People raising cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, swine, horses, llamas, alpacas, aquaculture species or other production-oriented animals in California who have experienced at least one wildfire on their property within the last 10 years are being asked to participate in a Fire Impact and Risk Evaluation (FIRE) survey.
“We will aim to quantify the impact of wildfires in different livestock production systems,” said Beatriz Martinez Lopez, director of the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “The idea is also to create a risk map showing areas more likely to experience wildfires with high economic impact in California.
“This economic and risk assessment, to the best of our knowledge, has not been done and we hope to identify potential actions that ranchers can take to reduce or mitigate their losses if their property is hit by wildfire.”
Martínez López, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Medicine & Epidemiology at UC Davis, is teaming up with UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisors and wildfire specialists around the state to conduct the study.
The research team includes
- Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Ventura County
- Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE advisor in Fresno and Madera counties
- Stephanie Larson, UCCE livestock range management advisor in Sonoma and Marin counties
- Sheila Barry, UCCE livestock and natural resourcesadvisor, in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties
- Josh Davy, UCCE livestock, range and natural resources advisor in Tehama, Colusa and Glenn counties
- Max Moritz, UCCE wildfire specialist, UC Santa Barbara
- Luke Macaulay, UCCE rangeland planning and policy specialist at UC Berkeley
- Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UCCE wildfire advisor in Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity and Mendocino
“The idea came up in a conference in San Diego, just when we had several ongoing wildfires and we were discussing how poorly are some areas prepared for this and the need for better emergency planning, coordination and response when not only people, but also large animals are involved,” Martínez López said. “We hope this study will provide the foundation to advance in this direction.”
“Right now, we have no good estimate of the real cost of wildfire to livestock producers in California,” said Rebecca Ozeran, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Fresno and Madera counties. “Existing UCCE forage loss worksheets cannot account for the many other ways that wildfire affects livestock farms and ranches. As such, we need producers' input to help us calculate the range of immediate and long-term costs of wildfire.”
Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and range management advisor for Sonoma and Marin counties, agreed, saying, “The more producers who participate, the more accurate and useful our results will be.”
“We hope the survey results will be used by producers across the state to prepare for wildfire,” said Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, “And by federal and private agencies to better allocate funds for postfire programs available to livestock producers.”
The survey is online at http://bit.ly/FIREsurvey. It takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of properties the participant has that have been affected by wildfire.
“Survey answers are completely confidential and the results will be released only as summaries in which no individual's answers can be identified,” said Martínez López. “This survey will provide critical information to create the foundation for future fire economic assessments and management decisions.”
The team would like your help in encouraging livestock producers who have experienced wildfire to participate in the FIRE survey.
On July 27 and 28, the River Fire burned approximately two-thirds of the Hopland Research and Extension Center's 5,358 acres.
“While this was a dramatic event that did damage parts of the center, none of the main buildings, livestock nor staff were hurt by the fire,” said John Bailey, Hopland REC interim director.
“This event has created a unique opportunity for research,” Bailey said. “With Hopland REC's extensive pre-fire historical data, plus immediate post-fire, pre-rain observations that we intend to collect, we have the foundation to support relevant and timely research on the effects of fire and mechanisms of recovery.”
Scientists are invited to learn more about research opportunities this fall, during a webinar on Sept. 7 and a site tour on Oct. 19. The invitation is open to UC scientists and non-UC scientists.
To register for either or both events, visit https://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=25451.
“We will offer researchers special rates and access to the site over this brief period,” Bailey said.
Read the Hopland REC blog post at http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=28037 to learn more about the site and how you can be involved in post-fire research at Hopland REC.
For more information, join the webinar and site visit or contact Bailey at (707) 744-1424 ext 112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are 19 wildfires threatening communities all over the state and causing concern for our friends and colleagues. We've been in touch with our colleagues in the fire zones and everyone is safe and, as far as we know, no ANR members have lost homes. Here's an update from the affected areas.
In Lake County, the UCCE office is closed and staff members have been evacuated from their homes since Saturday due to the Mendocino Complex fires.
Hopland REC was hit hard by the River Fire. The good news is the evacuation order was lifted Monday and all Hopland Research and Extension Center employees are safe and the headquarter buildings are undamaged. The guard dog that had gone missing has been found. The animals were moved on Friday and all livestock are safe and accounted for. Roughly 2500 acres of the upper pastures burned and the domestic water line from the spring is down. On Friday, Cal Fire set up Incident Command Post at Hopland REC with 6+ engines, three bulldozers and a water tanker. Kudos to John Bailey, superintendent and interim director, and staff for their efforts, which no doubt limited the damage.
UCCE Shasta office is open. Many staff members evacuated due to the massive Carr Fire. Last week, 4-H members helped relocate animals to safety. At least one 4-H family lost their home to the Carr Fire – and 4-H advisor Nate Caeton fears others he hasn't been able to contact in the West Side 4-H Club have lost homes – so the local UCCE staff is reaching out to see how they can help.
UCCE Mendocino office is open. All employees are safe and the office suffered no damage from the Ranch Fire.
UCCE Riverside office is open. A Master Gardener volunteer lost her home in Idyllwild to the Cranston Fire. UCCE Master Gardener coordinator Rosa Olaiz and the rest of the UCCE Riverside County staff are safe and are making plans to assist the volunteer.
UCCE San Bernardino office is open and all staff members are safe from the Cranston Fire.
As the fires are still active, we're continuing to monitor the situation and hope for the best.
