2020 LNU Lightning Complex Fires

On August 17, 2020, the Walbridge, Stewarts, and Meyers fires ignited in northwest Sonoma County, burning roughly 58,000 acres of land. Ag + Open Space has an integral role to play in the recovery and long-term resiliency of our entire community. The lands we protect provide local food, clean drinking water, increased biodiversity, as well as places of great natural beauty that provide solace every day. During wildfires, floods, and other extreme events, our working and natural lands provide additional support as buffers around our communities. As always, we are committed to continuing to manage our lands to ensure ecosystem health that helps reduce the risk and intensity of wildfires, and we work with easement landowners to support them in doing the same.

Assessment of Our Protected Lands
Approximately 1,600 acres of Ag + Open Space-protected land were directly affected by the fires. Two easement properties connected to the Austin Creek State Recreation Area burned completely, while one easement property near Armstrong Woods experienced fire over most of the property and another property further north experienced fire on about half of the property.  Ag + Open Space staff are reaching out to easement landowners to offer support and connect them to resources.

What we are doing
Building on a multi-year collaboration with NASA, we are assessing the effects on the landscape and Ag + Open Space protected properties, and have continued to monitor and manage the recovery of habitats and ecosystems since the 2017 Sonoma Complex Fires and the 2019 Kincade Fire.

In any emergency, Ag + Open Space employees often get reassigned to work in the County’s Emergency Operations Center, evacuation centers, and local assistance centers, or perform other duties to support emergency response. During this fire, staff were dispatched to help with public information, GIS mapping, and evaluating fire-related impacts to the Russian River and coastal watersheds through the County’s Watershed Task Force.

Landowner Resources
We will update resources and new opportunities as they become available. Please feel free to reach out to us directly if you have any questions.