Region 5 Media Desk
Preparing homes and communities for 2023 Fire Season
VALLEJO, Calif., April 28, 2023 — Wildfire Preparedness Week brings the USDA Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and partner agencies together to host five statewide events, May 1-5, to raise awareness on protecting against the threat of wildfires.
These events will focus on how families and communities can take a hands-on approach in wildfire preparedness — while also sharing how state, federal, and local public safety groups are preparing for the 2023 fire season. Efforts across agencies aim to reduce fuel and vegetation and share ways the public can prepare with home hardening and defensible space.
“We continue to let strategic, responsible planning lead the way,” said Jennifer Eberlien, Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region. “All of us are doing this work in the right place, at the right time, and right scale — to protect communities, critical infrastructure, and natural resources from wildfires. We are also working to help prepare communities through partners like CAL FIRE.”
Now is the time to create defensible space around homes and buildings, make homes more fire-resistant, and have emergency plans in place. This is especially important as about 25% of the state’s population, or 11 million Californians, live in a high-risk fire zone.
In 2022, the Forest Service announced the original 10 landscape project areas in its 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, with 11 more added in January 2023. The 21 landscapes represent initial investments in 134 of the 250 high-risk firesheds in the western United States. High-risk firesheds are large, forested landscapes and rangelands with a high likelihood of an ignition that could expose homes, communities, and infrastructure to destructive wildfire.
Last year the agency treated 3.2 million acres nationally with over $1 billion in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, plus regular hazardous fuels reduction projects.
Additionally, our partner CAL FIRE is encouraging Californians to access the free app Ready for Wildfire that provides local alerts, checklists for preparedness, evacuation plans, and other kits.