Fire Safe San Mateo News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from Fire Safe San Mateo.

CAL FIRE CZU (San Mateo & Santa Cruz Unit) NEWS RELEASE: Response to August Lightning Complex UPDATE Aug 19, 2020

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CAL FIRE CZU (San Mateo & Santa Cruz Unit) NEWS RELEASE: Response to Lightning-Sparked Fires

August 17, 2020

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Community Wildfire Safety Program from PG&E

PG&E has provided information about their Community Wildfire Safety Program, which includes information for residents. 

Please follow the link here: Community Wildfire Safety Program.

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Stanford University's virtual Workshop on Wildfire Management

wildfire forest burning, orange flames


Earlier this year, Stanford's Bill Lane Center for the American West had planned an in-person Workshop on Wildfire Management. It was reformated into a virtual workshop that includes a recorded keynote presentation "What Motivates Homeowners to Mitigate Fire Risk? Lessons from Social Science" and two recorded pannel discussions, "Wildfire Management and Preparation during the COVID-19 Pandemic" and "Preparedness adn Recovery: The Human Dimensions of Wildfires". In addition, there are student poster presentations of original wildfire-related research available for viewing. 

Please follow the link to access this resource: Wildfire in the West: Workshop on Wildfire Management (virtual format)



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Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Blitzes 2020 will still be running, using new and approved guidelines


At the March Fire Safe meeting, Dr. Matteo Garbelotto of UC Berkeley presented the lates information about SOD (Sudden Oak Death) and its relationship to fire ecology (please see meeting notes from March 2020 for a recap). Dr. Garbelotto also invited anyone interested to participate in the annual SOD Blitz which is run by his research program at UC Berkeley. 

In light of the recent COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, Dr. Garbelotto provided us an update that the SOD Blitzes for 20202 will still be running, using new and approved guidelines. 

Copied below is his message with more details:

March 31st, 2020

Concerned Californians, nature-lovers and environmentalists,

You are receiving this email because in the past you have attended one of the many programs offered by the U.C. Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory (<>). I know many of you have participated in at least one annual SOD Blitz. SOD Blitzes have grown to become the gold standard in the field of Citizen Science programs aimed at protecting forest health, and you –the volunteers- are the main reason for this success. SOD Blitzes allow us to map the distribution of Sudden Oak Death (SOD) throughout the State each year. Mapping SOD in 2020 may be critical for various reasons: 1)- Areas with recent SOD mortality are much more prone to support extremely hot wildfires; 2)- SOD infected oaks fail, often when still green, with obvious consequences for property and people; 3)- Knowing where SOD is, allows local residents to choose to protect their oaks using science-proven disease management options; 4)- Two new strains of the diseases are looming at the edge of California forests and the SOD Blitzes are the only way to intercept them before they spread. These new strains could be a game changer in the negative sense of the expression.

In spite of the ongoing health scare and of the statewide “Shelter in Place” ordinance, we have been able to redesign the 2020 SOD Blitzes to make them 100% safe and legal, an effective activity that allows you to exercise, and –of course- a powerful Citizen Science program that will help all of us protecting our forests. The program has received full approval by U.C. Berkeley and it will go on as long as we all follow the simple guidelines posted at<>. All of the training and free registration will be done online, you will pick up fully sterile collection and survey materials at a local SOD Blitz Station, conveniently located near a parking lot, and you will return your samples at the same SOD Blitz station or by mail, depending on where you are. All the precise information is available at<>. Remember, by participating in your local SOD Blitz, you will get a chance to exercise in nature while helping protecting our forests through a 100% safe activity.

Social distancing and clean “housekeeping” rules are strongly enforced, so when picking up or returning materials and stay at least 6 feet away from other volunteers. You will be allowed to survey and sample trees in private properties with the owners’ consent, along roads (be mindful of approaching vehicles), and in parks that may still be open to the public. Again, respect social distancing rules in the field as well. Do participate, because Sudden Oak Death is not stopping and we need to be proactive about it in order to succeed in our efforts to preserve our beloved oaks for future generations. In 2019 alone, more than one million trees were killed by SOD. Go to<> to familiarize yourselves with the easy-to-follow new SOD Blitz guidelines, and to find out the time slot that has been assigned to your neighborhood to perform the survey. This is an activity you can do with the entire family or with one friend: do not miss out the opportunity to be part of the solution.

Matteo Garbelotto Ph.D.

Director U.C. Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory Statewide U.C. Forest Pathology Extension Specialist Adj.Professor, Department of ESPM<>

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Opportunity to get involved in community wildfire resiliency


Mipeninsula Regional Open Space District wiil be having a virtual public meeting about their Wildland Fire Resiliency Program. This is an opportunity to learn more and provide actions. 


