The Carmel River Watershed Conservancy (CRWC) and other area groups are working on several wildfire prevention and planning initiatives after an unprecedented wildfire season in California and in Monterey County.
The CAL FIRE California Climate Investments Program recently granted nearly $1 million in funds to the Fire Safe Council for Monterey County for fuel reduction, and approximately $4.8 million to the Resource Conservation District of Monterey County (RCDMC) to reduce fuel around County homes, maintain strategic fuelbreaks, increase forest and vegetation community resiliency, and control invasive plant species.
CRWC continues to work with a coalition of local stakeholders, including RCDMC’s Forest Health Coordinator, to prevent wildfire spread and plan evacuation routes. This work includes another grant proposal, spearheaded by RCDMC, which would fund strategic fuelbreak work in Carmel Valley.
CRWC has also applied for a Community Foundation for Monterey County grant to fund the addition of a Fire Regime indicator to its new Watershed Health Report Card. This indicator would track historical fire patterns to help prevent more intense and frequent wildfires through fire disrupting vegetation and modeling. The report card will also monitor the impacts of wildfire on watershed health over time. California Wildlife Day 2021 will include a special focus on wildfire impacts to wildlife and strategies for property owners who are interested in protecting their land and structures while protecting native habitat. For more information on on best management practices, please visit the Santa Lucia Conservancy invasive plant guide.
The Cypress Fire Protection District also continues to work with HOAs in its districts by supplying matching grant funds to support the reduction of fuel. Other Carmel Valley neighborhoods are exploring early warning systems, such as infrared imaging and satellites, in order to prevent wildfire spread.
The Office of Emergency Services is heading up emergency evacuation planning in the County later this year, and CRWC will be part of public review of the Carmel Valley zone.