Land Use Planning for Wildfires Trainings

CWPC and CAL FIRE completed another round of Land Use Planning for Wildfires in California in 2024. Check back for more information on future training dates, locations, and registration information. You can also contact us to be added to our training notification list.

Attendees who participate in this training will:

  • Increase foundational understanding of California state requirements for land use planning in fire hazard areas, including the General Plan Safety Element, Fire Safe Regulations, Subdivision Review Program, and applicable chapters of California Building and Fire Codes
  • Expand knowledge of wildfire vulnerabilities in the built environment at different scales, including subdivision and lot scales
  • Learn about best practices and resources for proactive planning in the wildland-urban interface based on recent guidance issued by the Office of Planning and Research, CAL FIRE, Community Wildfire Planning Center, and other organizations
  • Interact with peers to exchange perspectives on fire mitigation and planning through exercises and facilitated discussions

Many lessons were learned in the aftermath of the multiple fires throughout California. The Land Use Planning for Wildfires in California training was on point. Coordination between jurisdiction departments (Fire, Building, Planning, and Engineering) and state agencies plays an integral role in planning communities in wildland-urban interface areas.

Tony Lindsey
Community Development Director - Building and Code Enforcement, Fire Prevention
Town of Paradise

I think this training will break down silos and improve communication for anyone working at the intersection of planning and wildfire. Planners will learn something new about fire, and fire professionals will learn something new about the planning world.

Claire McCoy
Wildfire Planning Specialist
California State Board of Forestry & Fire Protection

This training is an excellent resource for staff planners in wildland-urban interface areas to better understand how state laws, fire behavior, and local planning tools can all work together to effectively incorporate fire resiliency at a local level. Group discussions between planning and fire professionals, each with their own unique experiences, spark engaged discussions that lead to valuable takeaways for attendees.

Susan Hartman
Community Development Director - Planning and Wastewater
Town of Paradise

This training equips practitioners with the information they need to help communities plan for wildfire resilience. The training facilitators are the preeminent wildfire planning experts and offer clear and engaging instruction on wildfire behavior; risk reduction activities; planning and development requirements; and local use planning tools.

Clay Kerchof
Disaster Recovery Specialist II
California Department of Housing & Community Development

Who should attend?

These are free, all-day, in person trainings that are open to land use planners, fire marshals, fire chiefs, fire mitigation specialists, building officials, and other professionals from government agencies and the private sector who engage in planning, policy, development review and/or approval activities in California.

Training Instructors

Molly Mowery, AICP

Molly Mowery, AICP

Executive Director, Community Wildfire Planning Center

Molly Mowery is a trained and certified land use planner with more than 15 years of experience. She has been a pioneer in integrating land use planning with wildfire mitigation and adaptation strategies for communities across the U.S. and Canada. Molly developed the first wildland-urban interface planning course for FEMA, was the lead author of APA’s PAS Report: Planning the Wildland-Urban Interface, and drafted land use planning guidance for the Canada’s National Guide for Wildland-Urban interface Fires. Molly frequently presents on wildfire planning topics and provided the Norman Williams Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Planning and Law in 2021. She is chair-elect of the American Planning Association’s Hazard Mitigation and Disaster Recovery Division. Molly has a Bachelor of Arts from Naropa University and a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Kelly Johnston, RPF, FBAN

Kelly Johnston, RPF, FBAN

Operations Manager, Community Wildfire Planning Center

Kelly Johnston is a Chief Fire Officer, Registered Professional Forester, and Fire Behavior Analyst with more than 31 years of experience in wildfire management locally, nationally, and internationally.  Kelly led the development and implementation of the REALFire (U.S.) and FireSmart Home Partners (Canada) Home Ignition Zone assessment programs. He also developed the first wildland-urban interface regulation course for FEMA, co-authored APA’s PAS report: Planning the Wildland-Urban Interface and served as the WUI subject matter expert and task group lead in the development of Canada’s first National Guide for Wildland-Urban interface Fires. He remains active in national and international initiatives, including appointments as an NFPA Wildland and Rural Fire Protection Technical Committee member, an NRC WUI Technical Committee member, and CAFC Climate Adaption Committee member.

Matt Damon

Matt Damon

Staff Chief, CAL FIRE / Office of the State Fire Marshal

Matt Damon is Staff Chief of Community Wildfire Mitigation Assistance where he oversees the CAL FIRE Land Use Planning Program and the Wildfire Prevention Grants Program. Matt entered the fire service as a volunteer with the City of Oroville Fire Department in 1994, becoming the fourth generation of his family in the fire service.  Matt began his career with CAL FIRE in 1996 and has served in several Units and Programs within the department in that time.  Matt has a Bachelor’s Degree from CSU, Chico, is an OSFM Certified Fire Officer and a graduate of the 25th Butte Fire Academy.

Shane Vargas

Shane Vargas

Battalion Chief for CAL FIRE’s Land Use Planning Program

Shane Vargas currently serves as a Battalion Chief for CAL FIRE’s Land Use Planning Program. Shane began his career with the Susanville City Fire Department at the age of 14 and has since held various positions with CAL FIRE across the state as a Firefighter, Fire Apparatus Engineer, Fire Prevention Captain, and more. While assigned to Plumas County, he implemented and enforced the Fire Safe Regulations, assisted in establishing Firewise Communities, was a Board Member of the Fire Safe Council, assisted with the update of the Safety Element, was part of the committee to update the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, assisted with several Community Wildfire Protection Plans, and represented the Unit on the Fire Chiefs Association and at the Board of Supervisors meetings. He was also part of the working group to update the Fire Safe Regulations for the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. In 2018 he transferred to the Land Use Planning Program at Northern Region where he worked for over five years as a Fire Captain and Battalion Chief until he transferred to the Sacramento Land Use Planning Program as a Battalion Chief in 2023.

Contact Us

AICP CM Credits

Trainings are co-sponsored by the American Planning Association CA Chapter and approved by the American Planning Association (APA) to provide Certificate Maintenance (CM) credits for AICP planners. Additional training CM credit information is available on APA’s website under Live In-Person Events: “An Introduction to Land Use Planning for Wildfires in California”.



Funding for An Introduction to Land Use Planning for Wildfires in California Trainings was provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the California Climate Investments Program, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website.