Natural Resources and Wildfire Adaption

The analysis is intended for government use, to share Caltrans priorities for strategic planning by government-led collaboratives that are focused on fuels reduction projects for fire prevention and forest health along state highways. 

Key documents

  1. How to Download Caltrans Wildfire Vulnerability Maps (PDF)
  2. Executive Summary of the Caltrans Wildfire Vulnerability Analysis - GIS Data Sources, Methodology, Scoring (PDF) 


State highways extend through every county and range of elevation in California.  Over 5,000 centerline miles of state highways are built in a rural setting of natural landscapes, including forestland, chaparral and grassland winding through mountains and along coastlines.  Historically, active forest management of forests was discouraged in California, but this has resulted in unhealthy, overly dense timber and vegetation which increases wildfire vulnerability and decreases forest health. Drought has triggered widespread accelerated forest mortality.

Defensible space, in the context of fire control, is a natural or landscaped area around a structure that has been maintained to reduce fire danger. Through the Division of Maintenance, Caltrans prepared a Wildfire Vulnerability Analysis (2020-2030) which identifies the highway corridors that are a priority for fuels reduction to create defensible space.  Fuels reduction projects with local, state and federal partners would reduce wildfire vulnerability to life, property and ecosystem services.

Defensible space can also mitigate the probability of wildfire ignitions originating from vehicles and travelers, reduce direct impacts to state highway assets when wildfires do occur, and maximize traffic flow for all modes of transportation during normal and emergency operations.

Through this website, Caltrans plans to:

  • Share the Caltrans Wildfire Vulnerability Analysis (2020-2030) with government agencies to start localized planning of defensible space projects along highways
  • Communicate with local, existing forest management collaboratives and contribute local expertise to the team
  • Participate in educating the public by communicating new land management objectives that include state highways in the solution

Strategically coordinated projects will align with broader public natural resource management goals of the Governor’s Forest Management Task Force, resulting in sustainable forests that can withstand and adapt to wildfire, drought and a changing climate.

Question: How do I engage with Caltrans and the access the geospatial maps that were shared by the Forest Management Program to the Forest Management Task Force in February 2020?

GIS Maps and Methodology*

Visit ArcGIS REST Services Directory

  • Log-in with secure credentials required.
  • For a description of the data layers, ranking, and scoring methodology, please refer to the methodology document.

*currently for government access and use only.

Wildfire Strategies Workshops

(March 11 - July 15, 2020) On Hold due to Covid-19 related travel and group meeting restrictions

Pre-Fire and Post-Fire topics including a review of the Caltrans Wildfire Vulnerability Analysis, Weather Briefing Methods, Preliminary Hazard Modeling and National Forest priorities will be discussed. Workshop Presenters include Caltrans, National Weather Service (NWS), California Geological Survey (CGS), CAL FIRE and USFS.

Caltrans Contacts

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