The risk of significant wildfire exists in both San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties. The San Mateo – Santa Cruz County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) attempts to identify those hazards, as seen across the landscape, and provide strategies to mitigate wildfire risk and restore healthier, more resilient ecosystems while protecting life and property. A CWPP also serves as a tool for the accrual of grant funding to aid in the implementation of wildfire prevention projects. This is a living document that will adapt to a changing landscape with changing priorities. The development of this CWPP began in mid-2008 following the Summit Fire, which burned over 4,000 acres in Santa Cruz County. Between 2008 and 2009, CAL FIRE, in association with the Santa Cruz and San Mateo Resource Conservation District’s (RCD), met with community and agency stakeholders in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties regarding their wildfire concerns. Through this process, community-identified hazards, assets at risk, and high priority areas in need of fuel reduction were identified. In 2018, the CWPP was updated by the initial drafting agencies to revise outdated information. This CWPP is not a legal document and is not intended to be an all encompassing document in regards to fire planning and management in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties.
Additionally, this CWPP does not satisfy any regulatory permitting process, including CEQA analysis for any project proposed within. This plan recommends both general and specific projects, all of which are subject to the appropriate permitting and environmental review for the county in which they are proposed. Any public projects identified or proposed in this CWPP will be done only as funding allows. There is considerable variation in vegetation, weather conditions, geography and access throughout San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties. There are also numerous government jurisdictions with differing interests. Because of this, the discussions and recommendations in this CWPP have remained general in nature, as to not conflict with stakeholder interests. Because this plan is a flexible planning tool, rather than a blueprint, general guidelines allow the project proponent to develop the most appropriate site-specific treatment. Finally, this CWPP should be utilized as the foundation for additional, detailed, site-specific CWPPs to be prepared for communities throughout the region.