It's difficult to ignore the fact that wildfire seasons are now longer and more intense. In part, this is due to climate change impacts and longterm fire suppression practices. Forest health and community safety are the cornerstone of San Mateo County Parks' fire fuel reduction and fire preparedness programs that will be carried out over the next several years.

Fuel Breaks

San Mateo County Parks' strategy focuses on creation of defensible spaces, known as fuel breaks, around Department infrastructure and neighboring residences. Objectives are to thin over-dense vegetation, remove dead and diseased trees, and improve visibility and accessibility to fire trails that can support fire suppression apparatus and may become evacuation routes for the public during an emergency. Trees in designated areas that are under 10-inches in diameter or that are dead or dying will be removed, as well as ground vegetation within 100 feet of fire trails and roads. This method has the benefit of preserving mature trees. See before-and-after photos of a previous fuel break work below.

Before After
Wunderlich Before fuel clearing
Wunderlich after fuel clearing
Before After
Wunderlich Before fuel clearing
Wunderlich after fuel clearing
Ecological Benefits

In addition to increasing safety for neighboring communities, fuel reduction work has long-term benefits for forest ecosystems. Learn more »

Program Status
  • 200 workdays dedicated to
    • Construct new fuel breaks at Quarry and Edgewood Parks.
    • Create shaded fuel breaks at Huddart and Wunderlich Parks.
  • 50 to 60 workdays dedicated to fire preparedness.
  • 3 new fire trails built in Quarry, San Pedro Valley, and Pescadero Creek Parks.
  • Deploy Measure K funded masticator that clears vegetation.
Learn More

This project is part of the Emergency Proclamation issued by Governor Gavin Newsom, which directed CAL FIRE to immediately implement projects that were systematically identified as high priority fuels reduction projects to protect over 200 of California's most wildfire-vulnerable communities. Learn more »

View the February 23, 2021 report to the Board of Supervisors, which includes a list of projects and presentation slides about the program.


Learn more about the fuel reduction projects implemented in 2019, in joint collaboration with CalFire, in this video produced by CalFire.


Current Projects
Wildfire Prevention Work in Junipero Serra Park
Meadow Vista Trail

To reduce the threat of wildfire to neighboring communities, San Mateo County Parks Department has collaborated with CAL FIRE to treat approximately five acres of vegetation along the boundary of Junipero Serra Park.