California Board of Forestry: Stop Plan to Target 38 Million Acres of Habitat in California for Clearance
  • Petitioning George Gentry, Exec. Officer

This petition will be delivered to:

California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
George Gentry, Exec. Officer
California Natural Resources Agency
Secretary John Laird
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
Senator Fran Pavley, Chair

California Board of Forestry: Stop Plan to Target 38 Million Acres of Habitat in California for Clearance

    1. Petition by

      The California Chaparral Institute

Please join us in calling on the California Board of Forestry to retract its proposed habitat clearance program that targets 1/3 of the state of California with herbicides, grinding machines, and unnatural fire.

We call on them instead to work with the California Natural Resources Agency and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water to create a Comprehensive Fire Protection Program that:

- focuses on actual assets at risk rather than habitat clearance
- preserves the rights of citizens to object to destructive projects
- incorporates the most current science
- understands the difference between forests and other ecosystems

Specific details about the Board's proposal:

What: Draft Program EIR for the Vegetation Treatment Program
Deadline for comments: August 8, 2013
More info:

View the EIR (1,300 pages!) here.

Summary of what's wrong:

Extensive scientific research clearly indicates that the best way to protect lives, property, and the natural environment from wildfire is through a comprehensive approach that focuses on community and regional planning, reducing ignitability of structures, and modifying vegetation within and directly around communities at risk. By focusing exclusively on clearing habitat, the Board is NOT addressing the main causes for loss of life and property from wildland fire.

The Board's proposal will target about 38 million acres (1/3 of the entire state) for "masticating," spraying with herbicides, burning, or grazing. This would increase its existing habitat clearance program five times over current levels. If certified, the program EIR will exempt individual habitat clearance projects from public oversight required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Everything from state parks to private lands could be stripped bare without local notice or a chance to appeal.

Every decade we increase funding for habitat clearance operations and fire suppression activities, followed by a decade of even worse fire impacts. The Board's proposal perpetuates and expands this same approach, one that has failed to reduce cumulative wildfire damage and firefighting expenditures over the past century. As a consequence, the proposal is a waste of tax payer money, will cause significant damage to the environment, and will fail to effectively protect Californians from wildland fire.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please sign this petition. Share it far and wide! We will be submitting it to the Board of Forestry during their August 8, 2013 meeting in Ventura. Please consider joining us. Details in the news below.

Also, please send your own letter (the one below can be used as a model) to the California Board of Forestry with a copy to the California Natural Resources Agency and the California State Senate Committee for Natural Resources and Water.

Contact info:
Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
Attn: George Gentry
Executive Officer

with copies to:

John Laird
California Natural Resources Agency

Senate Committee on Natural  Resources and Water

Thank you!

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 7,500 signatures
    2. CalFire Clearance Plan under scientific review

      Between April 29 - May 1, 2014, a panel of fire scientists and other experts will be holding meetings in southern California as part of their review of CalFire's habitat clearance plan. This review was required by the California legislature in an effort to make sure the best available science was used in the plan's development. We will let you know how the meetings go.

      As you can tell by now, whenever bad public policy is challenged, it takes a very long time to get it right.

      Rick Halsey
      The California Chaparral Institute

      P.S. More information can be found on our website here:

      Cal Fire habitat clearance plan

      CalFire/Board of Forestry Proposal 1/3 of state targeted for habitat clearance - Major Threat to Nature in California - Your right to challenge clearance projects may be taken away CalFire plans to grind, burn, graze, and herbicide up to 2 million acres of natural habitat in California per decade under their proposed program.

    3. Reached 6,000 signatures
    4. CalFire revising their habitat clearance plan

      We just wanted to let you know that after a face to face meeting, numerous phone calls, a public hearing, AND the petition you signed, we have been able to convince Cal Fire to review and revise their plan to target 1/3 of California for habitat clearance operations.

      We don't know when this new version is going to be released, but we will keep you informed.

      Thanks again for your support in our effort to protect California's priceless natural environment, especially the chaparral. To find out more about this remarkable habitat, please visit our website:

      Richard Halsey
      California Chaparral Institute

    5. Reached 5,000 signatures
    6. Hearing Aug 8 in Ventura on Cal Fire habitat clearance plan

      Thank you for signing our petition! Now you have a chance to speak out in person at a special hearing in which the question of how to "manage" chaparral in California will be addressed.

      We'll be there presenting in addition to fire ecologist Jon E. Keeley, and USFS scientists Hugh Safford and JoAnn Fites-Kaufman. The public (you!) will also have an opportunity to testify. This will be the chance for all Chaparralians to provide comments in person about Cal Fire's proposal to target about 38 million acres (1/3rd of the entire state) to be burned, chewed-up, or sprayed with herbicides.

      When: August 8, starting at 8AM
      Where: Four Points Sheraton, 1050 Schooner Drive, Ventura, California 93001

      Here's the agenda for the meeting:

      More information here:

    7. Reached 4,000 signatures
    8. Committee to discuss habitat clearance plan today

      We sent this letter to the Board of Forestry this morning:

      Dear Mr. Gentry and Board Members,

      We respectfully request that the Resource Protection Committee discuss a proactive proposal at today’s meeting: invite members of the environmental and fire science communities who submitted detailed comment letters critical of the Draft PEIR to participate in a collaborative process to assist the Board in shaping a successful VTP.

      Although there are distinct differences in how each of us would achieve the VTP’s objectives, we all agree in the common goal of protecting life, property, and natural resources from wildland fire. As such, we believe by working together, we can develop a viable program that will gain the support of those who have voiced strong opposition to the current approach.

      Such a collaborative effort is the preferable option.

      We look forward to your positive response.


      The California Chaparral Institute

    9. Reached 3,000 signatures
    10. We're four signatures away from 500!

      Thank you friends for your support and for your signatures on our petition to protect California's fragile habitats from irrational clearance operations. Based on your comments, we've modified the layout a bit to improve our message. If you haven't already, please share this petition with your friends and email contacts and ask them to please join you in signing.

      THANK you so much!
      Rick Halsey

      Below are some photos that provide a sample of what will happen if the Board of Forestry's proposal is approved.

    11. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Guido Frega GAITHERSBURG, MD
      • 14 days ago

      I am deeply engaged in Ecological studies, and the Chaparral zone in California is the only one of its kind in the Americas.

      • 18 days ago

      i must speak power of Shem HaMeforash to Stop Plan to Target 38 Million Acres of Habitat in California for Clearance

    • Karla Holding DOVER, FL
      • 24 days ago

      California should do everything in it's power to be worthy of the name The Golden State, and if this travesty is allowed, it negates that title.

    • Hayley Hicks BURBANK, CA
      • 26 days ago

      I agree that a holistic committee of experts need to contribute to decisions that cause widespread impact to the natural habitat of the state. A careful less reactive plan will have a broader more productive reach into our future.

    • Roxanne Miller SAN RAMON, CA
      • 29 days ago

      There are barely any natural habitats for wild animals as is. We need to stop destroying what nature we have left.


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