cal FIRE also released new information about the data input relied upon for the maps.
The Local Responsibility Area map will be updated this spring using similar data and methodology. Both maps will impact local land use policies and wildfire management, as certain areas have been recategorized into different severity levels.
Based on the available data, it appears that there may be some discrepancies around local fire mitigation efforts, such as brush clearance, in the draft maps. Ignoring decades of meaningful data could result in costly inaccuracies and discourage collaboration between local governments and Cal FIRE on this critical resource.
Cal Cities will continue to advocate for the use of local data and collaboration between all stakeholders. More information and educational opportunities about the maps will be shared as they become available.