2022 Fire Risk Reduction Programs! 

By: City Manager, Rachelle Rickard


The safety of our residents is always a top priority of the City. The City Council’s 2021 Strategic Planning process, which included plenty of great input and collaboration from numerous community members, again established public safety as one of our primary goals. With that in mind, Atascadero’s Fire and Emergency Services Department continues to implement safety programs that help to keep our community safe from wildfire, including the annual Hazard Reduction Burn Season, a new Wildfire Risk Home Consultation Program, and our ever-popular Chipping Program.

Atascadero’s 2022 Burn Season for Fire Hazard Reduction opened on January 5th. Each day, burn permissibility status is determined by the California Air Resources Board and our local weather conditions. Before burning, residents must be sure to obtain the daily status by calling (805) 461-5070 and selecting Option 8. Residents are asked to please use burning only as a last resort, and to utilize their Green Waste container or the Chicago Grade Landfill whenever possible. Burn Season regulations and more information can be found on our website. Please be aware that the Fire Dept will issue citations for violations.

The SLO County Fire Safe Council has awarded Atascadero Fire and Emergency Services with grant funding for a new Wildfire Consultation pilot program. Initially, due to limited funding, only properties that are located in the High and Very High Fire Severity Zones on the West Side of Atascadero will be eligible to sign up for this free program; those property owners will be notified soon by mail with a flyer that urges them to sign up for the program before the end of February. The property evaluation will include specific recommendations that the property owner can undertake to increase the survivability of their home in the event of a wildfire. Fire personnel will come out and assess the property’s vegetation, clearance, structure materials, and will identify any hazards that are particular to that property and residence. Feedback will be provided to the owner with a list of recommendations that will provide a focused approach in reducing fire hazards and home survivability in the event of a wildfire.

In addition, Atascadero’s Chipping Program for 2022 has also been approved for grant funding by the SLO County Fire Safe Council.  Registration will open soon and the number of availabilities will be limited. Please be sure to note the following information: Material to be chipped must be clean of hazardous green waste such as brush and tree limbs. Small twigs or blown down material, trash, rocks, metal, processed lumber, piles of leaves, vines, fruit and nut tree trimmings or poison oak are not allowed. All chipped material will be left on the property for removal by the owner. Branches must all be stacked in uniform order facing the same direction and may not exceed four (4) inches in diameter. All material must be piled in an easily accessible area, adjacent to the roadway or driveway, as the chipping vehicle will not leave the improved roadways/driveways for access and the crew will not drag material long distances or over fences.

Sincere thanks to the San Luis Obispo Fire Safe Council for their continued support by providing grant funding for both of these important risk reduction programs.

For questions or to receive more information regarding any of these programs, please contact Atascadero Fire by phone at (805) 461-5070 or (805) 470-3300; or visit our website at www.atascadero.org/fire.

City Manager, Rachelle Rickard

Rachelle Rickard is a native of California and a nearly 30 year resident of Atascadero. She graduated with a business degree from California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) State University in San Luis Obispo. In February 1997, She took a job as the Accountant with the City of Atascadero and was promoted to the position of Director of Administrative Services. At the time of her appointment to the position of Administrative Services Director for the City of Atascadero, she was the youngest person ever appointed to that role; she was also the first female Department Head ever appointed within the City. Rachelle Rickard was appointed to the position of City Manager of the City of Atascadero in June, 2013.