Help us create a safer community
Join the Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council as we create the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
WHAT IS A CWPP?
A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a community-based plan focused on identifying and addressing local hazards and risks from wildfire. CWPPs are authorized and defined in Title I of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA), passed by Congress in 2003. https://www.congress.gov/bill/108th-congress/house-bill/1904/text
A CWPP determines what is at risk and provides a roadmap of actions for a community to address the wildfire threat. A CWPP includes, at a minimum, the following 3 central components:
- Collaboration – A CWPP must be collaboratively developed. Local and state officials must meaningfully involve nongovernmental stakeholders and federal agencies that manage land in the vicinity of the community.
- Prioritized Fuel Reduction – A CWPP must identify and prioritize areas for hazardous fuel-reduction treatments and recommend the types and methods of treatment that, if completed, would reduce the risk to the community.
- Treatment of Structural Ignitability – A CWPP must recommend measures that homeowners and communities can take to reduce the ignitability of structures throughout the plan area.
What is the difference between the Unit Strategic Fire Plan of the Ventura County Fire Protection District and the Ojai Valley CWPP?
Ventura County is one of six counties that maintains a contractual relationship with CAL FIRE. The State of California’s Strategic 2018 Fire Plan (State Plan) creates a statewide framework for collaboratively reducing and preventing the impacts of fire through suppression and prevention efforts. A Unit Plan is part of the State Plan. While the Ventura County Unit Plan involves collaboration with stakeholders, its emphasis is on assessing Ventura County Fire Protection District (VCFPD) preparedness and firefighting capabilities capacity. For the community, the limitations of the Unit Strategic Plan are:
- Fire-agency focused
- Backlog of fuel treatments
- Vegetation management and response focused
- Limited community involvement and empowerment
- No interconnection to holistic disaster risk needs
- Evacuation plans options, structural hardening, emotional well-being, short & long recovery services, etc.
In contrast, the Ojai Valley CWPP is a holistic, community-focused plan and is being developed through community-based efforts. The Ojai Valley CWPP seeks to empower our community to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from a major wildfire event.
The VCFPD Unit Plan and Ojai Valley CWPP are complementary and together makes us a more wildfire resilient community.
What a CWPP is not:
A CWPP is a community level planning document, not a regulatory document or ordinance.
A CWPP is not a land use, growth management, or emergency evacuation plan.
Land use and growth management for the City of Ojai and the unincorporated areas of our planning area are guided by the:
- City of Ojai General Plan
- Ventura County General Plan
Emergency operations for Ventura County are guided by:
Why develop a CWPP?
- To realize the goals of a comprehensive wildfire risk mitigation strategy:
- Empower and prepare the community to mitigate wildfire risk.
- Protect societal values.
- Leverage existing capacities.
- Build citizen and “whole” community capacities.
- Develop a “culture of resiliency.”
- Become a truly fire-adapted community in a fire-dependent ecosystem.
- To assess wildfire hazards and risks to the community.
- To help the Ojai Valley community to clarify and refine its priorities for the protection of life and property, and critical infrastructure.
- To lead community members through valuable discussions regarding management options and implications for the Ventura River Watershed.
- To define values/assets and how to enhance protection to those assets in case of a wildfire. Assets at risk are unique to each community and can include homes, roads, other structures and infrastructure, wildlife habitat, or even views.
- To establish a localized definition and boundary for the Wildland-Urban-Interface (WUI).
- Gives priority to projects and treatment areas identified in the CWPP by directing federal (and state) agencies to give specific consideration to fuel reduction projects that implement those plans. If a federal agency proposes a fuel treatment project in an area addressed by the CWPP but identifies a different treatment method, the agency must also evaluate the community’s recommendation as part of the project’s environmental assessment process.
- To guide the OVFSC, its partners, and the community in prioritizing projects and locations where the community can take action to reduce the wildfire threat in ways that are reasonable and acceptable to the community’s way of life.
- To create and guide implementation of a long-term Action Plan for the community.
