Field Notes

Wildfire Awareness Month: Enhancing Wildfire Resilience through Proactive Planning

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At WRA, we believe that proactive planning is indispensable to enhancing community preparedness in the face of imminent wildfire threat. Our planning work aims to engage regulatory entities, local agencies, and the public to craft and deliver solutions that will promote sustainable, long-term community wildfire resilience. With the support of WRA scientists and regulatory specialists, WRA’s diverse planning team is prepared to guide wildfire resilience projects from start to finish, from preparing funding applications to obtaining regulatory approvals. By harnessing the expertise of our multidisciplinary team from project inception to completion, we aim to empower communities to effectively mitigate wildfire threats through tailored strategies and partnerships that foster long-term collaboration and engagement.

Experience in Action

WRA is currently working with the  City of El Cajon to develop a Vegetation and Fuel Management Plan for two City-owned open space reserves that are surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Our staff is using field survey data and vegetation mapping to effectively assess risks within the planning area and develop management standards and identify vegetation treatment projects to reduce fire hazards. Fuel treatments included in the plan will be required to be reviewed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). WRA planners will develop treatment measures that will best protect the community from wildfire and wildfire-related hazards while simplifying the regulatory approval process.

WRA staff are experienced in the preparation of wildfire-specific planning documents to be utilized by local agencies to characterize wildfire risks to communities and identify tailored hazard reduction strategies. Collectively, we are eager to collaborate with clients and stakeholders to outline multi-benefit planning documents for wildfire risk management that will meet regulatory requirements as well as suit the needs and expectations of the community.

In addition, WRA’s environmental planning team recognizes the importance of protecting critical community infrastructure as part of pre-disaster planning and wildfire resilience. Well-versed in guiding clients through the CEQA and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review processes, WRA recently partnered with Freyer & Laureta, Inc. to assist the Town of Hillsborough in the development and publication of a Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for a project to construct a seismically resilient water pipeline within the Town and two neighboring municipalities, the cities of Burlingame and Millbrae. The proposed pipeline will provide a reliable water source along the Wildland Urban Interface to increase fire suppression resources and protect critical water storage and distribution infrastructure, as well as residents within all three communities.  

In summary, proactive planning stands as the cornerstone in safeguarding communities and vital infrastructure from ever-present wildfire hazards, with timing being of the essence. WRA’s steadfast planning team remains committed to fostering proactive wildfire planning and bolstering community resilience, ensuring a safer and more secure future for all.

Contact us for resilience support!

Liv Niederer, Assistant Environmental Planner

To learn more about our capabilities, download our Community Resilience brochure.

Read more in our Wildfire Awareness Month series including: