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California Division of Forestry Field Axe {1}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {2}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {3}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {4}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {5}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {6}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {7}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {8}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {9}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {10}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {1}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {2}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {3}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {4}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {5}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {6}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {7}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {8}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {9}
California Division of Forestry Field Axe {10}

California Division of Forestry Field Axe

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California Division of Forestry Field Axe

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1950's Era California Division of Forestry field axe.

Dimensions:

Axe 34 3/4" length
Handle length 12" x 4 1/4" width


Condition:

Slight movement between the eye and shoulder of the axe.


History:

CAL FIRE is a State agency responsible for protecting natural resources from
fire on land designated by the State Board of Forestry as State Responsibility
Area (SRA). CAL FIRE also manages the State Forest system and has
responsibility to enforce the forest practice regulations, which govern
forestry practices on private and other non-federal lands. Two major themes are
attendant to the CAL FIRE mission. One is the protection of the State's
merchantable timber on all non-federal lands from improper logging activities
and the other is the protection of the State's grass, brush, and tree covered
watersheds in SRA from wildland fire. CAL FIRE is a "conservation agency" with
origins stemming from the "Conservation Movement" of the last century.

In the latter half of the 19th century, Americans collectively voiced concern
about the health and long term availability of the Nation's timber supply. They
were alarmed by newspaper accounts of a succession of conflagration fires that
had burned millions of acres in the upper mid-West and by the continuing
reports of massive timber destruction by homestead and lumber industry land
clearing practices. The prevalent idea that at least one-fifth of a given land
area should be covered in trees to sustain a successful agricultural industry
added weight to the anxiety and led to deliberations on how to control western
development of the public domain (Federal land). A widely circulated belief
that America might face a timber "famine" or shortage gave momentum to the
dialogue. Many also believed that trees caused it to rain and by removing them
the Nation ran the risk of converting its western territories, if not the whole
country, into a vast desert. Also, the prevailing attitude that the forests of
America were infinite, and infinitely forgiving of mankind's exploits, was
beginning to wane especially now that the American frontier had reached the
western shore.

The 19th century was a period of rapid western expansion for America and the
general rule was to transfer the public domain (Federal land) into private
ownership. But a growing number of Americans wanted to see the Federal
Government withdraw certain tracts of the public domain from private settlement
and manage the areas in trust for present and future generations. Two parallel
movements emerged to address the disposition of the public domain. One was the
drive to "preserve" the Nation's natural wonders from privatization. The other
was to "conserve" the Nation's storehouse of lumber trees. The first could be
said to have started in 1864 when the United States Government gifted the
Yosemite Grant and Mariposa Grove to the State of California. In 1866, the
California State Legislature accepted this land grant with the understanding
that the areas were to be managed for the benefit of present and future
generations. Although it was a State park, these two grants signaled the
beginning of a federal park program. The advent of a true national park system
came with the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 in Wyoming, some 18
years before Yosemite itself became a national park.

The United States Army was assigned the responsibility to patrol and protect
this area. The Army's role included the detection and suppression of wildfire
within park boundaries. This was no small task considering the size of the
sanctuary, the crude equipment at hand, and the few troops that were assigned.
Even though the U.S. Cavalry was a far cry from the wildland fire profession of
today, they nonetheless represented the beginning of a Federal wildland fire
protection program. One noteworthy Army idea was the creation of "campgrounds."
These were set up as a means to contain the continuing nuisance of abandoned
campfires. In 1890, the Sequoia and General Grant Parks, and the Yosemite
Forest Preserve were created. The U.S. Army's qualified success in Yellowstone
led to the implementation of Cavalry patrols within these parks in 1891.

As for forestry management, simple laws to protect certain types of trees had
been around since colonial times. The creation of the Department of Agriculture
in 1862 marks the beginnings of a national effort to protect the nation's
agricultural health. It wasn't until 1875, though, that Congress allocated
$2,000 to the Department for the purpose of hiring a forestry agent to
investigate the subject of timber management. This was unanticipated, since the
discipline of forestry was new and there were very few trained foresters in
America at this time. In 1881, a Division of Forestry was created and in 1889,
the Department of Agriculture was raised to Cabinet level status. Meanwhile,
all Federal land remained under the control of the Department of Interior,
specifically the General Land Office (GLO).

Bernhard Fernow, Division of Forestry Chief from 1886 to 1898, endorsed the
creation of forest reserves and pointed out the need to transfer control of
these lands from the General Land Office to the Department of Agriculture. This
would insure that government foresters would have the leverage needed to
enforce proper timber management practices. Fernow even drafted an
organizational scheme that included the idea that "rangers" would be in charge
of the smallest administrative units. Stiff opposition against creating federal
reserves was overcome in 1891 when Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act. The
President was given the authorization to permanently withdraw from the public
domain, forestlands he deemed of national importance. The Act did not, however,
specify what constituted "forest" land. The people of Southern California
capitalized on this by successfully lobbying for the creation of the San
Gabriel Forest Reserve, a largely brush covered region whose value lies in its
being an important watershed for the Los Angeles Basin. Southern Californians
had long been witness to the devastation that wildland fire could bring. They
had seen how hillsides denuded by fall fires became a catalyst for flooding and
mudslides when winter rains hit. This, in turn, wreaked havoc on the
agricultural lands in the Basin below. The Sundry Civil Appropriations Act
(Organic Act) of 1897 clarified the intent of the Forest Reserve Act and
specifically endorsed the validity of watershed protection. In fact, timber and
watershed protection were the cornerstones upon which existing reserves were
expanded and future reserves established.

As for Fernow's efforts to wrestle control of the Forest Reserves from the
Department of Interior, this fell to his successor, Gifford Pinchot. Pinchot is
viewed as the "father" of the Forest Service. He served as Chief Forester from
1898 to 1910. His close friendship with President Theodore Roosevelt
undoubtedly played a key role in the latter's executive order, of early 1905,
which transferred the growing collection of Forest Reserves from the Interior
Department to the Department of Agriculture. Had he been so inclined, Pinchot
probably could have gained control of the federal parklands. But Pinchot was a
forester intent on instituting wise management upon timber-producing lands for
commercial use. He was not out to cultivate trees for recreational enjoyment
(utilitarian conservation as opposed to aesthetic preservation). Within a few
weeks of Roosevelt's order, Pinchot reorganized the Agriculture Department's
Bureau of Forestry into the United States Forest Service. In 1907, the Forest
Reserves were renamed National Forests.

The U.S. Forest Service became the Nation's primary instrument, for protecting
natural resources on Federal land from fire and from timber exploitation. In
the teens the National Park Service was established, and charged with
protecting the Nation's scenic wonders. Both agencies, however, were protecting
only those areas of Federally owned land under their jurisdiction and such
private in-holdings that could potentially threaten the well being of the
Federal lands. The large areas of timber and watershed lands privately owned
that were beyond the National Forests and Parks came under the State authority.

In the midst of the national debate over the merits of having a Federal forest
reserve system, the California State Legislature had established a State Board
of Forestry. Founded in 1885, the Board was one of the first State appointed
forestry boards in the nation. They were authorized to investigate, collect,
and disseminate information about forestry. In 1887, the Board members and
their assistants were given the power of peace officers to enforce compliance
with the few laws that the State had enacted concerning brush and forest lands.
A State-level interest in the well being of its natural resources had
materialized. But a hostile political climate eventually succeeded in
abolishing the State's first Board of Forestry, which was disbanded in 1893.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a few loosely organized groups,
including at least one logging company, had taken steps to bring about wildland
fire protection upon a few scattered properties outside of the Federal
Reserves. A major step forward, though, in bringing about a State-level
commitment to protect these areas came in 1903. Shortly after assuming office
Governor George Pardee communicated to Gifford Pinchot his desire for a joint
Federal-State study and survey of the forest situation in California. C.
Raymond Clar, in his report Brief History of The California Division of
Forestry suggests that Pardee's request energized Pinchot's lobbying efforts
for direct control of the federal forest reserve system and no doubt it helped
sway President Roosevelt to transfer the Federal Reserves to the Department of
Agriculture. The California survey was conducted from 1903 into 1907.
Commencement of the project set the stage for the establishment of a new Board
of Forestry and the creation of the position of State Forester. On March 18,
1905 the State Legislature approved both. The enabling Act, as Clar puts it,
became "...the statutory cornerstone for the State forestry agency as it has
existed through the ensuing years."

