Wildfire Damage Assessment Restoration and Mitigation – Defensible Space Planning

We have over 35 years experience in fire suppression and rehabilitation. The partners, Frank Borden and Jim Chapin, both have many years of experience and knowledge in fire management and fuels management on National Forest land and private land. Both partners were responsible for fuels management projects as part of their responsibility while employed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Planning and developing shaded fuel breaks, prescribed burning, pre-commercial thinning, salvage harvest, and fire planning have been a major part of our experience both with the USFS and on private land.

Both Jim and Frank have extensive experience in wildfire damage assessments for insurance puposes and both have provided expert witness testimony in litigation involving wildfire damage. Clients have included large utilities as well as individuals.
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After the 1992 Fountain Fire in Shasta County, which burned 64,000 acres of private land, Shasta Land Management assisted over 40 landowners in the salvage harvest and rehabilitation of their lands. This included planning and supervising salvage harvest of merchantable timber, biomass harvest of sub-merchantable trees, site preparation, tree planting, erosion control, and stream restoration.

Jim Chapin has prepared several fire management plans in Northern California. These include: A Strategic Wildfire Defense Plan for the Middle Creek Watershed in western Shasta County, and Fuel Management Plan for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on four Indian Rancherias in Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma Counties. Jim also prepared “A Fire Management and Suppression Plan” for the 90,000 acre Hoopa Reservation in Humboldt County. This was prepared for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Hoopa Agency Development Council. Shasta Land Management Consultants has completed seven contracts with the Lassen National Forest marking leave trees for biomass thinning harvest to reduce fuel loading and improve forest health.

Defensible Space Planning

Insurance Agents: We believe we can provide a valuable service in instances where you are writing a new policy or reviewing an existing policy within high-risk fire hazard areas. We can perform initial and follow-up inspections for agents and underwriters. We can also develop site-specific Defensible Space Plans that can substantially reduce the risk of wildfire loss to prospective or existing homeowners. Finally, where vegetation clearing or thinning is needed, we have the equipment and labor to perform the work. References are available upon request.

Homeowners: As wildfires spread, many homes are needlessly lost due to a lack of “defensible space”. To avoid such a loss, creation of defensible space is essential. If you expect fire-fighting agencies to protect your home, you must do your part by providing defensible space before fire strikes. What is defensible space? Quite simply, defensible space is a break in vegetation continuity that will reduce the intensity and rate of spread of a wildfire. Does this mean clearing all vegetation? No. Trees as well as other plants can be left within the defensible space. The amount, species, size, and spacing of vegetation are the critical factors to consider.