Because emergencies can arise without warning, UC ANR Environmental Health and Safety has this Safety Note to help make plans http://safety.ucanr.edu/files/152253.pdf. You can also learn what to do before, during and after a fire at http://cesutter.ucanr.edu/LivingWithFire, a website by Kate Wilkin, UCCE forestry, fire and natural resources advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Butte and Nevada counties.
Thank you all for your hard work and dedication, especially those of you impacted by the fires.
California will be dealing with the effects of the October 2017 wildfires for years to come. The Northern California wildfires that ignited Oct. 8 grew into urban conflagrations and burned for days, killing 43 people and destroying at least 8,400 structures.
In Southern California, Niamh Quinn, UC Cooperative Extension human-wildlife advisor, tweeted a photo after outrunning the Canyon Fire 2, which burned over 9,000 acres and destroyed 25 structures.
Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services, contacted UC Cooperative Extension employees in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Butte, Sutter, Yuba and Orange counties and at the Hopland, Sierra Foothill and South Coast research and extension centers.
On Oct. 10, Oatman sent an email to the ANR community giving a status report on the UC ANR offices in the fire zones, saying, “We have heard that all employees are safe.” He added, “In many counties, staff know of 4-H or Master Gardener families who have lost homes or suffered damage.”
In Solano County, 17 UC Master Gardener volunteers, maybe more, lost their homes in the fires. The UC Master Gardener Program quickly set up an online form to connect Master Gardener volunteers throughout the state who wanted to offer lodging, supplies and words of support to fellow volunteers impacted by the fires.
In Sonoma County, UC Cooperative Extension staff and 4-H members helped rescue livestock.
ANR suffered no significant property damage, but some offices closed due to local evacuation orders.
Kaan Kurtural, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist based in Oakville, said the viticulture research station went without electricity for 16 days. They brought in generators from UC Davis.
To help evacuated Californians who returned to their homes recover from fires, Strategic Communications created a story map with links to UCCE county resources.
News reporters sought out several UC ANR experts to explain why the wildfires spread so quickly and burned so intensely and how the fires would affect agriculture. See the ANR News blog for the monthly news roundup for October.
If you would like volunteer or donate to fire recovery efforts, check with local food banks or organizations such as Sonoma County Recovers to find out what is needed. If you would like to contribute to UC Master Gardener volunteers who are in need, you can fill out a survey that was created to connect resources with the affected volunteers: ucanr.edu/mgrelief.
UC Systemwide Human Resources is working with UC's benefit plan carriers to ensure their readiness to meet the needs of those affected by the devastating wildfires in Northern and Southern California.
If you need extra assistance, please contact your plan directly (contact information is here and below). Customer service representatives will do their best to offer the help you need as quickly as possible.
Replacing lost prescriptions
If you have lost an essential prescription medication in the fire, you or your pharmacy may call your pharmacy benefits administrator and request an emergency supply. You may also request a change of address for your home delivery, or a transfer to pick up your prescription at a network pharmacy.
Seeking medical, dental or vision care
If your medical facility is closed due to the fires, or if you have left the area and are unable to see your usual medical or dental provider, please call your plan's customer service representative for help finding a provider near you.
Any VSP member in need of eye care and/or replacement glasses due to the wildfires can call VSP Member Services at 800-877-7195 and have their VSP benefits reinstated regardless of eligibility.
Emotional health support
There are a number of options available to those who need emotional support coping with stress and loss caused by the wildfires. Please contact your Faculty and Staff Assistance Program or your behavioral health plan for a referral.
Claims for loss of life or property, disability
UC faculty or staff in Northern California who have an auto, homeowner or renter's policy with California Casualty and have been forced to evacuate their home, suffered smoke damage, or suffered other fire related damage, please call 800-800-9410. Press 4 when prompted or remain on the line to be transferred to a claims specialist who will quickly assist you.
If you are a UC employee impacted by the fires and you have a current disability claim, Liberty Mutual will support you by:
- Exercising leniency with regard to providing notice of loss, proof of loss, medical record due dates, and appeal deadlines
- Accepting a verbal change-of-address (with appropriate information to establish identity)
- Offering option to activate direct deposit for short-term disability
- Waiving the 10-day waiting period for stop payment procedures and reissuance of benefits
Liberty Mutual will send a special email message to claimants (who have provided an email address) covering the above information and providing alternate contact information.
Prudential stands ready to assist with any life or AD&D claim issues that might need special handling of any kind.
Contact information for UC plans
- Medical (Anthem): 844-437-0486
- Behavioral health (Anthem): 844-792-5141
- Pharmacy (OptumRx): 855-489-0651 (Core, UC Care, UC Health Savings Plan); 855-798-4682 (UC High Option, UC Medicare PPO)
- Medical and pharmacy:
o Health Net Blue & Gold: 800-539-4072
o Health Net Seniority Plus: 800-443-0815
o Kaiser Permanente: 800-464-4000
o Kaiser Senior Advantage: 800-443-0815
o Western Health Advantage (WHA): 888-563-2252
- Behavioral health:
o Optum Behavioral Health (Health Net Blue & Gold, Kaiser Permanente, WHA): 888-440-8225
o Kaiser: Call your local clinic
- Delta Dental: 800-777-5854 (PPO); 800-422-4234 (HMO)
- Vision Service Plan (VSP): 866-240-8344
- California Casualty: 800-800-9410
- Liberty Mutual: 800-838-4461
- Prudential: 800-524-0542