May 2021
May is Wildfire Awareness Month!
Did you know that May is Wildfire Awareness month? As the weather becomes warmer and wildland vegetation (a.k.a. "fuels") dry out, it's time to plan for wildfire.

This year fire season is coming early and the time to prepare for wildfires and other disasters is right now. Check out these resources to make sure that you and your community are "wildfire ready."

Sign Up for Emergency Updates

Sign up for notification systems to make sure that you are alerted of a disaster ASAP.

  • SoCo Alert: SoCoAlert is the County of Sonoma’s emergency service notification system. Notifications may include evacuation notifications, shelter-in-place orders, boil water advisories, tsunami warnings, and flood warning. Take a moment to sign up for SoCoAlert by creating an account.

  • Nixle: Receive email and text messages from local fire and law enforcement agencies that include public safety messages as well as emergency information. Text your zip code to 888777 to opt-in or sign up online to receive email or text message with alerts and advisories.

  • NOAA Radios: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios are available for purchase at a relatively low cost. When properly programmed, the National Weather Service can remotely turn on these radios and send basic alerts, including for wildfire. The message may be accompanied by a warning tone, depending on the model you purchase. Sonoma County residents may tune their NOAA radio to:
  • County of Sonoma Frequency 162.475
  • Northwest Sonoma County Frequency 162.550
  • Southwest Sonoma County Frequency 162.475

  • PulsePoint: PulsePoint notifications provide an early heads-up to local threats such as wildland fires, flooding and utility emergencies. Go to their website to learn more.

Pack a Go Bag

The American Red Cross recommends every family have an emergency supply kit assembled long before a wildfire or other emergency occurs. For a checklist to help assemble yours, check out the Fire Safe Sonoma Ready, Set, Go! on page 10 of this document

Prepare Your Property

Home hardening and defensible space are key to increase your property’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Check out Fire Safe Sonoma’s Ready, Set, Go! Document for tips on how to make your property as resistant to fire as possible.

CAL FIRE also has a Low Cost Retrofit List on ways to retrofit your house and property on a budget, and the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council has a series of video tutorials on DIY home hardening and defensible space.

Get Involved!

Emergency preparedness and wildfire prevention work best when we do it together. Check out these tips courtesy of the Tahoe Fire Adapted Communities Network on how to organize your community ahead of a wildfire or other disaster.

Educate Your Neighborhood

  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors and/or widely advertise the threat of wildfire during neighborhood walks.

  • Distribute our free resources about defensible space, home hardening, and evacuation planning.

Organize Your Neighborhood

  • Compile neighborhood email addresses and contact information. Send out wildfire preparedness information, emergency updates, or newsletters.

  • Create a neighborhood communication thread, group, or forum on Facebook or Nextdoor focused on wildfire preparedness.

  • Discuss your neighbors' evacuation plan. Identify if any neighbors will need extra assistance.

Engage Your Neighborhood

  • Plan a wildfire preparedness block party and invite your local fire district.

  • Plan a defensible space community workday.

  • Organize a tour of homes with exceptional defensible space and home hardening.

Become a Firewise community or local fire safe council

  • Reach out to Fire Safe Sonoma to obtain information and assistance on becoming a firewise community or starting a local fire safe council.

  • Form a committee that's composed of residents and other applicable wildfire stakeholders.

  • Obtain a written wildfire community risk assessment form your local fire district.

  • Develop an action plan with a prioritized list of risk reduction projects/investments for your neighborhood.

  • Host a defensible space community work day and an outreach event to educate neighbors on fire preparedness.
Fire Safe Sonoma Updates
No Public Board Meeting in May
This Monday May 10th the Fire Safe Sonoma Board will have an internal strategic goal-setting meeting. Therefore, please note that there will not be a public Fire Safe Sonoma Board meeting in May. The next regular monthly meeting of Fire Safe Sonoma will be held virtually at 3:30 pm on Monday, June 14, 2021. We look forward to reconvening with you then!
Board Member Spotlight: Roberta MacIntyre
Roberta has served over 35 years in the fire service. She started out as a volunteer firefighter, became a career firefighter for a metropolitan fire department working in fire suppression and eventually discovered how much more she could do in fire prevention. After several years working in fire prevention, Roberta eventually became the Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal for the County of Sonoma.

Now in “retirement” Roberta takes pride in bringing her well-honed fire service experience, executive management skills, and oral, and interpersonal communication skills to lead Sonoma County’s premiere fire safe council, Fire Safe Sonoma, as their President and CEO.