The Board of Forestry appointed E. T. Allen, an Assistant Forester in the
Forest Service, as California's first State Forester. Unfortunately, Allen had
to leave office the following year (for personal reasons). Not surprisingly,
another Forest Service employee, Gerard B. Lull, filled his position. After
all, the Federal Agency was practically the only source for qualified
foresters. In passing, it might be mentioned that 1906 was also the year that
the State Legislature returned the Yosemite Grant and Mariposa Grove to the
Federal Government. While touching upon the subject of parks, the Act of 1905
had placed the State's Big Basin Park in Santa Cruz County under the authority
of the Board of Forestry. The State's park system remained under the
jurisdiction of the Board until 1927.

The Act of 1905 granted to the State Forester the right to appoint local fire
wardens. The State Forester could also "maintain a fire patrol at places and
times of fire emergency." The fire patrol system, however, was to be funded by
the County in which the action took place. Although the CAL FIRE could be said
to have started in 1905 with the creation of the position of State Forester,
from 1905 until 1919, the State Forester and the "forestry department" were
one-and-the-same. The "department" consisted of the State Forester and a few
office staff and assistants based in Sacramento. The remainder of the
department was the large body of local fire wardens. They were, however, funded
and supported by their local jurisdictions. The State of California was not
spending money to maintain a wildland fire protection force.

In 1911 Congress passed the "Weeks Law" which provided fiscal aid for
cooperative fire protection work between the Forest Service and qualifying
States. In 1919, the California Legislature finally appropriated money for fire
prevention and suppression work. The sum of $25,000 was approved and the Forest
Service, under the Weeks Law, provided $3,500 for salaries of field men. The
State's first four rangers or "Weeks Law Patrolmen" were hired for a four month
period covering the summer of 1919. They worked wherever needed but were
individually headquartered in Redding, Oroville, Placerville, and Auburn. The
State Forester reported that three million acres of watersheds covering the
Stanislaus, Mokelumne, Cosumnes, American, Bear, Yuba, and Feather rivers
outside of the Federal reserves were to be afforded protection. No explanation
has been given as to why the river systems and the "headquarters" locations
didn't exactly match. In 1920, the ranger organization was restructured and
expanded with ten rangers overseeing ten districts. The districts were: 1)
Shasta County; 2) Butte and Yuba Counties; 3) Placer and Nevada Counties; 4) El
Dorado and Amador Counties; 5) Tehama County; 6) Colusa County; 7) Lake County;
8) Mendocino County; 9) Napa County; 10) Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and San Mateo
Counties. Over the next decade the district system and the ranger force slowly
grew.

In 1917, the State Legislature authorized the establishment of a forest
nursery. In 1919 a bill was introduced to purchase land for a nursery site but
failed. Meanwhile, the State Highway Commission had become an enthusiastic
supporter of a State forestry nursery. They, and many members of the general
public, wanted to use the planting stock to beautify public land including
roadsides. In 1920 the Commission and the State Board of Forestry agreed to a
cooperative venture to establish a nursery. The State Highway Commission had
the resources and authority to purchase a tract of land and thus acquired
thirty acres in Yolo County near Davis for a nursery site. In 1921 the State
Legislature appropriated $20,000.00 to the Board of Forestry for building
construction upon this land. This marks the beginning of the building of a
physical operating plant for the CAL FIRE.

The first State-funded fire lookout building was erected on Mount Bielawski in
the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1922. However, in the 1920ís, other than fire
lookouts, the construction of buildings to serve the needs of the State Rangers
was the individual State Ranger's responsibility. That is to say, the State of
California did not fund construction. The "historic" San Jacinto Ranger's
Office now located at the San Jacinto Forest Fire Station is the only known
surviving State Ranger's office from the 1920s. It was built upon private land
through local efforts. In 1923, the State's forestry program supported 16
rangers, 4 inspectors and 2 lookouts. By 1927 the force was up to 28 rangers, 7
inspectors, 6 patrolmen and 9 lookouts. During the interim, Congress had
superseded the Weeks Act with the Clarke-McNary Act (of 1924). The law greatly
expanded federal assistance to State forestry programs, and California was
beginning to avail itself to this funding source.

