Wildfires have long been a natural part of California’s landscape throughout history, but in 2020 we witnessed one of the largest and most intense wildfire seasons ever. The reports are sobering –more than 115,000 acres burned across 22 state park units through mid-October. Our climate continues to change, we can anticipate a higher number, frequency, and increased intensity of wildfires in our future.
We are encouraged by the State of California’s proposed investment in forest stewardship to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires to both restore landscapes and protect communities, outlined in the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, released earlier this year .
The plan prioritizes:
- Increase landscape scale resilience in our forests and natural landscapes, including through increased use of prescribed fire and funding for tribes
- Helping fire-vulnerable communities get prepared for wildfire by hardening homes
- Ensuring our tools and investments in wildfire resilience are based on the best available science
- Expanding economic and job opportunities for forest management
We look forward to working with California State Parks and statewide partners to implement components of this plan over the next few years to create healthier forests!
How does California State Parks work to build wildfire resilient landscapes?
Learn more about how the Santa Cruz District and the Amah Mutsun Land Trust are working together in Año Nuevo State Park to integrate Indigenous knowledge and cultural practices to restore fire practices into the landscape and reduce catastrophic wildfire risk.
Check out how California State Park’s Environmental Scientist Courtney Rowe works as a resource advisor during wildfires in the Sierra District.
How is Parks California supporting Wildfire Resilience and Recovery?
In late 2020, Parks California launched a Wildfire Relief & Resilience Fund to support the short and long-term wildfire recovery and resilience of California State Parks. Parks California partnered with Stageit to host a live virtual concert to help parks impacted by the 2020 wildfires, with proceeds to benefit the wildfire relief and resilience efforts in State Parks.