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Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project

Sonoma County Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project

The Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project will reduce wildfire risk to life, property and natural resources while fostering healthy landscapes that are resilient to wildfire. The project brings together fire professionals, natural resource experts, and community-based organizations to identify high-priority locations for large-scale vegetation management activities.

The project will reduce hazardous fuel loads within four designated project areas in the County. Work may take place on public lands, private lands, and road networks. The benefits of ecologically-appropriate hazardous fuel reduction projects include reducing wildfire risks to people, property, roadways, critical infrastructure, natural resources, and other community assets, while simultaneously improving forest health and resilience.

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Project Timeline

The Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project is two-phased:

  • Phase 1: Outreach, coordination, and project planning to identify sites for fuels reduction treatments. Anticipated to be completed by end of 2023.

  • Phase 2: Implementing the selected fuel reduction treatments. Anticipated to begin in 2024, dependent on FEMA's release of funding.

Project Areas

This project is funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) grant, awarded to Permit Sonoma, with local matching funds from the County of Sonoma. The grant application required pre-selecting the project areas. Thus, this project can only fund vegetation management work within the four pre-determined project areas.

The four project areas were identified based on the following criteria:

1. Burn history of fires exceeding 5,000 acres.
2. Excessive ladder fuel loads.
3. Proximity to high population density areas.
4. Public and private road network quality.
5. Ability to obtain access to the site.
6. Road network capacity limitations.
7. Environmental permitting implications.

Click image to zoom in (PDF: 3.5 MB)

Highlighted in orange are the four project areas for the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project

Project Activities

This project will fund hazardous fuel reduction activities such as:

  • Roadside vegetation management for emergency egress/ingress.
  • Strategic shaded and ridgetop fuel breaks.
  • Prescribed grazing.
  • Weed management.
  • Hazard tree removal.
  • Ecological restoration.

Landowners will be notified if a high priority fuel reduction project is identified, or proposed, for their property. Work will only occur where owners have opted-in to the fuel reduction activities. Permit Sonoma will manage the fuel reduction contracts and oversee the work.

The following activities are not eligible for funding:

  • Individual home hardening.
  • Defensible space for private homes and structures, unless necessary for the success of a specific site.
  • Prescribed fire, as it is not allowed under the FEMA funding regulations.

All work will be subject to applicable local, state, and federal regulations.