The Sonoma County Department of Emergency Services – Fire Prevention Division, is primarily responsible for programs, procedures, and projects for preventing the outbreak of fires and regulate the storage, handling and processing of Hazardous Materials through the CUPA program within the unincorporated areas of the county. This profile is managed by Caerleon Safford who works with our Vegetation Management Inspection Program, and consults with other agencies and communities about WUI risks and strategies.
Additionally, Caerleon works with the County Fire Safe Council on outreach and education, with a primary focus on “start with the house and work out”, facilitate community CWPPs, and help with Fire Safe Council/Firewise organization. In Caerleon’s spare time, they are an active firefighter in their WUI community’s Volunteer Fire Department.
Collaboration and Cohesion Post-Disaster
Before the 2017 Sonoma Complex fires, it was very difficult to convince the public, and even some fire officials, of the tremendous potential in our county for a devastating wildland fire. Post disaster, myriad agencies, public and private groups and individuals are trying desperately to do something to "fix" the WUI problem. Establishing priorities, launching projects that effectively address risk, making sure that the right agencies and individuals are talking to each other, and getting everyone on the same page continues to be a significant challenge.
Vegetation Mangement Inspection Program Development
Sonoma County Fire Prevention Division is creating an inspection and enforcement program for hazardous vegetation and combustible materials, based on a recently adopted ordinance. This involves selection of areas for inspection, training inspectors, inspection tracking applications, and processes for enforcement.
We've been working on developing small community-based CWPPs that will be appended to the county-wide CWPP. I find that they are a great tool to gather up the community, and help them understand risk, and appropriate mitigation strategies.