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Santa Clara County FireSafe Council

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Coalitions, Disaster Aid, Environment, Fire Prevention, Forest Conservation, Safety Education

Mission: Mobilizing the people of Santa Clara County to protect their homes, communities and environment from wildfires

Target demographics: We serve all of Santa Clara County, focusing on the high fire risk communities, also known as Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas, primarily in the foothills on either side of the Santa Clara Valley.  There are now 14 Communities at Risk in Santa Clara County on the Federal and California Fire Alliance lists of Communities at Risk from wildfires.  These communities are Cupertino, East Foothills, Gilroy, Lexington Hills, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Martin, Saratoga and Stanford.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2008, our Defensible Space Chipping Program accomplishments include protecting over 2,100 homes, 6,300 people, and $2.1 Billion in property values.

Geographic areas served: Santa Clara County, California

Programs: Hazardous fuel reduction programs funded by two federal grants and matching funds to reduce hazardous fuels in selected wildfire prone areas of santa clara county. We provide free services to assist property owners to create and maintain defensible space around their homes and communities. Estimated 10,200 homes, 30,200 people and $10. 2 billion in property values protected in 2014. Nine clearing, fuel break and evacuation route projects completed which will benefit residents in santa clara, santa cruz and san benito counties. Selected for one new federal grant. Worked continued on agreements with three cities or fire districts. Objectives include: completing current grants, obtaining new grants and agreements, and reducing our dependence on federal grants. Donated services not included in expenses above: $251,078. Total expenses: $746,142.

community outreach and education programs funded by three federal grants and matching funds to mobilize the people of santa clara county to protect their homes, communities and enviornment from wildfires. We educate and enable homeowners and residents to create and maintain defensible space around their homes and communities. Twenty community events and meetings in 2014. Outreach to over 1,800 children and 13,500 adults. Wildfire awareness week in may 2014. Objectives include completing current grants, obtaining new grants and agreements, reducing our dependence on federal grants and using more social media initiatives to reach our target audiences. Donated services not included in expenses above: $2,763. Total expenses: $67,963.

hazardous fuel assessment and strategy programs to assess hazardous fuels in selected areas of santa clara county, develop strategies to reduce hazardous fuels and wildfire risks and to improve access and evacuation routes, and to develop community wildfire protection plans (cwpps). 2014 activities limited by lack of funding to updating and coordinating implementation of current cwpps and to planning for a county-wide cwpp. Long term goal is to obtain funding to develop more cwpps and evacuation plans.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 1

I just wanted to give an update on my very poor experience with the Santa Clara Country FireSafe Council almost starting a mudslide on my property by removing way, way too much vegetation from my hillside property. Please contact me at shanmarq@yahoo.com if you have also had a very bad experience. I can post before and after pictures on my property on this website. I also have multiple statements from contractors about their actions violating multiple professional standards. I have over $25,000 worth of damage to my property due to the FireSafe Council. As a recipient of federal, state and county funds, they are supposed to comply with professional standards but refuse. Please call your county, state and federal legislature members and asked that this organization not be funded. They have no one who is even a licensed contractor in their organization. I should have been able to use a licensed, private contractor instead of Santa Clara County referring me to this incompetent outfit. Now, with all the evidence I have gathered regarding their negligence, they are still trying to get out of paying my insurance claim by falsely claiming I signed an agreement that lets them get out of any and all negligence for their actions. Also, when I told them County Weed abatement regulations did not remotely require the removal of so much vegetation, Council members just laughed. Yet at a hearing in January 2013, a County official admitted on tape that too much vegetation was removed yet the County continues to NOT supervise them and give them funds.

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 1

The FireSafe Council was supposed to clear dead weeds off my property so I was fire hazard compliant. Instead, they stripped all ground cover off my property which is on a very steep hillside. This allowed water to run underneath my house, causing clay soil expansion and this in turn caused cracking in my inside walls and driveway. There is not a soil engineer in the U.S. who would not tell the Council that stripping ground cover off a steep hillside is extremely negligent. The Council also removed nearly all my California native plants, mistaking them for weeds and destroying the beauty of my garden! It will cost me $2,000 to replace the ground cover and cut down California natives and another $1,500 to repair the cracks in my driveway and inside my house. When I asked them to pay for their negligence, their attitude is too bad!!!!!

Comments ( 1 )


AllanT 07/25/2013

The information in the review above is not accurate. The FireSafe Council provided free clearing and chipping services for this Special Needs Assistance Program applicant and did not cause any of the alleged damage. Her claim has been investigated by the FireSafe Council and two insurance companies and denied. For additional information, please Allan Thompson, Santa Clara County FireSafe Council, AllanT@SCCFireSafe.org.


Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a member of this organization for the last 4 years and for being made up a wide variation of private companies and Fire departments and citizens i have seen great things done to keep the communities of Santa Clara County fire safe and it all comes down to being a great team



Rating: 5

I just became a volunteer with this organization and I am amazed at the amount of work they do with various communities. The chipping program is particularly beneficial to reduce vegatation in high fire zones throughout the county. Homeowners can't keep up with the growth using the ONE can of green yard waste alloted by the garbage company. The organizations community outreach programs, including Smokey Story Time are great ways of spreading the message of fire awareness. Overall a very well-run organization.


Board Member

Rating: 5

I became involved in the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council several years ago to help prevent wildfires in the Alum Rock Park area near our home. Later, as I became involved in more county-wide activities of the council, I was elected Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors. The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council is funded by federal grants and by contributions from companies, foundations, organizations and individuals who are interested in prevention wildfires. Thanks to these collaborative efforts, SCFSC has made significant progress in protecting homes and communities from wildfires. Our mission is Mobilizing the people of Santa Clara County to protect their homes, communities and environment from wildfires. We do Community Outreach and Education and provide free Chipping Programs to help people create and maintain Defensible Space around their homes and communities. You can help us by volunteering for community events or by contributing to or helping organize chipping projects. See www.SCCFireSafe.org for more on our council. It is a good way to learn more about wildfire prevention and help protect your home and community.