Santa Clara County FireSafe Council FAQs
1. What is the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council?
2. What is the Mission of the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council?
The mission of the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is: “Mobilizing the people of Santa Clara County to protect their homes, communities and environment from wildfires.”
This mission is fulfilled through the combined resources of the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council and its participating organizations, companies and individuals.
3. Who participates in the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council?
The participants in the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council are listed at the bottom of our About Us Page.
4. Why does Santa Clara County need a FireSafe Council?
The communities in Santa Clara County are surrounded by many large, populated, Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas, primarily in the foothills on either side of the Santa Clara Valley.
There are many fire prone areas in Santa Clara County which are at risk of wildfires because they have large accumulations of natural fuels. Many areas in the county are very similar to the Oakland Hills area in Alameda County where a wildland fire in 1991 caused major losses of life and structures. Terrain, vegetation and accessibility conditions in Santa Clara County create the potential for similar events to occur here.
Due to climate change, our moist winters create more fuel, which in turn dries out during the record hot summers. This increase in dry and combustible fuels poses a greater fire risk. Recent wildfires in Santa Clara County include the Croy Fire in 2002 and the Summit Fire in 2008, both of which caused major loss of property and threatened thousands of lives. There have, of course, been larger and more devastating wildfires in other parts of California. A large wildfire in Santa Clara County could be even more dangerous because we have many, highly-populated WUI areas.
Living in California means learning to live with wildfires. The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council empowers individuals and communities to make our homes and neighborhoods “Fire Safe.”
5. What does the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council do?
The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council’s primary programs and projects are:
- Community Outreach and Education Programs:
SCFSC volunteers distribute literature and other materials at community events and meetings. Community engagement is an essential part of these programs, which include Youth Education Programs for families and children living in Wildland Urban Interface areas.
- Hazardous Fuel Assessment and Strategy Projects:
Our member organizations and other stakeholders identify fire prone areas in Santa Clara County, propose appropriate treatments to reduce the risk of wildfires and develop Community Wildfire Protection Plans (East Foothills, Lexington Hills, and Croy Area). These plans identify fire prone areas in Santa Clara County and appropriate treatments to reduce the risk of wildfires.
- Hazardous Fuel Reduction Programs and Projects:
These are typically clearing and chipping programs and projects, which are based on Community Wildfire Protection Plans and designed to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations. We have agreements and federal grants for Defensible Space Chipping Programs for homeowners and residents in our 14 Communities at Risk for wildfires in Santa Clara County. Please see our Santa Clara County Wildfire Prevention Problems and SCFSC Solutions Fact Sheet for additional information on these activities (PDF File).
6. Is the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council a city or county agency? Do you fight fires? What authority do you have?
The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is simply a non-profit organization incorporated in California.
We are not a city or county agency and we don’t fight fires or have any authority but our participants include CAL FIRE and city and county fire protection agencies and departments, some of which do fight fires and have various authorities.
7. How can I become involved?
The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council meets at 1:30 PM on the second Tuesday of each month. Homeowners, residents and representatives of all interested organizations are welcome! Meetings are usually held at fire stations or other members’ facilities. Please see our Meetings Page for the date and location of our next meeting.
There are fire safe councils in most California counties and in some other states. See the list at Fire Safe Councils in California and then click on the council name for the contact information.
8. How is the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council funded?
The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is partially funded by federal grants from the USDA Forest Service and by agreements with cities and fire districts. Local matching grants and donations come from foundations, organizations, companies and individuals. All our funding is used in Santa Clara County. We do not receive any funding from, or pay any fees to, the California Fire Safe Council. See the list of our recent contributors.
For additional information or to make a tax-deductible donation to the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council, visit our Donations Page.
9. Where can I find Fire Safe information for Santa Clara County?
The Fire Safe Section of our Web site contains information on creating Defensible Space around your home and other Fire Safe information and resources.
10. Where is your booklet Living With Fire in Santa Clara County?
View our 20-page booklet for homeowners, Living With Fire in Santa Clara County.
11. How can I learn how to create Defensible Space around my home?
Living With Fire in Santa Clara County includes a step-by-step guide to create Defensible Space around your home.
12. Does the Fire Safe Council have any chipping programs for homeowners?
View information on our Defensible Space Chipping Programs.