Stewardship | Changing Climate | Fuels Management | Prescribed Fire | Preparedness | Partners | Natural Process

Midpen Land Stewardship

Wildland fire prevention, preparation and response are central to Midpen’s land stewardship. Our staff work year-round to: 

  • Maintain hundreds of miles of fire breaks and roads in the preserves
  • Coordinate with fire safe councils and fire departments responsible for suppression
  • Train Midpen staff to act as first responders and assist fire departments
  • Outfit ranger trucks with water pumpers during fire season
  • Reduce vegetation using cattle grazing on more than 11,000 acres, and other tools
  • Enforce regulations against smoking, fires and guns in the preserves
  • Maintain water sources that are available for fire suppression

Sign-up here to stay informed of public meetings and opportunities to provide input on Midpen’s Wildland Fire Resiliency Program

California’s Changing Fire Season

California’s fire season is now longer and more intense. Dense regrowth of historically logged forests, more than a century of fire suppression, a changing climate and population growth create these conditions. Midpen is expanding its environmentally sensitive vegetation management in response to these current challenges.

Expanding Vegetation Management

Midpen is expanding fuels management for the 2019 fire season in high-priority areas close to communities. This includes creating new fuel breaks and removing highly flammable invasive species such as French broom and eucalyptus.

Required environmental review is in process to allow Midpen to do fuels management in new areas of the wildland-urban interface in the 2020 fire season. 

Prescribed Fire Planning

We’re also working to add prescribed fire to our land management toolbox by 2022, as another way to improve the ecological health of California’s fire-adapted native plant communities while also reducing fuels.

The program will take several years to develop with many opportunities for public input along the way, and an environmental review process required by the California Environmental Quality Act. 

Living Safely with Fire

Fire is a fact of life in California and everyone plays a role in living safely with it. Midpen’s role is to steward its public open space lands for public safety and ecological health, while coordinating closely with local fire departments who are responsible for fire suppression. Please remember that fires and smoking are always prohibited in Midpen preserves and is strictly enforced. Don’t park on dry grass—hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires! Thank you for helping us stay fire safe!

You play a role, too, in preventing wildland fire and protecting your home by:

Visit CAL FIRE’s Ready for Wildfire website for more detailed information and resources.

Partner Agencies in Wildland Fire Management

Midpen staff work cooperatively with neighbors, fire agencies and regional fire safe councils on fire prevention and preparedness efforts. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is the agency our region responsible for fire suppression. CAL FIRE’s role is supplemented by local fire departments (such as Palo Alto, Woodside Fire Protection District, and Santa Clara County) as well as by statewide mutual aid agreements for large wildland fire events.

Fire: A Natural Process

Fire plays a role in a healthy natural environment. Many of California’s native grasses, trees and wildflowers adapted over millennia to depend on periodic fire for their long-term survival. These include manzanitas and knobcone pines. Without fire, these plants and the wildlife that depend on them are lost and replaced.