Sonoma County is taking steps to prepare before wildfire season again surges throughout California.
The county Department of Emergency Management, in addition to its usual public awareness initiatives, has incorporated artificial intelligence into its ALERTWildfire camera system.
The county will install six additional cameras using AI that will notify emergency staff if a camera spots a fire, and the department will also conduct evacuation drills with the unincorporated communities of Fitch Mountain and Camp Meeker/Occidental to ensure residents know the best methods and evacuation routes should a wildfire reach their homes.
The agency will distribute "Evac Packs" to residents containing information on evacuations. Sonoma's Department of Transportation and Public Works received a $2.1 million grant to reduce the risk of flooding around Green Valley Creek in addition to installing backup generators at the Sonoma County Airport, the Santa Rosa and Forestville Road Yards, and to enact a fire fuel management and education program in west Sonoma County.
The transportation agency expanded its vegetation management program in 2019 to clear brush within four feet of the edge of public roadways and 14 feet above roads within the public right-of-way.
Permit Sonoma, the county's resource management department, recently received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assess more than 5,000 homes in high-risk areas and inform residents how best to prepare for a wildfire as part of the Wildfire Adapted Sonoma County Program.
The county also anticipates implementing the following programs: Russian River Flood Management and Fisheries Habitat Enhancement Planning, Geyserville Drainage Feasibility Plan, Bank Stabilization to Save River Road in Geyserville, Cavedale & Trinity Roads Fuels Reduction, Rio Nido Culvert Installations to Reduce Flooding, Advance Assistance for Villa Grande Flood Mitigation Plan, Annapolis Road Yard Generator, Forestville Road Yard Generator and Grove Street and Occidental Road Fire Fuel Reduction Projects.