Roberta is currently living in the Northern San Francisco Bay Area where you can often find her a few miles from home hiking with her dog “Buddy” in the beautiful Northern California. 
Grant Applications
PG&E Funding Approved for Roadside Fuel Reduction in Occidental

Fire Safe Sonoma in partnership with Fire Safe Occidental and Safer West County have been approved for PG&E funds for roadside hazard fuels reduction in West Sonoma County. This funding provides match for previously identified roadside fuels reduction work this summer.

This funds support Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB) crews to create shaded fuel breaks in the right-of-way using hand and power tools to selectively cut and remove vegetation. These roads serve as key emergency egress routes. The projects will provide safer ingress and egress in the event of a wildfire, as well as roadways that are more resistant to fire starts. Fire Safe Sonoma and the Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works will be key partners in project implementation. 
CAL FIRE Fire Prevention Grants

Fire Safe Sonoma is collaborating with the Sonoma Ecology Center, UCCE Sonoma County, and the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District, and submitting applications for the CAL FIRE Fire Prevention Grant Program. CAL FIRE began accepting grant applications as of March 10th. Contingent upon appropriation from the California Climate Investments, or other fund source, up to $165 million will be awarded. CAL FIRE’s Fire Prevention Grants Program provides funding for projects and activities that address the risk of wildfire, reduce wildfire potential, and increase community resiliency. Funded activities include hazardous fuel reduction, wildfire prevention planning, and wildfire prevention education with an emphasis on improving public health and safety while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 
Applications must be submitted no later than May 19th, 2021 by 3:00 p.m. Overview of the grant program, application process and workshop details will be posted on the Fire Prevention Grants webpage. If you would like to apply and need help crafting your application, contact Roberta MacIntyre, FSS Board President and CEO at
Sonoma County Launches Vegetation Management Project Grant Program

The County of Sonoma announced the opening of solicitation for its vegetation management grant program, providing access to between $2-4 million for local fire prevention for the 2021 wildfire season for eligible applicants. 

The funds are derived from the PG&E settlement awarded to the County as a result of the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fires lawsuit. In 2020, the Board of Supervisors voted to allocate $25 million of the $149 million settlement toward vegetation management activities. 

Those eligible to apply for the grants include nonprofit organizations, community organizations, local fire districts, communities with Community Wildfire Protection Plans in place, Resource Conservation Districts, licensed foresters, technical advisors and schools. 

The goal of the grant program is to enable applicants to conduct high-priority, near-term vegetation management activities in high-risk areas and near key ecosystems. Some of the high-risk areas targeted by the grant program include: areas to the northeast of developed communities; defensible space within 100 feet of homes in densely populated areas that are oriented in a west and/or south direction and are within canyons that border the east and west of the populated area; areas that burned in recent fires or have high fire return interval; boundary areas between large public and private lands and dense developments; and areas surrounding primary evacuation routes and key infrastructure. 

Some specific regions have also been identified as favorable for grant awards, including: Guerneville/Camp Meeker/Occidental area, Mark West and the Tubbs and Glass fires corridors, Lake Sonoma, Sonoma Valley (including Mayacama Ridge, Sonoma Mountain/Bennett Ridge, and adjoining communities) and the Timber Cove/Sea Ranch area to Cazadero. 

For more detailed information about the grant program and its application process, visit the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space website

Grant applications must be received by Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 5 p.m. 

Media Contact: 
Amy Ricard, Community Relations Specialist Sonoma County Ag + Open Space 
Sonoma County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Update
Our Community. Our Responsibility.

Get Involved! Join us for the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Community Workshops! 
Public Input workshops are taking place virtually for each supervisorial district. The workshops provide the opportunity to learn about wildfire preparedness as well as to gather information from local residents about wildfire risks in their communities. The schedule of workshops is below. To register in advance and learn more go to the following link:
District 5: May 6, 2021: Thursday, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
District 4: May 12, 2021: Wednesday, 6:00 – 7:30 PM
Missed the workshop for your district? No problem! You can attend another district’s meeting and/or catch up on the meeting notes and give your input via the web.
District 1 Meeting Notes: (April 7, 2021)
District 2 Meeting Notes: (April 14, 2021)
District 3 Meeting Notes: (April 22, 2021)

You can visit the Project Website - where you can learn more about the CWPP process and view upcoming events - or visit our Project Hub Site - where you can offer your input through an interactive map or a text-based survey
To identify which Supervisorial District you live in you can use the look-up tool at the following link:
Sonoma County Fire Safe Alliance Meetings

On April 23rd we hosted our third meeting of leadership from local fire safe councils, COPEs, and other fire safe communities and organizations including non-profits and fire personnel across Sonoma County to come together and discuss important topics in wildfire prevention and outreach. We were grateful to have a presentation on the Firewise certification program from our neighbors at Fire Safe Marin. We look forward to hosting additional meetings in the upcoming months.

