Sonoma County Wildfire Adapted (SoCo Adapts)
Wildfire Adapted uses community-scale risk-reduction techniques to reduce wildfire’s potential for home destruction.
The embers and heat from a wildfire can exploit building vulnerabilities. Dry vegetation and other fuels near structures can also help a fire spread. Wildfire Adapted helps residents within the selected project areas understand how to create defensible space and harden homes against the heat and embers of wildfire.
If you are in our project area, our assessors will come to your home to provide a Defensible Space Assessment. We will soon offer the opportunity to sign up to receive a structure hardening assessment that will focus on vulnerable elements on and near structures. All properties in the project area will receive a defensible space assessment. You will need to sign up to receive a structure hardening assessment. Assessments identify risk reduction strategies on and/or near your home. To help you do the work to reduce risk, Wildfire Adapted may provide up to $10,700 in cost-sharing incentives for property owners to complete high-priority risk reduction projects.
Wildfire Adapted is a 2-phase project. Phase 1 includes assessments and planning. Phase 2 includes incentive cost share to complete projects.
Areas of Work
This pilot project will address homes within 10 communities across Sonoma County. The 10 areas selected to be included in the pilot home assessment project were chosen based on proximity to very high fire severity zones and potential home loss. Check to see if your property is included in the Wildfire Adapted program area.
Wildfire Adapted is just one effort to reduce the risk of wildfire. You can learn more about our other Risk Reduction Programs and our Planning Efforts.
Wildfire Adapted Project Area Map Viewer
This map depicts the project areas that are included in the Wildfire Adapted Sonoma County program. These areas were selected based on wildfire hazard severity, population density, and an equal distribution across the County's Fire Protection Districts and/or Fire Districts.
Phase One: Learning how to adapt your home
The goal of Wildfire Adapted is to help property owners learn how to reduce fire-related risks. The program provides defensible space and structural hardening assessments, community workshops, and cost-sharing incentives to help property owners understand, prioritize and complete risk reduction projects.
Professional fire inspectors will visit each home to provide Defensible Space Assessments. These assessments provide information about important risk-reduction techniques that can help reduce home ignition. The primary focus of the assessments is to inspire residents towards positive action, rather than enforcement of regulations.
Property owners can also sign up for a structure hardening assessment. Structure Hardening is the process of replacing or modifying parts of buildings that can cause them to catch fire, especially from windblown embers. Our trained assessors will provide a list of potential vulnerabilities, and what can be done to reduce risk.
Phase Two: Helping property owners reduce risk
After completion of the inspection phase of the project, property owners within the 10 identified areas will be eligible to apply to receive incentive funding to help property owners reduce vegetation to complete defensible space and home hardening priorities. To be eligible for structure hardening projects, property owners must also pass defensible space inspections by the end of the project.
Incentives may reimburse up to 75% of eligible project costs, with an expected maximum of $7,000 for structure hardening, and a maximum of $3,700 for vegetation management for defensible space, dependent on the number of applications, and amount of projects requested. These funds will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. There are a total of 5,440 parcels in our project areas. We estimate that our funding will only be sufficient to help with defensible space and/or structural hardening on approximately 650 individual parcels. Projects will be distributed evenly across the different communities served by Wildfire Adapted. Applications for cost-share projects will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. We will post more information about the cost-share program as we get closer to Phase 2 of the program.
Work performed before formal approval of an application will not be eligible for reimbursement. You will need to apply for reimbursement funds, have your project approved, receive building permits as needed, and complete a contract with the County of Sonoma before any reimbursable work can begin.
To participate in cost-sharing opportunities:
- Sign up for email updates to receive a notification when the applications for your area open.
- When complete, your application will be reviewed for suitability to project guidelines, compliance with environmental regulations, and permit requirements as necessary.
- When it passes review, you will sign a final contract with the County of Sonoma.
- You will hire a contractor chosen from our approved contractor list and pay for work. Upon completion, we will reinspect the project, and if work has been completed as described in the proposal, and your property passes a post-project defensible space inspection, we will reimburse you for completed work.
- Assessments are ongoing. The Assessment Phase will be complete in 2022.
- Phase 1 of the grant (Planning and Assessments) will be complete by April 2023.
- Assessments for DS and SH will be complete in 2022.
- Assessments for DS and SH will be complete in 2022.
- Phase 2 of the grant (implementation of defensible space and structure hardening incentive funding)
- Currently, we are planning on Phase 2 to begin in late 2023 or early 2024, depending on FEMA’s release of project funding.
- The application period will open after FEMA’s release of funding
- The Defensible Space project application period will open in late 2021
- Structure Hardening Assessments will be available for properties in the project area in early 2022
- The Structure Hardening application period will open in 2022
Permit Sonoma received a $6.7 million grant in 2020 from FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to help Sonoma County to perform this important work.