OJAI VALLEY WILDFIRE RISK MITIGATION STRATEGY
Reality of Increasing Threat of Wildfire
- Climate Change
- Vegetation accumulations increasing
- Wildfire Behavior has changed—severe, erratic and intense
- Longer wildfire season—almost year-round in times of drought
- Wildland-Urban-Interface expanding
- Increasing Liability, cost, risk
- Since 1970, wildfires have increased in frequency by 400% across the USA
Our level of community preparedness, response capacity and resiliency must adapt to this change.
In 2019, the Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council (OVFSC) launched a new initiative to develop and implement a comprehensive, sustainable, holistic, community-based, community-driven Wildfire Risk Mitigation Strategy for the Ojai Valley Area. The first step was to prepare a Road Map (link to Learn More-Road Map page) a comprehensive guidance document for development, implementation and funding of the long-term Strategy. The Road Map was developed using the Logical Framework Approach – an approach rooted in the fields of disaster risk management and international capacity development – is intended to serve as the long-term plan and implementation strategy for increasing citizen and “whole” community-level capacities to prevent, mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from wildfire threats now and into the future. The work to develop and implement the Wildfire Risk Mitigation Strategy is an iterative, non-linear process which in ongoing.
The Risk Mitigation Strategy project area encompasses an approximate 225 square mile area in Ventura County with the City of Ojai roughly in the center. The communities benefiting from the project include:
- City of Ojai
- Meiners Oaks
- Mira Monte
- Oak View
- Upper Ojai
- Matilija Canyon
- Wheeler Hot Springs
- North Fork Springs
- Casitas Springs
- Foster Park
- West Ventura
Wildfire Risk Mitigation Strategy Area
Our Risk Mitigation Strategy is based on the following:
- Wildfire is inevitable and necessary. We live in a fire-dependent ecosystem.
- A very small percentage of wildfires are uncontrollable
- But this small percent causes more that 95% of the loss of life and property
- A substantially enhanced community-level response capacity is need for such catastrophic fires
The goals of the Wildfire Risk Mitigation Strategy are:
Empower—Prepare and empower our community to mitigate wildland fire risk
Protect—Protect not only life and property but community values
Leverage—Leverage existing capacities
Build—Build citizen and “whole” community capacities
Develop—Develop a “culture of resiliency”
Become—Become a truly fire-adapted community
Fundamental to the Risk Mitigation Strategy, and one of the main focuses of the Road Map, is the engagement and collaboration of all stakeholders in the community with a common interest in protecting the things that are valued by the community, addressing the specific challenges of the local context and developing comprehensive disaster risk management strategies that work for the whole community. This differs from the historical approach to wildland fire hazard mitigation in the Ojai Valley and greater Ventura County, which is primarily based on a hazard-centric, agency-driven plan (i.e. Unit Strategic Fire Plan developed by the Ventura County Fire Protection Department).
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