American River Watershed Institute

Colfax Community Watershed and
Fire Safe Ecosystem Project

Fire is a fact of life in California. In an effort to improve wildfire protection, this pilot project pulled together neighborhoods in the greater Colfax community, introduced fire-safe goals, and achieved a shaded fuel break through public outreach activities.

You can read about the project, at a summary level, on the Pilot Project pages.

The threat of wildfire to life, property, and the ecosystems of the Sierra foothills has a major impact on the State of California. This pilot project was developed to address the need for communities to organize and become proactive in fire safety, specifically to reduce the fire fuel load of dense vegetation in the forest. Read more in the Problem: Fire in California section.

For decades, forest management sought to prevent and suppress fire, and dense stands of trees and brush have made today's wildfires burn hotter and grow larger. As people move into the "wildland urban interface", or "I-Zone", the potential for catastrophic loss of life and property grows. Though homeowners must take responsibility for their property's defensible space, this project proves that with collaboration and incentives, neighborhoods and communities can be mobilized to improve fire safety.

The project demonstrated that remedies can be applied to the problem, reducing the destruction that follows a wildfire. Homeowners create defensible space, neighborhoods protect larger areas, and the whole community comes together to improve wildfire protection in canyons and other watershed areas. See the Remedies section for details and the Tools for Action section for resources.


Documentation for this project was prepared by:
Otis Wollan
Project Manager
President, American River Watershed Institute
Stewart Feldman
Communications Consultant
Former Executive Coordinator, Placer County Fire Safe Alliance

Project contact

American River Watershed Institute (ARWI)
PO Box 1750
Colfax, CA 95713

Project funded by City of Colfax, California