- To enhance funding opportunities to implement the plan.
- To build and strengthen relationships among diverse community stakeholders, partners and collaborators, and provide visibility for organizations and individuals.
- To identify new and increase awareness of existing community-level projects, e.g.: clearing vegetation from major evacuation routes; community-supported grazing program; and developing plans for fuel hazard reduction treatments around a community.
- Provide long-term recovery integration, including:
- Modeling of post-fire effects can provide good insight into potential post-fire effects.
- Long-term recovery is an opportunity to engage a broad range of stakeholders including those from sectors such as infrastructure and public health.
- Provide inclusive engagement of all sectors and stakeholders.
- The relationships built during the CWPP process will assist in long-term recovery.
What is a Fire-Adapted Community?
“A knowledgeable and engaged community in which the awareness and actions of residents regarding infrastructure, buildings, landscaping, and the surrounding ecosystem lessens the need for extensive protection actions and enables the community to safely accept fire as a part of the surrounding landscape.” The National Wildfire Coordinating Group U.S. Forest Service
How do I get involved in the Ojai Valley CWPP?
Where do I get more information about the Ojai Valley CWPP?
How will the CWPP be used?
- To educate the Ojai Valley and Ventura River Watershed communities about current wildfire risks and steps that can be taken to reduce those risks.
- To build community capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from major wildfire events
- To create a “culture of resiliency” for our community.
- To build, strengthen and sustain a diverse range of partnerships and collaborations.
- To inform future policies and ordinances for consideration by City of Ojai and Ventura County as appropriate.
- To take action to implement wildfire risk mitigation projects individually or collectively as appropriate.
- To apply for grants and other funding sources to implement wildfire risk mitigation projects
What is the process for developing and implementing the Ojai Valley CWPP?
- The Draft CWPP will be developed using the current OVFSC Road Map, updated modeling and mapping of current wildfire risk, and community input. Community input will be gathered through community workshops, online public survey, and comments received by OVFSC.
- The Draft CWPP will then be revived by the public, approved and adopted by the City of Ojai Council, Ventura County Supervisors, Ventura County Fire Protection District, CAL FIRE, and USFA-Los Padres National Forest.
- The Final CWPP will then be used to mitigate wildfire risk and improve safety through community projects, policies, and funding programs.
How often will the CWPP be updated?
What is the difference between a Hazardous Fire Area and a Fire Hazard Severity Zone?
Fire Hazard Severity Zones (FHSZ) are geographical areas designated pursuant to the California Public Resources Code and are classified as Very High, High or Moderate. Updated FHSZ maps will be adopted in early 2023.
To determine if you are in a State mapped HFSZ, see: https://egis.fire.ca.gov/FHSZ/
For more information on Fire Hazard Severity Zones see: https://osfm.fire.ca.gov/divisions/community-wildfire-preparedness-and-mitigation/wildfire-preparedness/fire-hazard-severity-zones/
My property is located within the HFA. What does that mean?
Will the CWPP affect my insurance rates?
The OVFSC has begun a long-term effort, including obtaining needed funding,to help address the property insurance crisis in California. First, the OVFSC has partnered with Ventura Regional Fire Safe Council to perform Home Hardening Assessments in the Ojai Valley. Second, OVFSC is teaming with Jensen Hughes to develop a risk scoring tool with the following key objectives:
- Standardize the approach to evaluate, understand, and score vulnerability of homes to wildfire (parcel and neighborhood levels)
- Develop a decision-making tool to prioritize mitigation and outreach efforts
- Develop too to monitor and track progress of home hardening efforts and risk reduction
We will coordinate with the insurance industry to quantify risk reduction efforts and substantiate underwriting risk premium modeling. An overarching value is to advance fire science and safety.
The anticipated key outcomes of this effort are:
- Structure a parcel and neighborhood wildfire risk prioritization tool
- Monitor and track wildfire resiliency building for structures/homes
- Obtain insurance industry support for underwriting home
We will be adding this important initiative to our main website in the near future.