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Forestry and Fire Protection


The Deparment of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has various levels of enforcement responsibilities in these areas:

Office of the State Fire Marshal

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (SFM) supports the mission of CAL FIRE by focusing on fire prevention. SFM provides support through a wide variety of fire safety responsibilities, including: regulating building standards; controlling substances that may cause injury, death or destruction by fire; providing statewide direction for fire prevention; and providing training and education in fire protection methods. SFM Peace Officers help accomplish these goals by enforcing laws, with primary enforcement responsibilities pertaining to forest and fire violations.

California Laws Relating to Fires and Firefighters

Board of Forestry

The Board of Forestry and Fire Protection's Professional Foresters Registration Program is charged with enforcing laws that protect natural resources, and reviews complaints against Registered Professional Foresters and Certified Rangeland Managers. California is one of 13 states to require licensing of foresters. The other states are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hamshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Forest Practice Program/Timber Harvesting Plans

The Board of Forestry follows a regulatory framework for timber harvesting from all non-federal lands in California. This framework requires that timber harvesting be done pursuant to a Timber Harvest Plan (THP) approved by the Director of Fire and Forestry Protection, and that harvesting operations are conducted by a Licensed Timber Operator.

CAL FIRE's responsibilities include reviewing and approving THPs, and taking any and all enforcement actions necessary to ensure compliance. CAL FIRE issues Timber Operator Licenses, and when warranted, may take disciplinary action against licensees.

California Forest Practice Rules

Resource Management - Demonstration Forests Program

CAL FIRE is statutorily charged with keeping the peace in Demonstration State Forests. Law enforcement tasks vary significantly between forests, but typically involve managing recreation, preventing theft and vandalism at research installations and infrastructure, illegal dumping, illegal camping, and illegal off-road vehicle use.