Preparation of a new San Jacinto Mountains Community Wildfire Protection Plan has begun. To prepare an update to the 2006 plan, the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council has received a $55,000 grant from the California Fire Safe Council, which received the funding from the U.S. Forest Service.

Dave Kehrlein, ESRI of Redlands, presented the steps needed to complete the update at the June 8 Mountain Area Safety Taskforce meeting.

“I worked with many of the folks in the room on the original CWPP,” he observed. The Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted the current plan in July 2006. In 2010, much of the data and maps were updated.

A CWPP is the primary mechanism to evaluate the fire risk of a community. Consequently, it is an important planning document, Kehrlein stated. “Resources and landscapes change over time and CWPPs must be refreshed regularly.”

The steps to be completed include an update of the maps, describing the changes in risk rating, developing current priorities and distributing the CWPP to the key stakeholders.

Identification and discussion of the progress and accomplishments since the original CWPP are the first steps. To collect this information, Edwina Scott, MCFSC executive director, will convene a session of the public agencies involved in fire emergencies on the Hill.

The 2006 CWPP set three goals intended to reduce the threat of fire on the mountain. The first was to make possible and assist the removal of dangerous fuels to achieve optimal protection of people, property and habitat. The second goal was to continue and expand education of residents and interest groups to assist in creating greater safety for fire.

The third and final goal stated, “Continue to support the work of federal, state and fire protection agency resources in creating a safer environment in the San Jacinto Mountains.”

As work proceeds, Scott said there will be a round of community meetings to review the draft plan and solicit suggestions.