Benbow Fire Safe is a community gathering focused on promoting and facilitating fire safe awareness and preparedness. Visit www.benbowfiresafe.com for meeting information and more.
The Benbow Community
Benbow is located two miles south of Garberville, at an elevation of 440 feet. The Benbow area is bordered on the west by the South Fork of the Eel River and on the east by the East Branch of the Eel River. The Benbow Firewise boundary encompasses 2,967 acres and 202 dwellings. There are 413 parcels of privately owned land, ranging in size from .03 acres to 156.2 acres. According to the US Census Bureau, Benbow has a population of 422 as of the 2020 census, up from 321 from the 2010 census. The residential area starts at the river valley and climbs a large hill that is sloped southwest and northeast and becomes Reed Mountain. Along this hill are steep forested canyons and grassland meadows. The housing units are almost entirely single-family homes. The Benbow Historic Inn and the Benbow KOA Holiday cabins, campground, RV park and golf course are notable businesses with larger occupancies.
Benbow's Fire Prone Landscape
Benbow became a nationally recognized Firewise Community site in 2022. The Benbow Fire Safe Community developed the Firewise Committee that collaborated with CAL FIRE and the Garberville Volunteer Fire Department to conduct and author a Community Wildfire Risk Assessment. Based on this assessment, the group developed a Three-Year Action Plan to address the identified safety concerns. Residents are now working together to implement that plan, taking specific actions to reduce their vulnerability and enhance fire safety. By preparing homes, structures, and landscapes before a wildfire happens, the Benbow community is increasing the opportunity for lives, homes, and properties to be protected when a wildfire does occur.
A Fired Up Community!
Each year, the Benbow Community holds a Firewise Community Event where the Benbow Fire Safe group and the Firewise Committee distribute educational materials, hold workshops, and gather community feedback related to fire-related needs and concerns. These events offer the opportunity for residents to interact and build relationships with the Garberville Volunteer Fire Department and CAL FIRE. The Benbow Fire Safe group also holds regular “Coffee Cart” morning meetings at community outreach events to educate and inspire.
Benbow's Firewise Community Wildfire Risk Assessment (PDF) and Three-Year Action Plan (PDF) are excellent tools for the community to learn about wildfire hazards in the area and collaboratively identify actions to reduce those hazards.
Funding for the initial completion of the Firewise recognition process was provided by a grant from the California Fire Safe Council (CFSC) as part of the 2019 Grants Clearinghouse Fire Prevention Program. This State Fire Assistance grant is made possible by federal financial assistance provided to the CFSC from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service.