The next Sonoma County Fire Safe Alliance meeting will take place on Thursday, May 27, at 10 am. Are you part of a Fire Safe Council, COPE, or similar group and would like to learn more? Email Cailin Notch at
Other Announcements + Events
Sonoma County Sheriff's Office Evacuation Tags Program
Help first responders evacuate neighborhoods quickly during a disaster - get your free evacuation tag!

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is giving away evacuation tags to residents living in unincorporated Sonoma County as well as the towns of Sonoma and Windsor. Evacuation tags are a new tool to quickly ensure that neighborhoods are evacuated during a disaster. Residents tie the tag in a location that is highly visible when they evacuate. This saves time because first responders don’t have to tie their own ribbon on the property and they can immediately check the next home.

We’ve learned that seconds can count during evacuations and we are excited to bring this new time-saving tool to our residents.

How do you get an evacuation tag? Visit for more information and learn where/when to pick up a tag, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. Thank you for keeping our community #sonomastrong!
Wildfire Fuel Mapper
To help Sonoma County landowners assess fire risk on their land and explore options for managing fuels, the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), in collaboration with Pepperwood and Tukman Geospatial, has developed the Wildfire Fuel Mapper project. The Wildfire Fuel Mapper provides a set of tools, including maps and resources, to help Sonoma County landowners assess fuels and take action to create a fuel management plan. Comprehensive map reports are available at a parcel or watershed scale and include information about a property's vegetation type and density, physical topography, and fuels. This is currently the only mapping tool available at a parcel scale in Sonoma County that can be accessed directly by the public. 

The website for the Wildfire Fuel Mapper project is the hub where users can access all the components of the toolkit. The Resource Listing includes contact information of forestry and wildfire specialists or fuel management professionals, funding opportunities for land owners and managers to subsidize their fuel management plan, and other educational materials related to fuel management. UCCE is continuing to improve and adapt this fuel management toolkit and welcomes public feedback. Please contact Dr. Stephanie Larson at with any questions or comments. 
Emergency Preparedness Workshops
The Sonoma County Library and Department of Emergency Management (DEM) are collaborating to bring a series of three preparedness workshops to the community. These workshops will be online and you will be able to register for this series with the Library in the coming weeks. Session One will be held on June 12 from 11am-12pm and will discuss Go Bags, Home emergency kits, and Animal Emergency Kits. Speakers will include representatives from DEM and Halter Project. Session Two will be June 26th, 11am-12pm, and will focus on Making a Plan and offer information about evacuation planning. Speakers include representatives from DEM, the Sheriff, and Animal Services. Session Three is July 10th, 11am-12pm, and will focus on Alerts and connecting in neighborhoods. Speakers will include representatives from DEM, Map Your Neighborhood, COPE, CERT, FireSafe, and ACS. Details will be posted at and Events Archive - Sonoma County Emergency and Preparedness Information ( when available.
California Fire Safe Council Survey
The California Fire Safe Council is conducting an outreach survey to better understand the materials, resources, and training needs of community wildfire preparedness groups across California. The survey is intended for organizations who provide programming in wildfire preparedness and mitigation, including Fire Safe Councils. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Please complete the survey by May 7, 2021. If you have any questions or concerns, contact

Survey Link (English):  
Survey Link (Español):  

To watch a recorded, short informational session visit
California Vegetation Treatment Program
California’s wildfire crisis is worsening. The State of California is marshalling unprecedented efforts to respond. Streamlining CEQA to expedite delivery of fire fuel management projects is a critical need and a clear priority of Governor Newsom’s administration. California’s Forest Carbon Plan and Shared Stewardship Agreement call for federal and state agencies to each meet a goal of treating 500,000 acres annually by 2025. One of the flagship strategies in the State’s response is the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP)

Join the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection for a free training webinar – CalVTP Implementation Training: How to Use the CalVTP Program EIR to Streamline CEQA Compliance for Vegetation Treatment Projects. The training course will cover the following topics:
Part 1: Overview of the CalVTP EIR
Part 2: Preparing a CEQA Document using the CalVTP EIR
Wrap Up: CalVTP Training resources

This course is relevant to public agencies, organizations (e.g., fire safe councils, foundations), as well as consultants supporting these entities. Any public agency providing funding for vegetation treatment or with land ownership and/or management, or other regulatory responsibilities in the CalVTP treatable landscape could use the CalVTP for streamlining – there are nearly 200 such agencies! This includes state and local agencies that are funding projects on private lands.

The training course will be presented two times to accommodate schedules. The same information will be presented in each webinar. Questions will be answered live throughout each training course.

Registration is free. Please use the link below for the training course you would like to attend.

Date: Thursday, May 13, 2021,
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT

Date: Thursday, May 20, 2021,
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT
North Bay Forest Improvement Program
The NBFIP is an incentives program, similar to CFIP or EQIP, that is being offered by The Rebuild North Bay Foundation in partnership with the Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) representing Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa Counties.

