The Redwood Valley/Chezem community exists within the forests and drainages of the Redwood Creek watershed, approximately 35 miles inland, northeast of Blue Lake. The Redwood Valley neighborhood consists of about 30 households, most of which lie within the narrow valley bottom near Redwood Creek. The Chezem Road neighborhood includes two summer trailer park communities and approximately 15 homes; some homes are situated against the forested hillsides and others lie within the lower elevations near the creek. The Redwood Valley/Chezem community is surrounded by industrial timberlands, so residences are deeply situated within the Wildand-Urban Interface (WUI). This community is outside the boundaries of any fire protection district, so they rely on emergency response from CAL FIRE out of Trinidad, or “goodwill response” from Blue Lake and Willow Creek. Due to the remoteness of these neighborhoods, response times from any of these agencies can be lengthy.
Redwood Valley/Chezem became a nationally recognized Firewise Community site in 2014. The Firewise Board is made up of a core group of dedicated residents who formed the Redwood Valley Community Group in 2012 and have been proactively enhancing their emergency preparedness since then.
The Firewise Community Wildfire Assessment (PDF) Opens a New Window. and Action Plan (PDF) Opens a New Window. for the Redwood Valley and Chezem communities are excellent tools for learning about wildfire hazards in the area and collaboratively identifying actions to reduce those hazards.
Several Firewise Days have taken place located at the Green Point Elementary School and in the Chezem neighborhood. CAL FIRE personnel and County staff were available at these events to answer questions about wildfire risks and what community members can do to reduce those risks. Educational handouts were also provided to help residents learn more about living safely within the WUI.
Achievements gained by the community that are consistent with the goals of the Firewise program include: the installation of two community bulletin boards that display information about upcoming events and fire safety tips; the purchase and distribution of highly visible address signs to make homes and driveways more apparent to emergency responders (using funds from a Humboldt Area Foundation Community Building grant); and designation of the Green Point School as a Red Cross emergency shelter, complete with an emergency supply shed. The Green Point School was also the site of a fuels reduction project implemented by the California Conservation Corps. The project involved the creation of a shaded fuelbreak around the school, which enhanced defensible space and improved ingress and egress to the school.