Greenbelts & Wildfire Research

California has a serious problem: extreme wildfire events are growing more frequent every year under a changing climate. Such a complex problem requires significant, bold changes.

In order to protect people and preserve open spaces and natural resources, we must implement innovative land-use policies and collaborate at the state, regional, and local levels to change our relationship to wildfire. So we are documenting the critical role that different types of open spaces can play in wildfire prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Greenbelt Alliance is doing this by…

Conducting original research on how the natural environment around us can play a significant role as nature-based solutions to climate risks like wildfire. Specifically, protected greenbelts and open spaces are growing in importance as a wildfire resiliency tool with multiple benefits and applications in fire-prone areas across the US. Such research is particularly relevant now after the devastating human and ecological impacts from wildfires over the past few years across the Bay Area and will serve to generate lessons learned for California as well as other states.

Putting our findings and recommendations into action in ongoing regional planning—making the case and directive for what is needed to use greenbelts as land-use policy tools in wildfire planning, prevention, and long-term resilience planning.

outcomes of this work

Raise awareness and understanding around the actions required to build a resilient Bay Area.



We will achieve this by publishing a white paper on the role of greenbelts in wildfires for Bay Area policymakers, planners, and key stakeholders. This features case studies where greenbelts provided wildfire mitigation, reduction, and/or prevention benefits.

We will then promote the findings and policy recommendations and best practices through thought-leadership blogs, white paper release events, external communication campaigns, and topical webinars.

Communities, policy makers, and land owners collaborate to heighten understanding of wildfire risk and ways to improve resilience.



We will work to build a network—across sectors and breaking down silos—to collaborate on implementing land-use policy that reduces wildfire risks.

We will also advocate for actions in ongoing regional planning efforts: promoting what is needed to use greenbelts as land-use policy tools in wildfire planning, prevention, and resilience.

Keep reading

wildfire and greenbelts
Teri Shore

Wildfire & Greenbelts: Saving Sonoma County

Thanks to all of you who joined our most recent webinar highlighting the role that greenbelts and smart growth played in the Kincade Fire. We learned so much from our guests, Town of Windsor Councilperson Deb Fudge and Deputy Fire Chief Matt Gustafson of the Sonoma County Fire Protection District. We don’t want you to

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Wildfire in Idyllwild Pine Cove CA
Sarah Cardona

Practical Guidance on How California Can Co-Exist With Inevitable Wildfires

An interview with expert Van Butsic of UC Berkeley The devastating, record-level wildfires that have scorched more than 3 million acres across California serve as a stark wake-up call for residents of the Golden State to learn to coexist with fire. These blazes and the resulting social, ecological, and economic damages are on track to

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What is a greenbelt? Look at the Contra Costa County hills for an example.
Teri Shore

What is a Greenbelt?

The Bay Area’s 3.6 million-acre greenbelt provides fresh food, clean air and water, and recreation. Greenbelt Alliance protects these lands. But exactly what is a greenbelt?

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