CalRecycle Inland Fire Wildfire Recovery

Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Solano, Yuba and Yolo Counties

Michael Baker was part of the Tidal Basin Team to address the FEMA Major Disaster Declarations for the Inland Branch 2020 fires that impacted California’s Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Solano, Yuba and Yolo counties. The 2020 fires were some of the worst fires in history with over 8,100 fires on nearly 4.5 million acres of land. The project area contained two of the largest fire zones: the August Complex with over 1 million acres and the LNU Lightning Complex with over 360,000 acres impacted. The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services led this federally funded project.

The environmental team was responsible for addressing biological and cultural resources, water quality, historic property compliance and other factors related to the emergency clean-up.  Michael Baker helped acquire streamlined waivers, permits and approvals and oversaw the environmental protection plan on behalf of regional, state and federal agencies.  

The team tracked and documented research, field work and construction oversight in Smart Sheets and geographic information systems (GIS) to expedite the clean-up process while minimizing the potential for adverse effects. Tasks included GIS mapping and the creation of a progress dashboard, site assessments for sensitive biological, water and cultural resources and implementation of avoidance measures and best management practices.

The biological team monitored fish, wildlife and sensitive habitats. The water quality specialists monitored activities for interactions with water bodies throughout the completion of work.

Michael Baker provided environmental awareness training for all staff and contractors to ensure activities followed guidance to protect sensitive areas including historic and cultural resources. We also worked as a Tribal Liaison to incorporate Native American tribes into the clean-up process following FEMA directive compliance.

The project won the MAPPS National Geospatial Excellence Award for 2022’s best project in GIS/IT Remote Sensing Analysis.


“If new or additional measures employed at a site were found to be successful, these were passed on and implemented at other locations. Direct lines of communication and shared principles across all staff ensured an improved rapport and relationships with up to 20 crews.”

– Project Manager

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