WILDLAND FIRE SERVICES
Why is this important?
All of Tuolumne County is at risk from wildfire. The
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
categorize all of the acres it protects in the county as very
high risk. The seasonal cycle of very wet winters and hot
dry summers creates an environment that is conducive to
large damaging wildfires in the summer and fall months.
Prior to Euro-American settlement, the annual fire return
interval ranged from 12-26 years at higher elevations to
8-15 years in lower elevations. Introduction of livestock,
grazing, logging, and organized fire suppression forces
have altered the natural fire return interval. The result
has been a shift from frequent low intensity wildfires to
higher intensity fires burning in more dense forests. This
has been exacerbated by a growing population, which
has resulted in a growing number of annual wildfire
What is the measure?
We noted the trends of personnel, resources, grants and
population change over the last 5 years.
How are we doing?
Despite the increasing fire activity, fire suppression
resources have remained relatively stable. The 2003
fire season in Tuolumne County was mild, with below
average ignitions and below average acres burned. There
were 388 fires in the County in 2003 compared to a
five-year average of 409. Acres burned were 4,450, which
compare to a five-year average of 7,776. During the 2001
season, 30,137 acres burned.
Interagency cooperation on Highways 108 (Highway 108
Strategic Planning Group) and 120 (Southwest Interface
Team Project) in conjunction with the 108 Fire Safe
Council and the Yosemite Foothills Fire Safe Council led
to numerous fuel reduction projects being implemented
around communities in these corridors.