Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program: Building a safer future for our communities and forests
Working Together for Wildfire Resilience in the Inland Empire
The Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF) is proud to be a partner in the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity (RFFC) program. This statewide initiative, administered by the Department of Conservation under the auspices of the California Natural Resources Agency, helps regions like ours develop and implement priority plans for improving forest health and protecting communities from wildfires.
IECF was awarded a two-year block grant of $1.6 million, a flexible pool of funds to help Riverside and parts of San Bernardino increase forest and fire resilience in the face of a changing climate. The Foundation serves as administrator of the funds, bringing together local and regional stakeholders and distributing dollars for greater capacity to work and plan together for these big issues.
- Regional Priority Planning
- Looking Ahead
The Regional Forest and Fire Capacity (RFFC) program is centered on the implementation of the regional framework that has been created by the California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force through science and technology that unite local and regional partners to solve local and regional challenges in protecting communities and sustaining forested lands.
As the Regional Block Grantee, the RFFC for the Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF) will develop a Regional Priority Plan (RPP) that identifies, coordinates, prioritizes, and advances wildfire and forest resilience projects and initiatives.
In collaboration with the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District, the RFFC program manager will develop the RPP for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties that align partners’ priority projects with an “all lands” approach across jurisdictions and ownership. This joint partnership will align workforce capacity, develop regional priority projects, and generate funding for projects while effectively reducing costs by removing duplication of efforts for the Inland Empire.
EMPOWERING COMMUNITY FIRE ADAPTATION
- Fire Adapted Communities – California Wildfire & Forest Resilience – The first in a series of information hubs to increase awareness and understanding of key issue areas.
- Fire Adapted Communities – This is the place to learn about fire-adapted communities, find tools and resources, and get inspired by community wildfire adaptation work across the country!
- Community Resilience to Wildland Fire – Learn more about the programs and strategies that are dedicated to wildfire resilience, and why they are increasingly important with guidance from the WFCA.
- RFFC 2023 Grantee CA Map
- CAL Fire: $8 million Wildfire Resilience Block Grants to support private forestland owners. (Opens 1/29/24, Closes 2/26/24, 5pm)
- 2023/2024 State Fire Capacity (SFC) Grant to support hazardous fuels reduction, community wildfire prevention planning, and education and mitigation activities in California and the Tahoe region of Nevada. (Opens 2/1/24, Closes 3/15/24)
- The Rose Foundation California Watershed Protection Fund to support projects designed to benefit the surface water quality of many of California’s watersheds and their ecosystems. (Letters of inquiry due 2/23/24, Invited applications due 4/1/24)
- April 4-5, 2024: California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force Meeting: SoCal Region-San Diego Zoo Safari Park | Escondido, CA
- December 15, 2023: California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force Meeting: Sacramento
- September 13, 2023: Southern California Wildfire Resilience Convening: Summer Meeting-Crestmore Manor, Jurupa Valley
In attendance for Ca. Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force meeting on December 15, 2023, at California Natural Resources Agency-Sacramento
In collaboration with Santa Ana Watershed Association on Arundo Removal Project in the Santa Ana River: Project Completion expected by May 2024.
- IECF Launches Regional Forest & Fire Capacity and Shared Stewardship Advisor Web Pages
- Governor’s Monthly Update
- California Announces $98 Million in Forest Health Grants, Provides Update on Projects from $1.5 Billion Wildfire Resilience Package
- State Awards $72 Million to Accelerate Building Fire Resilient Communities and Landscapes Across California
- David Hernandez Named IECF’s Forest & Fire Coordinator, Shared Stewardship Advisor
Regional Framework: A United Front
A collaborative approach: The RFFC program recognizes that different areas within the Inland Empire have unique needs and challenges. That’s why IECF will work closely with existing partners like the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District (IERCD) and other Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) across Riverside County. See our list of partners above.
This collaborative approach allows us to:
- Share resources and expertise: We’ll pool our knowledge and funding to maximize the impact of our efforts.
- Focus on regional priorities: We’ll work together to identify and address the most pressing wildfire risks in the entire Inland Empire.
- Strengthen partnerships: By connecting different organizations, we’ll create a stronger network of support for long-term solutions.
As a regional block grantee, our goals include:
- Fostering collaboration: We’ll facilitate communication and cooperation between various organizations and stakeholders – from fire officials to landowners – ensuring everyone works toward shared goals.
- Building organizational capacity: We’ll help RCDs and other partners develop the skills and resources they need to effectively manage wildfire prevention and restoration projects, including offering assistance with grant writing to access funding.
- Promoting civic engagement: We’ll involve local communities in planning and decision-making, building broader support for wildfire resilience efforts that improve forest health, create fire-adapted landscapes, and protect homes and lives.
In collaboration with our partners, we will:
- Identify and implement projects: Over the next two years, we’ll help communities plan and complete important restoration and mitigation projects.
- Develop a Regional Priority Plan: We’ll work with our partners to create a comprehensive plan for building long-term wildfire resilience across the entire Inland Empire.
- Focus on implementation: IECF recognizes that building capacity ultimately leads to action. We’ll place a strong emphasis on project planning and preparation, ensuring our efforts translate into real-world solutions that contribute to California’s wildfire and climate goals.
While IECF does not have direct experience in leading project implementation, our design and partnerships will steer us towards creating or contributing to a successful Regional Priority Plan that makes a positive difference for our communities and forests.
David Hernandez, our Regional Forest and Fire Coordinator, plays a key role in these efforts. He not only leads the IECF’s RFFC initiatives but also works across the state as a Shared Stewardship Advisor. This dual role allows him to connect local needs with statewide resources and expertise, creating a stronger network for wildfire resilience.
Together, we can make a difference. Through the RFFC program, IECF is working with communities and partners across the region to build a safer, more fire-adapted future for everyone. Your donation to an IECF Disaster Preparedness Fund will support these efforts and strengthen our communities during their most challenging times.
Regional Forest and Fire Coordinator | Shared Stewardship Advisor
In addition to his role as Regional Forest and Fire Coordinator for IECF, David Hernandez also serves as Shared Stewardship Advisor. In this capacity, he works with USFS and partners across the state to identify collaborative opportunities and implement cross-boundary forest health and resiliency projects. Learn more about the program here.