Tuolumne County Profile - Community Indicators Project
Tuolumne County Profile Executive Summary Tuolumne County Profile Introduction Health and Safety Education and the Arts Natural Resources and Recreation Economy and Infrastructure Acknowledgements Conclusion
Natural Resources and Recreation - Tuolumne County Profile
Natural Resources and Recreation


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 situations.

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.

Tuolumne County - Central Sierra Mountains