Biomass & Wildfire Protection
Wildfire Protection & Biomass Utilization Program
The Placer County Wildfire Protection and Biomass Utilization Program was established in 2006 to help protect residents, communities, forests and important forest resources from the threat of wildfire and to efficiently manage and use biomass that is a large component of that threat. Background on the history of the Program, and the magnitude of the issues related to forestry and wildfire in Placer County, as well as actions planned to address them, are found in the Strategic Plan for the Placer County Wildfire Protection and Biomass Utilization Program. The Strategic Plan was first prepared in 2007 (PDF) to provide overall guidance for the Placer County Wildfire Protection and Biomass Utilization Program. The Strategic Plan was updated in 2013 (PDF) to document the accomplishments of the program and to provide guidance for subsequent years, recognizing that changes in conditions have occurred since completion of the 2007 Plan. The Plan includes an overall vision for Placer County Wildfire Protection and Biomass Utilization and goals, objectives and strategies to achieve that vision.
Biomass Utilization Program
The Placer County Biomass Utilization Program is an element of the County’s overall Wildfire Protection and Biomass Utilization Program. Guidance for both Wildfire Protection and Biomass Utilization is provided by the County’s Strategic Plan. Details of the Wildfire Protection Program can also be found in the Strategic Plan.
Many wildfire protection activities and projects involve the cutting of trees and brush to reduce wildfire hazard. Trees large enough to have commercial value as lumber are transported to mills for processing, but brush, small trees, and the limbs and tops of larger trees are excess biomass that has most often been disposed of by open burning to complete the necessary reduction of fire hazard. The County has recognized that a better option is to utilize this excess biomass for generation of energy. Not only is there a benefit from offsetting fossil fuel energy generation, but also a substantial reduction of air pollution emissions and increased support for jobs associated with the biomass utilization. Utilization of biomass for energy also has a potential to help support the economic sustainability of forest management and hazard reduction projects designed to reduce the negative effects of wildfires. In order to increase emphasis on biomass utilization, Placer County hired a Biomass Manager in 2006 and that began development of projects described in this section.