UPDATE 9/29/22 — The deadline to complete the wildfire survey has been extended — you can submit responses until Friday, September 30, and your input will be used to shape the county’s future wildfire recovery plans. More information and the survey link is included in the original article below.
MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA, 8/18/22 – Mendocino County’s Wildfire Recovery and Resiliency Survey – about two years in the making – is now live, and the department of Prevention, Recovery, Resiliency, & Mitigation (PRRM) wants to hear from you about the impact of five years’ worth of destructive wildfires in our area.
The survey asks specific questions about the recovery and unmet needs of survivors of the 2017 Redwood Complex fire, the Mendocino Complex fire in 2018, the August Complex and Oak fires in 2020, and the Hopkins fire in 2021. But some questions also revolve around broader community impacts and fire mitigation concerns for Mendocino County residents that were not directly harmed by a declared wildfire disaster.
“We really want to focus on things that the community at large actually wants to see … needs that we may or may not be aware of, even,” PRRM’s Disaster Recovery Field Operations Coordinator Travis Killmer told The Mendocino Voice. “It’ll be a lot easier for us to target what sorts of grants and things to go after, or what to try and bring before the Board [of Supervisors], if we can back it up with all this data that we collected and [say], ‘This is what your constituents are telling you they need.’”
All of this information will help the county in developing a new recovery plan to inform wildfire response in future, address unmet needs from past fires, and propose new mitigation strategies. While the survey is completely anonymous, demographic questions will also shed light on how Mendocino County residents have weathered wildfire recovery across lines of housing status, race, gender, income, and age.
The survey will be open to responses from the public until Sep. 15 on PRRM’s page of the Mendocino County website, as well as on the county’s emergency website MendoReady.org. Killmer plans to place paper copies in public libraries and hand out fliers at community events like the Round Valley Blackberry Festival this weekend. He also said the county will mail paper copies with return envelopes and prepaid postage directly to the estimated 480 survivors impacted by these five fires.
Killmer feels it’s especially important to hear from former Mendocino County residents who left the area completely after a wildfire destroyed their homes.
“If there are things that we could have done to help you, we want to know about it,” he said. “[For] any future disasters that affect the county, if we’ve got a glaring problem with the way we’re doing disaster recovery, we’d like to be able to correct it.”
The county also plans to hold a series of “town hall-style meetings” in the future, “in case we don’t catch somebody with the survey,” Killmer said. These 12 meetings will be funded by a Prepare California Jumpstart grant from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and will take place in Boonville, Calpella, Covelo, Hopland, Ukiah, and Willits, he said. He hopes to add a meeting in at least one coastal location.