The 2000 fire season demonstrated to the public, politicians, agency administrators and fire managers that the protection of natural and man-made resources requires a bigger and broader effort by all agencies and fire programs. The Cerro Grande escaped prescribed fire near Los Alamos in New Mexico, and multiple destructive wildfires throughout the West made it clear that a well-rounded interagency approach to fire management is needed to meet the public's perception of adequate fire protection.
The President saw first hand the wildfire-caused destruction. He requested an Action Plan by the Secretary's of Agriculture and the Interior. The purpose was to address the current wildland fire situation and to develop a strategy with recommendations to minimize the short and long term impacts from wildfires. The resulting report included a recommendation of increased funding to reduce short and long term impacts from wildfires.
The report, known as the "National Fire Plan", outlined a comprehensive strategy with funding that began in Federal Fiscal Year 2001. The Plan outlined five key points:
Continue to fight the fires for the rest of this fire season and be adequately prepared for next year.
Rehabilitation and Restoration
Restore landscapes and rebuild communities damaged by wildfires of 2000.
Hazardous Fuel Reduction
Invest in projects to reduce fire risk.
Work directly with communities to ensure adequate protection.
Be accountable and establish adequate oversight, coordination, program development, and monitoring for performance.
The Plan outlined a comprehensive strategy with a commitment to funding for a continued level of "Hazardous Fuel Reduction" and new funding for a "Community Assistance/Community Protection Initiative." The intent of the Community Assistance initiative is to provide communities interfacing with federal lands an opportunity to get technical assistance and funding to reduce the threat of wildfires.
The Plan directed federal agencies to "work directly with communities to ensure adequate protection from wildfires, and to develop a collaborative effort to attain the desired future condition of the land." The key wildland fire management agencies in California have chosen to accomplish this effort through the California Fire Alliance.
The California Fire Alliance (CFA) has been in existence for more than four years. The National Fire Plan provided a resurgence and expansion of the CFA.
The CFA has agreed to focus alliance efforts on four strategies to deal with the National Fire Plans initiative of "Community Assistance."
The Alliance through it members, will work with Communities At Risk
from wildfires to develop community based planning leadership and facilitate the development of community fire loss mitigation plans, which transcends jurisdiction or ownership boundaries.
The Alliance, through its members, will assist communities in the development of fire loss mitigation planning, education and projects that will reduce the threat of wildfire losses on public and private lands.
The Alliance, through it members, will develop a universal information and education outreach plan to increase awareness of wildland fire protection program opportunities that are available to communities at risk.
The Alliance, through its members, will work in a collaborative fashion to develop, modify and maintain a comprehensive list of communities at risk.
The Directors of the agencies involved in the CFA are committed making the National Fire Plan successful in California. This commitment is evident in their direction of staff time to make the Alliance effective.
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