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Mobilizing Californians to protect their homes, communities and environment from wildfires

California Fire Safe Council Mission Statement

Since its formation in 1993, California Fire Safe Council (CFSC) has united Californians to speak with one voice about fire safety.  CFSC is a leader in encouraging grassroots movements which make communities more Fire Safe, Firewise and Fire Adapted.

CFSC, a statewide non-profit organization, receives federal grants from agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and state agencies. These funds provide grant monies to local Fire Safe Councils and other community organizations in California using CFSC’s innovative online Grants Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse enhances existing relationships between communities and state and federal agencies, and helps create new relationships by expanding funding opportunities for eligible organizations and agencies.

In its ten years of grant making, CFSC has funded over 850 grants totaling over $81 million for projects to make communities across California safer from wildfire.

Since 2004, federal fire prevention funds have flowed through the CFSC’s Grants Clearinghouse for community projects. CFSC has received over 1860 applications requesting $225 million for proposed projects to reduce hazardous fuels, provide wildfire prevention education, and create risk assessments and Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs). CFSC funds at a rate of 35% in its highly competitive federal grant program.

CFSC is proud to state that 80% of the federal grant funds passed through the Grants Clearinghouse is applied to on-the-ground fuel reduction that has an immediate and positive effect on wildfire suppression and mitigation of property losses and loss of life, while directly meeting the objective of the federal grant programs. The remaining 20% is used to create and advance education and outreach programs to businesses and homeowners across the state.

Through its work with federal & state agencies and Fire Safe Councils, CFSC reaches hundreds of thousands of homeowners and business owners throughout California annually.

CFSC is governed by a statewide Board of Directors composed of experts in forestry management, wildfire prevention, and associated fields. The Board members understand the unique concerns of the wildland urban interface. The current Board of Directors includes personnel from federal, state or county agencies, education sectors, insurance and utility companies, and organizations concerned with protecting our state’s forest. Board members focus on planning, monitoring the organization’s financial health, ensuring legal responsibilities are met, and supporting organizational growth and development.

CFSC’s professional staff works diligently with applicants and grantees to prepare them for the important responsibility as federal grantees. CFSC’s certified grant managers develop curricula and materials for comprehensive workshops which detail the grant program requirements and expectations. Grant workshops are presented by CFSC grant managers across the state to hundreds of prospective and current grantee organizations. Once grantees are selected, grant managers work with the funded organizations to ensure successful project completion and compliance with federal grant regulations.

In 2012, CFSC became the State Liaison for the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise Communities Program. This designation was proffered through a Memorandum of Understanding with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). The Firewise Communities Program offers national recognition to communities that are committed to preparing residents for wildfire. The program criteria empower residents to learn about their wildfire problem and take action to improve the survivability of their homes and communities.

As State Liaison, CFSC promotes the Firewise program to its extensive list of Fire Safe Councils and community organizations. CFSC provides assistance to these community members and to local fire agencies that are working to achieve the prestigious recognition as Firewise. CFSC approves all Firewise Communities applications for California, which has seen a substantial increase in its participation since CFSC’s involvement.

Since becoming the State Liaison in 2012, CFSC has increased the number of Firewise Communities in California from 50 to 84 nationally recognized communities.

CFSC is an active participant in the national Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) initiative spearheaded by the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy. In 2014, CFSC was invited to serve as a hub organization representing California communities in the nationwide FAC Learning Network. As the only statewide nonprofit in the Learning Network, CFSC was sought after for its wide-reaching influence and support of local community groups. CFSC will receive a $16,000 grant from the FAC Learning Network to advance networking among Fire Safe Councils and Firewise Communities and to increase wildfire preparedness among residents living in the wildland urban interface through an innovative mobile app.

CFSC provides support to local community groups with similar missions. CFSC assists them with wildfire education and outreach as well as organizational issues such as capacity building and sustainability. Workshops and one-day conferences are offered throughout the state on fire and disaster prevention topics several times each year. Fire Safe Councils communicate regularly with CFSC to share information about local events, successful projects, and outreach programs. In turn, CFSC offers networking opportunities and training opportunities to help these important local groups continue their work in wildfire prevention.

For over twenty years, CFSC has been a leader in California’s fight to reduce the impact of wildfire. CFSC is recognized by state and federal fire agencies as a vital link to communities. Private corporations, including insurance and utility companies, have shown generous support for CFSC’s work. Through its support of local Fire Safe Councils, Firewise Communities, and the Grants Clearinghouse, CFSC affirms its mission to mobilize Californians to protect their homes, communities and environment from wildfire. CFSC works for the ultimate goal as described in its vision statement:

 

Together, people and communities have eliminated the impact of catastrophic wildfires on all they hold dear.

California Fire Safe Council Vision Statement