Controlled Burning for Improved Fire Safety in the Ukiah Valley
Ukiah, CA. December 4, 2019. –Over the past year, the County of Mendocino and the City of Ukiah engaged with lead agency CAL FIRE, and other key stakeholder groups to develop fire prevention and mitigation measures for the Ukiah Valley, including the western hills that border the city. Governor Gavin Newsom allocated $213.6 million dollars for fuels reduction and forest health throughout the state. The Community Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation Report (45-Day Report), prepared by The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), written in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-05-19, identified 35 Priority Fuel Reduction Projects in California. The Ukiah Fuels Reduction Project was one of those. The 26,541 acre Ukiah Fuels Reduction Project will better protect approximately 39,000 residents in the Ukiah area.
Two components of the project are largely in place in the western hills, including a fuel break at the base of the hillsides and a fire break along the ridgetops. Work CAL FIRE has completed to date in the western hills can be viewed in the attached map. To date, this includes:
14.1 miles of dozer fuel break using State and private equipment
3.25 miles of fuel break
223 total acres treated
8,000+ personnel hours
The third component of the Ukiah Fuels Reduction Project is vegetation management in the form of controlled burning. Beginning this month, and continuing into spring as weather and air quality conditions allow, CAL FIRE will conduct controlled burning around the Ukiah Valley. This controlled burning will include piles of vegetation, and broadcast burning of larger areas to strategically reduce fuel loads and lessen the intensity of future wildfire in the area. Broadcast burning of hillside lands immediately west of Ukiah will be visible from the city. Burning activities will begin at approximately 10 am, and conclude at approximately 5 pm daily. Smoke will be visible throughout the surrounding areas as burning operations are conducted.
Residents have a critical role in creating defensible space around their own homes and property. Fire Marshal Kevin Jennings of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority has been meeting with neighborhood groups and interested property owners to provide them with information about steps that should be taken to improve fire safety. Local groups are encouraged to contact the Fire Marshall with questions or requests for information. Additionally, information about how you and your family can prepare for wildfire can be found online at www.readyforwildfire.org.
The State’s Community Wildfire Prevention & Mitigation Report (45 Day Plan), written in response to the Governor’s Order can be viewed along with a project location web map viewer at https://www.fire.ca.gov/about-us/45-day-report/ . To receive current information from CAL FIRE, including announcements about controlled burning in and surrounding the Ukiah Valley, residents are encouraged to follow the CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CALFIRE_MEU and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CALFIREMEU/.