Unit Strategic Fire Plan developed for Mendocino Unit:
- Was collaboratively developed. Interested parties, Federal, State, City, and County agencies within the Unit have been consulted and are listed in the plan.
- Identifies and prioritizes pre fire and post fire management strategies and tactics meant to reduce the loss of values at risk within the Unit.
- Is intended for use as a planning and assessment tool only. It is the responsibility of those implementing the projects to ensure that all environmental compliance and permitting processes are met as necessary.
Christopher P. Rowney _ 4/17/15
Unit Chief Date
Christopher P. Rowney
Brandon Gunn _ 4/17/15
Pre-Fire Engineer Date
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Mendocino Unit consists of 2,361,560 acres. CAL FIRE provides direct protection for 2,244,450 acres, 28,145 of which are in southern Trinity County. With the exception of the four incorporated cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg, Willits, Point Arena, and small areas of Local Responsibility Area (LRA) lands within Mendocino County, CAL FIRE maintains statutory responsibility for all wildland fires. Of the total county population, approximately 67% live on State Responsibility Area (SRA) lands.
Population growth will impact SRA lands because of the build-out character of LRA lands.
The Unit’s Administrative Headquarters is located at Howard Forest, a complex of buildings on Highway 101 south of Willits. The complex is home to Resource Management, a Logistics Service Center, Training Center, two automotive fleet maintenance shops, and a breathing apparatus maintenance facility. It also houses the Emergency Command Center, which, in addition to CAL FIRE dispatch, provides fire, rescue, and medical dispatching services on a contractual basis for most of the County’s local agencies and ambulance services. The Unit’s Prevention Bureau includes a Pre-Fire Engineer, fire investigation personnel, Peace Officers, and a Fire Prevention Specialist, who also serves as Public Information Officer. The Battalion 2 fire station and Howard Forest Helitack Base at this location support various Howard Forest functions.
The assumption used in developing this Pre-Fire Management Unit Plan is that a proposed pre- fire project will reduce costs and losses during periods of severe fire weather, which is when most of California’s wildfire costs and losses occur. Once a pre-fire management project is accomplished, a large fire burning in that specific high-risk/high-value area more likely to be contained at a smaller size, burn with lower temperatures and severity, incur significantly reduced suppression costs, and result in substantially lower levels of losses to the environment and human infrastructure.
Each area of the Mendocino Unit, to a greater or lesser extent, will need to adapt to the ever- increasing population moving into and recreating in the wildland areas of the county. The increase in these activities will pose greater risks of fires and even greater expectations of all CAL FIRE response services. Through development, implementation, and ongoing reassessment of this Plan’s priorities, the Mendocino Unit will be ready and steadfast in its ability to provide leadership in pre-fire management planning and in protecting the citizens of Mendocino County from destructive wildfires.