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.


Joint Statement of Wildfire & Land-Use Principles to Reduce Risk & Increase Housing

In the wake of incredible losses and the record-breaking wildfire season California had in 2020, along with increasingly severe drought conditions, our state, regional, and local governments must urgently do more to keep communities safe from wildfires while also addressing the acute housing crisis Californians are facing.  Planning where and how new development is built,

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WUI: Three Letters at the Core of Wildfire, Housing, and Land Use

The “rainy” season in the Bay Area is nearly finished, and we’ve had very little rainfall. That means that most of the region, and the entire Golden State, is back in a drought—among the top 10 driest years. San Francisco’s rainy season alone is ranking as seventh driest in more than a century. Some experts

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Heeding the Power of Nature to Build Wildfire Resilience

California just made history, again. This time, in a very positive way. Governor Newsom’s Executive Order issued on October 7th enlists the state’s vast network of natural and working lands as nature-based solutions to climate change. California becomes the first state in the nation pledging to conserve 30 percent of land and coastal water by

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fire safe roads

Fire-Safe Roads for Wildfire Resiliency

When wildfires force people to flee their homes, they must depend on reliable and accessible roads to lead them to safety. To protect lives and homes, firefighters must be able to maneuver large fire trucks and equipment on these same roads. When the roads twist and are narrow and there is only one way out,

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Wildfire in Idyllwild Pine Cove CA

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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wildfire and greenbelts

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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