Fire Prevention and Post-Fire Recovery
Fire is an essential ecological process in fire-dependent ecosystems, such as California wildlands. Sonoma County like many California counties is annually threatened by catastrophic wildfire, particularly in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Our local topography and fuels make our County subject to periodic wildfires. However, combined with 100 years of effective fire suppression across the state, these conditions have led to uncharacteristically high fuel loads which has resulted in several devastating wildfires we have witnessed firsthand here in our community. The RCD has a long history of collaborating with local community and agency stakeholders to provide our residents with technical assistance, planning, and on-the-ground implementation project management support. We continue to seek partnerships that promote the safety of our community and resiliency of our watersheds both before and after wildfire.
We’re Here to Help
The RCD is here to provide support to those impacted by wildfires in our community. If you have natural resources concerns on your fire-impacted property, please contact Shannon Drew at 707-569-1448 x110 or SDrew@sonomarcd.org.
Services We Offer
The RCD is offering these current services related to fire recovery and resiliency in our impacted watersheds:
- Technical assistance information and site visits to determine resource needs and appropriate actions concerning erosion, riparian areas, forest management, etc.
- Information and resources will be sent out in our eNews,
- Connecting landowners with funding resources available for post-fire natural resource protection,
- Natural resource permit assistance on a fee for service basis.
- Watch our Post-Fire Considerations for Landowners: Zoom Q&A Session (11/17/2020)
In addition to our work with individual landowners, we are engaged with the Watershed Task Force, supporting efforts to assess watershed damage and needs, secure funding, and outreach to the community. For more information on the Watershed Task Force, and the Watershed Emergency Response Team formed through CalFire, check out this press release. We are here for you, and are ready to work side by side with you as our community recovers together.
Preparing for Winter After the Fire: what you can do
These tips were provided by natural resource specialist Rich Casale, who has assisted many communities in fire recovery efforts.
- You can help by taking simple steps by placing straw wattles, hay bales, and mulch around burned areas to reduce the chances of ashes and other material from washing into streams.
- Remember that everything that is outside drains to creeks and streams. Don’t use leaf blowers or hoses to remove ash and debris.
- Get help from professionals who are certified, registered and/or licensed before selecting and installing large, permanent or semi-permanent treatment measures.
- Wear protective gear whenever you work in burned areas.
- IF YOUR PROPERTY IS IN A RURAL AREA OR ON A HILLSIDE watch for unusual movement of water, land, and debris during or after rain. Have an emergency plan and leave your property if it becomes unsafe during or after a storm.
- Minimize soil and slope disturbances. Ash, leaf drop, downed trees and remnant burned vegetation all play a role in protecting the soil and slopes following wildfire.
- Work with your neighbors. Runoff, erosion & debris flows have no boundaries.
- Private roads require more maintenance in the first few winters following wildfire. Clear debris upstream of culverts as possible, and check culverts for clogging after every storm. If culverts or other road drainage structures do not appear to be functioning properly, consult a professional.
Resources for Homeowners and Landowners
Fire Prevention and Resiliency
- Living with Fire in Sonoma County
- CAL FIRE Fuels Reduction Guide 2021
- Tahoe RCD Wildfire Home Retrofit Guide
- Fire Safe Sonoma’s “Ready, Set, Go!” personal wildland fire action guide PDF (English) (Spanish)
- RCD’s Natural Resources Recovery Guide (updated 9/23/2020)
- California Native Plant Society Fire Recovery Guide (updated 2019)
- Dos and Don’ts (PDF)
- Post Fire Top Ten Things to Consider (PDF)
- Protecting Bare Soil Following Wildfire
- Some Notes About Seeding Grasses Following Wildfire
- A Note About Mulching for Erosion Control After Wildfire
- Straw Wattle Typical Drawing from NCRCD
NRCS After the Fire Fact Sheets: Preparing Your Property for Winter
- Contour Sandbags (PDF)
- Erosion Control Mats (PDF)
- Hand Raking (PDF)
- Hillside Home Drainage (PDF)
- Hydromulching (PDF)
- Log Erosion Barriers (PDF)
- Sandbag Barrier (PDF)
- Seeding (PDF)
Local Native Grass Seed Sources and Erosion Control Supplies Contacts List
- Natural Natural Resources Recovery Guide (updated 9/23/2020)
- Hedgerow Farms – Winters
- LeBallisters – Santa Rosa
- Harmony Farm Supply –Sebastopol
Resources for Fire-damaged Forests and Oak Woodlands (all NRCS, UCCE, Cal Fire sources)
- Burned Oaks – Which Will Survive? (PDF)
- Recovering from Wildfire – Forest and Woodland (PDF)
- Fire Restoration Forestland and Woodland (PDF)
- Survival of Fire Injured Conifers in California (PDF)