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Posted on: March 4, 2021

Council to Consider Ordinance Allowing Vegetative Debris Pile Burning for Wildfire Mitigation

News Flash_Fuel Mitigation Burning Ordinance

At their March 16th meeting, City Council will consider an Ordinance allowing property owners to burn vegetative debris piles as a way to reduce the threat of wildfires. This type of pile burning, under appropriate weather conditions, can rapidly eliminate vegetative debris after it is cut and piled.

The proposed ordinance would allow private landowners of parcels with five acres or more in size and located in the City’s Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Area to obtain a permit from the Fire Department to conduct pile burning to reduce wildfire fuel hazards. Similarly, private landowners on smaller parcels both in and outside of the Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Area would be allowed to apply for a permit; however, these would only be permitted on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Fire Department.

Historically the Santa Rosa Fire Department (SRFD) has not authorized this type of burning within the City.  However, establishing permitting protocols for this fuel mitigation option was one of the many recommendations in Santa Rosa's recently adopted Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) which Santa Rosa City Council approved in September of 2020. The CWPP is a community-based plan focused on identifying and addressing local hazards and risks from wildfire, and also provides a road map of actions for the community to implement to mitigate potential wildfire threats. After researching the feasibility of pile burning as a method to eliminate hazardous vegetation (fuel) and gathering community input, staff drafted the Fuels Mitigation Pile Burning Ordinance to bring before City Council at their next meeting.

Council agenda information will be posted here by Friday, March 5th.

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