Information from Midpen:

Now is a great time to comment on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District's Wildland Fire Resiliency Program.This proposed program will proactively expand our environmentally sensitive vegetation management to establish healthy, resilient ecosystems; reduce fire risk; and facilitate fire suppression.

Please join Midpen's board of directors for a study session:

Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 5-7 p.m.

Virtual meeting, click here for details<>

No board action will be taken

This is an opportunity to learn more about and comment on program components including:

  • Vegetation management plan
  • Prescribed fire plan
  • Monitoring plan
  • Preserve maps for fire agencies

Due to shelter-at-home orders this will be a virtual meeting. Details and instructions on how to comment and participate<> can be found on our website.

For more information contact project manager Coty Sifuentes-Winter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 650-625-6560.

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Upcoming Events

Check out a few upcoming events of interest to FIRE SAFE San Mateo County members! These events are not affiliated with FIRE SAFE San Mateo County, but are wonderful opportunity for members to learn and network throughout the region.

Protecting Your City from Wildfire

Crowne Plaza San Diego

Wednesday, March 11 - Thursday, March 12, 2020

This meeting has been organized to provide city administrations with best practices and expert advice on developing community wildfire protection plans, engaging and educating residents, and hardening existing systems to increase resilience. It is now more important than ever for cities and communities to coordinate with police, water, fire, public health, electric utility, and other local, state, and federal agencies.

Attend this meeting to learn best practices in order to respond to the risk of wildfires. Cities will learn how to work aggressively and proactively on plans to mitigate avoidable risk, coordinate with many public agencies, and make strategic investments to render your city able to provide essential services and protect the life and property of your citizens.Conference Website.



Workshop on Wildfire Management: The Case of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties

Stanford University

Monday, March 16, 2020 

Stanford University invites local policymakers and resiliency staff to join for a one-day workshop on issues surrounding wildfires, building upon early efforts in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties to identify risk and vulnerability and pivot to actionable solutions that can be implemented by cities. RSVP by Feb 21.


RESOURCE: Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW)

Established in 2015 by Headwaters Economics and Wildfire Planning International, Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) works with communities to reduce wildfire risks through improved land use planning.

CPAW is a grant-funded program providing communities with professional assistance to integrate wildfire mitigation into the development planning process. The CPAW consulting team consists of foresters, land use planners, economists, and wildfire risk modelers who collaborate closely with community leaders and city officials to reduce wildfire risk.

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Help Wanted: Project Coordinator for South Skyline FireSafe Council

Project Coodinator Position for Fuel Reduction Project

South Skyline

The South Skyline FireSafe Council (SSFSC) is seeking a Project Coordinator to facilitate and provide leadership for California Conservation Corps crews (CCC) on a fuel reduction project in the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve and adjacent Portola Heights community.  Work is entirely on privately owned residential properties as well as land owned or managed by the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District (MROSD). The Coordinator will coordinate with the CCC crew supervisor, South Skyline FireSafe Council, CalFire, and MROSD staff as well as residents of the community to ensure compliance with SSFSC treatment specifications, to prioritize work, and to address special conditions that arise.  This is a temporary position, although future SSFSC projects are anticipated that may lead to future work.  Applicants will need a business license or may be “on loan” from another agency

Full Job Description Found Here: South Skyline Project Coordinator Job Posting

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Debra Born at 650-917-9648 or email at debbborn [@]   

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Your Home, Your Community: Making Neighborhoods Safer Through Firewise USA Program


Created to address fire risk on private property, Firewise USA is a national program that empowers homeowners to engage in fire prevention at a community level. This recognition program through National Fire Protection Association provides homeowners with an organized framework to plan, organize and implement fire prevention around their homes and communities. Homeowners can learn about wildfire, gain access to resources, and collaborate with neighbors to provide their community with a framework for action. There are even some opportunities for fire insurance discounts. In participating, communities join over 1,500 other Firewise USA sites in 42 states who volunteer yearly to decrease their risk of fire.

 Firewise USA representative, David Shew, presented to the September 11th, 2019 Fire Safe San Mateo County meeting on general information about the program for San Mateo County residents. If you missed the September meeting, you can still view the powerpoint presentation below.

To have your community recognized as a Firewise USA site or to learn more, visit


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Fire Weather - Fire Science Presentation by Dr. Craig Clements SJSU

Dr. Craig Clements from the Fire Weather Research Laboratory at San Jose State University gave a presentation on fire weather and fire science at the July 10th meeting. The Fire Weather Research Laboratory is the only academic fire weather program in the United States. Dr. Clements conducts research on extreme fire behavior and fire weather and his program collects observational data on wildfires and experimental fires. The program develops ways to understand weather created by fires and how other weather patterns can be used to predict where and when fires will occur. He also discussed other data gathering and monitoring his program carries out, including live fuel moisture monitoring and fire weather research field sites.

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