The program is intended for forest landownerships between 5 and 500 acres and will help reimburse costs associated with common forest improvements like thinning, planting, pruning, insect infestations, site prep, and woody residue follow-up treatments. Quality applications will likely already have a forest management plan prepared by an RPF or NRCS conservationist. Project areas funded for work with the CFIP program since 2018, thus utilizing funds from Proposition 68, are ineligible for funding under this program at this time.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis; there is no application deadline. For the application and more information visit Sonoma RCD's website here
Spotlight on Forest Management Plans
Forest Management Planning in the Dutch Bill Creek Watershed
Inspired to improve his 74-acre forest property’s resilience to wildfire and a desire to restore the property’s native coast redwood forest and coastal prairie habitats, a Dutch Bill Creek watershed landowner has partnered with the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District to write a Landsmart Forest Management Plan. The plan details recommendations, such as removing young native Douglas-fir from the prairie edges and planting coast live oak sparsely across the grassland, to encourage the native flora and fauna of the coastal prairie. Mature Douglas-fir trees on the property are treasured habitat for raptors, owls and vultures. Thinning the dense stands and reducing ladder fuels and brush will create a more fire safe environment, control invasive plant species, as well as promote open spaces, sunlight and new growth that benefit wildlife. The landowner is interested in using another conservation practice as well: controlled burning. No stranger to low- intensity ground fire, coastal redwoods and prairies are adapted to receive fairly frequent burns which fertilize the ground, encourage new growth, hinder the forest’s pests and diseases, reduce competition among trees, and open the forest floor, among many other benefits.

The plan will also include recommendations to enhance and protect the seasonal streams, pond and roads network, improve wildlife habitat, increase carbon stocks, and create a recreational hiking trail across the property. 

What is a Landsmart Forest Management Plan? It’s a comprehensive forest conservation plan based on the landowner’s goals and a registered professional forester’s recommendations. It acts as a CEQA-level document for forestry management and guides forestry management implementation.

How does it work? The plan puts on paper your specific goals of your property. It identifies the current property conditions and provides specific recommendations on how to manage your vegetation, forests, streams, and roads. It also connects you with incentive programs, like CFIP and EQIP, as well as grant funds the RCD may have or is able to apply for. Currently, the RCD has funding to complete 90% plans, and the landowner is required to provide 15% cost share (typically between $500 - 1000) 

What’s in a Forest Management Plan? It contains a description of the property history, property infrastructure (roads, dwellings, fencing, etc.), current forest composition and structure (i.e. forest types), access and security, recreational opportunities, invasive species, forest insects and disease, soils, water resources, wildlife and aquatic species (including endangered species) and any plans for property family legacy. 

It also looks forward, using the landowner’s goals and foresters recommendations, to prescribe conservation management practices and corresponding NRCS practice codes for each natural resource. It also provides the natural resource professionals that can provide technical assistance in the future. Management constraints (such as steepness, no merchantable timber, etc.) and alternatives are considered. Fire management and carbon beneficial forestry practices are described as well. 

View the slides from a presentation on Forest Management Plans, courtesy of Sonoma RCD:
County of Sonoma Updates
Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Plan StoryMap
The County of Sonoma and participating jurisdictions are in the process of updating its Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan in 2020-2021 per the five-year update cycle required by FEMA and the Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. Part of the plan update is the creation of an online StoryMap. The StoryMap reflects the current status of the Hazard Mitigation Plan Update process, as of February 2021 and provides information about the planning process, identifies community involvement opportunities and presents updated hazard and risk data.

Click here to visit the online StoryMap! Have any comments or questions about the Plan or StoryMap? Send an email to
County Chipper Program
The County of Sonoma Roadside Chipper program was implemented in 2014 and has supported hundreds of county residents in creating defensible space around their homes. Since the program’s inception, there has been an increase in the use of the program by county residents working towards increased fire safety. Last year, the free roadside chipper program started on May 4, 2020 and continues to operate based on available budget, which is driven by community demand for the service. The program operates on a “first come, first served basis”. The budget was initially funded in July 2021 at $170,000 for the Fiscal Year 2020/2021 but during budget deliberations one-time adjustments were made to the budget and the Fiscal Year started with $400,000.
The program opened for applications March 1, 2021. Chipping will take place beginning April 1 on a first come first serve by zone basis. The County also has community based assistance days on their schedule and will resume the normal process around those dates. Please read the guidelines online before submitting an application. For further information and to sign up for the program, go to Permit Sonoma's website here.

If creating a more fire resilient Sonoma County is important to you, please consider donating to Fire Safe Sonoma. Thank you for your support!