CSBA’s wildfire resources offer help before — and after — disaster strikes

Once again, wildfire season is upon us in full force. Our hearts go out to the residents of Butte County and those fighting the Thompson Fire near Kelly Ridge that has burned more than 3,000 acres and forced the evacuation of more than 28,000 people at the time of this writing. On the night of July 2, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California had secured a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for resources to help suppress the Thompson Fire. We hope this aid will provide for the safety of Butte County residents and those fighting the fires amidst the brutal heat wave blanketing much of California.

This year’s wildfire season is off to an early start, so it’s possible, if not likely, that wildfire damage will be more severe in 2024 than last year’s relatively mild (by recent standards) fire season. While wildfires are unpredictable and often beyond our ability to prevent, there are measures school governance teams can take to prepare for wildfires and lay the foundation for a more effective response that mitigates the long-term impact on students, staff and the school community.

CSBA has compiled resources to assist in this work, some borne from the scarring legacy of wildfires in the last decade. Below, you’ll find a link to CSBA’s Wildfire Resources webpage as well as some selected items highlighted for special attention. As we hope for the best but prepare for the worst, we ask that you review these resources and take steps to ensure your readiness should disaster strike.

California Department of Education Resources



Local educational agencies affected by wildfires or with questions about what to do in an emergency may contact the California Department of Education Emergency Services Team at EmergencyServices@cde.ca.gov for support. LEAs in the midst of a crisis or facing imminent danger should first connect with their county Emergency Operations Center if their schools may be impacted (i.e. damaged, closed) to access local emergency resources.

CSBA’s Wildfire Resources

Visit CSBA’s Wildfire Resources webpage for information on the J-13A form, the state’s School Emergency Reporting System, funding opportunities, CSBA partners, webinars and other resources like those featured below:

Video: Out of the Fire: A school district perspective on natural disaster response

In 2017, wildfires of unprecedented scope ravaged the state. Few places suffered more than Santa Rosa, a town of 175,000 people tucked into the Sonoma County wine country. This is the story of how the area’s central institution, Santa Rosa City Schools (SRCS), responded in a time of crisis and what all schools should know in order to prepare for and recover from a natural disaster. Then-SRCS Superintendent Diann Kitamura and Trustee Frank Pugh, who also served as a CSBA Director, discuss an important aspect of school safety and reflect on the trauma, challenges, successes and lessons learned from one of California’s worst natural disasters.

Webinar: “Saved by the Bell: Emergency response in California public schools” | Download slides

Video: Congressional testimony on wildfire preparedness and response efforts

In this C-Span video, U.S. Fire Administration Administrator Lori Moore-Merrel and state emergency management officials testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on the threats and impact of wildfires. They discuss managing wildfire risks, collaboration between state and federal agencies for response, and increasing workforce pay. In addition, evacuation preparedness is covered as they reference deadly wildfires in Paradise, California, and Lahaiana, Hawaii.

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