Living With Fire

Forest Health and Fire Resources Program Update


Southern Humboldt Forest Health and Wildfire Resilience Project

The Trees Foundation Forest Health and Fire Resources Program has been hard at work in 2024. We began the year collaborating with project partners California State Parks, Humboldt Redwood Company, Briceland Fire, Elk Ridge Forestry, Eel River Wailaki (ERW), Native Health in Native Hands (NHNH), and numerous private landowners to assist the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District in submitting an application to the CAL FIRE Forest Health Program for nearly $7 million of fuels reduction implementation on Mail Ridge and Salmon Creek. Trees is very excited about the project and is hopeful to hear positive news back in April. If awarded, this project would provide funding for the first phase of a 54-mile fuel break utilizing beneficial fire as a tool to treat nearly 3,000 acres. Funding to develop this project is provided by State Coastal Conservancy.


Trees has also been working with Institute for Sustainable Forestry (ISF), the Southern Humboldt Community Park (SoHumPark), Native Health in Native Hands (NHNH), Symbiotic Restoration, and others to develop a cultural land management plan for SoHumPark. This plan will focus on cultural burning, native plant nurseries and seed gardens, and gulley restoration in the park. The project team aims to see SoHumPark adopt the collaborative plan, and leverage it to pursue grant funding for future implementation. Funding for this planning project comes from the North Coast Resource Partnership’s Technical Assistance Program.

Tenaa Events at SoHumPark

Trees has assisted with two special events put on by NHNH at the SoHumPark that both celebrated the remarkable plant, tenaa, or dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum). This purple-hued annual grows 2-4 feet tall in select damp areas and is a fantastic source of fibers that can be used to make string. On January 17th, Tamara Wilder of Paleotechnics led a Primitive Fiber Arts Fair that showcased the plant and taught participants how to make their own string from the fibrous cambium layer of the tenaa stalks. On February 12, as part of research for the development of a cultural burn plan, Trees Foundation and Wailaki Cultural Fire assisted NHNH in burning a small patch of dogbane at the SoHumPark. Burning tenaa when it is dormant helps clean up decaying stalks, adds nutrients to the soil, and can help reduce competing grasses. The area will be monitored to see the effect over the coming year. Funding to assist with these projects is provided by State Coastal Conservancy.

If you would like to get in touch with Native Health in Native Hands, go to

Chipper Days & Defensible Space Project

The remaining Chipper Days are being scheduled for March and April 2024. Residents in the greater Southern Humboldt and Shelter Cove areas who want to learn more about this free chipping service can visit Last year, this grant-funded project succeeded in chipping 900 piles, equivalent to 5,700 cubic yards of woody debris, reaching project objectives and making the region better prepared for wildfire. Trees Foundation staff played a part by doing public outreach and coordinating chipping services for 63 landowners in 2023.

As of spring 2024, defensible space work utilizing this same grant funding is well underway. Trees Foundation staff have identified landowners for inclusion in the project and completed Home Risk Assessments in Benbow and Salmon Creek, with fuels reduction work scheduled to commence in April. This service is provided free of charge to selected landowners who would otherwise not be able to do the work themselves.

Support for these programs comes from the Humboldt County Department of Public Works on behalf of the Humboldt County Fire Safe Council and in partnership with the Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District, Trees Foundation, and Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council. Funding for this program is provided by CAL FIRE’s Fire Prevention Program through the California Climate Investments Program.

Shelter Cove Wildfire Resiliency and Community Defense Project

In February, Trees’ Forest Health and Fire Resources Program submitted a proposal to provide Project Coordination services to the Shelter Cove RID #1 for their Shelter Cove Wildfire Resiliency and Community Defense Project (SCWRCDP). This multi-year, $6 million grant project will provide defensible space assistance to all homes in the Cove, including adjacent lots and additional greenbelt, increasing wildfire resilience for the Shelter Cove Community, and also providing employment opportunities to the greater area. Funding for this project is provided by the USDA with support from the U.S. Forest Service.

For more information on any of these programs, email [email protected]

Wailaki Fire Crew Update 

By Natasha Carrico

We are a crew of Wailaki natives that have come together with other local agencies to offer safe, effective support for cultural fire and prescribed fire. Our goal is to provide our community access to traditional fire practices for land management by using fire to restore resources and habitats within our native homeland. We have several projects planned for this year. 

For more information or get involved, follow us on Facebook @Wailaki Cultural Fire or email us at [email protected]