Is your home likely to be the victim of wildfire?
That’s what the state of California is trying to determine as it updates its fire hazard severity map for its state responsibility areas. The last time it was updated was in 2007.
You can learn more about the process by attending a meeting set for Tuesday, Jan. 17, from 6-8 p.m. in the Mineral Building at the Plumas Sierra County Fairgrounds. The office of the state fire marshal is also seeking public input which is due by Feb. 3.
Experts and stakeholders have worked on updates to the state’s map to ensure that it accurately reflects today’s reality for wildfire hazard throughout the state. See Plumas County’s map below:
“Ensuring Californians know the wildfire hazard in their area is critical to ensuring we all take the appropriate steps to prepare for wildfires,” said Chief Daniel Berlant, CAL FIRE deputy director of Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation. “The updated map is the product of years of discussions and incorporates the latest science to provide a long-term outlook of an area’s wildfire hazard.”
CAL FIRE’s fire scientists and wildfire mitigation experts developed the map using a science-based and field-tested model that assigns a hazard score based on the factors that influence fire likelihood and fire behavior. Many factors are considered, such as fire history, existing and potential fuel (natural vegetation), predicted flame length, blowing embers, terrain, and typical fire weather for an area. These zones fall into the following classifications – moderate, high, and very high.
Working closely with the Department of Insurance and other agencies, CAL FIRE is creating a shared approach to further reduce wildfire risk that assists residents and businesses with accessing affordable insurance. The Department’s first-ever report on climate insurance recommended updated wildfire hazard mapping to improve public safety. Insurance companies and researchers, along with insurance agents and brokers, have been involved throughout this process to ensure cooperation between all sectors to better support Californians. And while insurance companies use similar methodologies to calculate risk as they price their insurance offerings to consumers, insurance risk models also incorporate many factors beyond this process, and many of these factors can change more frequently than those that CAL FIRE includes in its hazard mapping.
“Making California safer from wildfires is our top priority, and my Department of Insurance will continue to work closely with the first responders at CAL FIRE to better prepare our communities,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who issued the Safer from Wildfires insurance framework with CAL FIRE and other agencies earlier this year as well as finalizing his new regulation to increase access to wildfire safety discounts and to ensure consumers can learn more about wildfire risks being considered by their insurance company. “Public education about where current wildfire hazards exist is essential to reducing the threat to local communities and maintaining access to affordable insurance. I encourage Californians to ask questions in this public process and to learn more about the tools that exist to help communities and governments reduce their local risks.”
As part of the adoption process of the map, CAL FIRE invites public comment on the proposed map through Feb.3. The public may submit written comment at the address below or through email at [email protected].
Written comments may be submitted by U.S. mail to the following address:
Office of the State Fire Marshal
C/O: FHSZ Comments
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection P.O. Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460
To determine the FHSZ of a property, the public can easily search an address using a new FHSZ Viewer at osfm.fire.ca.gov/FHSZ.
More information is also available on the Plumas Planning Department webpage: https://www.plumascounty.us/89/Planning-Department