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Fire Agency Looks to Do More in Resilience, Protection

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is in the early stages on a new system that will enable it to be more comprehensive about safeguarding Northern California communities while keeping wildlands resilient.

Silhouette of a firefighter looking at a wildfire in front of them.
A key state fire suppression department wants to hear from IT vendors as it contemplates the need for a new database.

In a request for quotation (RFQ) released Oct. 31 on the California State Government Marketplace, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) wants to hear from companies capable of providing it with services around a natural resource and community protection analytics database capable of informing the land management planning process with multiple scenarios that integrate data and analytics from forest vegetation data, socio-ecological values, fire modeling outputs, and additional streams. Among the takeaways:

  • CAL FIRE looks to do critical work identified in about 2.7 million acres in areas of Amador and El Dorado counties. In an effort to ensure long-term forest resilience and community protection, CAL FIRE seeks a contractor to build a geodatabase that will handle the complex challenges of forest restoration and fuel management planning. The geodatabase must have comprehensive analytics and will be used to speed up the planning process, and use best-in-class and up-to-date data to develop multiple scenarios to better inform current and future fuel reduction treatments. Developing several models will enable well-informed decisions on risk mitigation across communities and forests. The database must be refreshed and updated regularly with new data for plans to be reassessed and reprioritized. The models must be packaged and published as a transferable, updatable geodatabase for partner access, ideally leveraging ongoing geodatabase and analytical work that’s used by adjacent land management partners. The database will assist CAL FIRE in tracking conditions and help it prepare for unplanned disturbances like wildland fires. The database will be particularly important for wildland-urban interface communities in the Amador-El Dorado Unit area.
  • Project goals include processing light detection and ranging (lidar), when available, and delivering “lidar-like synthetic data throughout the focal area to ensure wall-to-wall current and specific three dimensional vegetation data coverage” and assessment of wildlands and community risk/resilience opportunities; segmenting landscape into viable potential project areas to serve as the basis for planning and sequencing; curating socio-ecological landscape features to enable CAL FIRE and partners to weigh tradeoffs; and providing individual sequenced project plans via the database to enable creation of coordinated risk mitigation and treatment benefit scenarios. Project benefits include the ability to develop coordinated, multi-jurisdictional community resilience and forest health treatment plans in weeks or months — a significant increase in the pace and scale of work to mitigate risks around wildfire hazard, improve ecosystems, and improve watershed function; the ability to create a comprehensive risk assessment for the Amador-El Dorado Unit landscape, with complete GIS information; the utilization of a common scientific framework for resilience; and the ability for stakeholders to set priorities on mitigating wildfire risk while maximizing forest benefits.
  • Requirements include references from previous projects that are similar to the work contained in this RFQ; a list of subcontractors; and the ability to meet the requirements of this RFQ and to start work within 10 business days of contract award. The contractor must provide three references and explain its previous work with land management agencies. A crucial requirement is demonstrated experience during the last year building and delivering a comprehensive geodatabase in the state of California — one used to complete or facilitate a wildfire risk assessment; and do wildfire risk mitigation planning, project-level prioritization, and collaborative use, at whatever scale necessary, including the management unit level. The contractor must be able to offer additional customization of fuelscapes and leverage current wildfire behavior models relied upon by CAL FIRE (i.e., Flammap and FSim) in accordance with the agency’s current investment and utilizations. The contractor must have a staffer who is a Registered Professional Forester, as an integral team member, to review outputs and deliverables.
  • The precise value of any contract or agreement isn’t specified; however, the contract term will be three years, with the option of two one-year extensions — upon mutual consent by both parties. If the project requires software licensing, either on-prem or software as a service, CAL FIRE will embark on an annual software subscription once the project is complete. Responses to the RFQ are due by 2 p.m. Nov. 17.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Industry Insider — California.