Wildfire Safety & Management

Fire Risk on The Preserve

Wildfires in California have grown larger and more destructive in recent years.  In 2020 alone, 4,397,809 acres burned across the state. Fire protection resources were stretched thin, homes were lost, and nearly 20,000 people were displaced last summer when three fires burned concurrently near the Santa Lucia Preserve:

  • The Dolan Fire (Big Sur, 124,924 acres)
  • The River Fire (Salinas/Toro Park, 48,088 acres)
  • The Carmel Fire (Cachagua, 6,905 acres reaching just two miles east of the Preserve)

Our Wildfire Management Legacy

The Preserve’s Community Services District (CSD) and the Conservancy have maintained relationships with both our local Fire District and Cal Fire through prescribed burns, forest health and other fuel management plans, permits, and implementation. Our long history of planning and adapting to fire risks and taking measurable actions to increase community safety and resilience has earned us immense respect from our agency partners who see The Preserve as a model for how other communities living in the Wildland-Urban Interface can stay safe in a fire-prone landscape.

Fuel Management Plans

The Santa Lucia Preserve Fuel Management Standards, updated in 2018, outline a Preserve-wide strategy for maintaining our commitments to protect biodiversity, wildlife, and our community from wildfire. The Standards identify appropriate fuel management treatments for each Preserve habitat type. A key element of our approach to fuel management is to help each landowner create a Lot-Specific Fuel Management Plan (FMP), which takes into account the natural vegetation, landscaping, topography, home design and other unique features of each lot. FMPs provide customized fuel management prescriptions that meet or exceed state standards and are prepared by qualified experts.

Mandated by the Santa Lucia Preserve CC&Rs, FMPs are a Preserve-wide, standardized requirement of every landowner. The purpose of this plan is to guide the implementation of vegetation management to provide landowners with sufficient defensible space and fire safety around their home and structures (as required by California Public Resources Code 4291) while maintaining the natural and aesthetic values of the Santa Lucia Preserve. Typically established during the Design Review Process and tailored to the unique conditions of each property, these plans are written by qualified fuel management consultants and must be updated every five years. 

Our Goal: Fifty New Fuel Management Plans in One Year

In coordination with The Preserve, the Santa Lucia Conservancy has set a goal to complete 50 new Lot-specific Fuel Management Plans (FMPs) by May 2022 in order to keep our community safe, protect The Preserve’s unique ecology, and support landowners in insuring their assets. We’ve streamlined our process for creating new and updated plans in an effort to expedite this initiative and reduce the procedural burden on landowners. Check out our FMP Template to see what a completed plan includes.

If you have any questions about fire safety on The Preserve, please reach out to Executive Director Jamison Watts at jwatts@slconservancy.org or (831) 402-9694.