In 1927, Governor Clement Calhoun Young orchestrated a reorganization of State
government, creating the Department of Natural Resources with a Division of
Forestry and a Division of Beaches and Parks. Administration of the State's
parks was henceforth no longer a responsibility of the State Board of Forestry.
The California Division of Forestry, as the forestry agency was now officially
designated, would be headed by the State Forester who reported administratively
to the Director of the Department of Natural Resources. From 1927 until the
formation of the CCC, the CAL FIRE fire lookouts nearly tripled in size, with
much of this activity performed in cooperation with the Forest Service. The
first State fire trucks were not acquired until 1929. It's unknown where they
were housed but they are believed to have been sheltered in buildings provided
by the counties they were assigned. The first official State "standby crews"
(seasonal fire fighters) were not hired until 1931.

The old fire station buildings on Mount Zion are the only pre-CCC era
suppression station facilities remaining in the CAL FIRE property inventory.
They were constructed as part of the State labor camp located at the site in
the winter of 1931-32. The buildings were "reconstructed" in the early 1950s.

By 1931 a number of counties had entered cooperative agreements with the State
Forester in order to have the State place a Ranger in their territory. However,
the State Ranger continued to look to his sponsoring County's Board of
Supervisors for any material aids and staff such as clerks, truck drivers and
even Assistant Rangers that he needed. Almost nothing was available from the
State budget for physical improvements to lookouts, telephone lines,
firebreaks, or offices. It was in 1931 that the Board of Forestry hired Burnett
Sanford, a forest engineer, to study what Clar reports had become a "complex
and generally unplanned system of allotting operating funds among the numerous
geographical sub-divisions into which the Division of Forestry had been allowed
to grow." The "Sanford Plan" basically proposed that State funds be apportioned
along the lines of "weighted values" of area protected. The values were couched
in the general concepts that had brought about the National Forests.
Specifically, the State was concerned about watershed management and timber
management in the larger sense and also for protection of public recreation and
wildlife habitat areas. Sanford criticized the type of rural organization that
had occurred, for one reason because the higher valued mountain regions were
receiving less fire protection than the low lying range lands and valley
floors. Under the Sanford Plan, the State was divided into three classes. Class
1 lands had the highest value to the State embracing watershed, timber, and
recreation areas. Here, the State would focus its fire protection efforts.
Class 2 lands had no general value but would be protected as needed because
fires could potentially threaten Class 1 lands. Class 3 lands were left to the
local citizenry to protect.

The Great Depression had a significant impact upon both Federal and State
wildland fire protection programs. As the Nation's economy degenerated,
California became a beacon of hope. Though there was little employment
available, thousands of the unemployed poured into the State. In the summer of
1931, S. Rexford Black met with Finance Director Vandegrift to discuss a work
relief program. Black was Secretary of the lumberman's California Forest
Protective Association and in August he was also appointed to the chairmanship
of the State Board of Forestry. In the winter of 1931-32 the first California
State labor camps were formed. State Rangers were assigned to oversee the
camps; the work was to benefit the public. Jobless men and their families could
come and go from the camps as they wished. In exchange for four to six hours of
labor the men received food, tobacco, and some clothing. The program was
strapped for funds, supplies were low, accommodations poor but the program
succeeded. Hundreds of miles of road and firebreaks were constructed, telephone
lines repaired, campgrounds improved, and roadside hazards removed. The camp
program ceased in the spring but was re-activated in the winter of 1932-33. It
has been suggested that California's relief effort was the model for the
Federal programs instigated during Franklin Roosevelt's Presidency.

President Roosevelt asked Congress to set up a Federal Relief Administration
to oversee a grants program designed to relieve the Nation's unemployment
crisis. Unemployment relief through the performance of useful public works was
the President's philosophy. In April of 1933 the Emergency Conservation Work
(ECW) program was established. It became known almost instantly as the Civilian
Conservation Corps (CCC). In California, the Forest Service's District
Forester, Stuart Show, had developed a plan of attack on how to utilize this
new labor pool. Funded by ECW money, the CCC would be assigned three basic
tasks: firebreak construction, lookout station building, and general
improvements. The "Three Cs" would cut fuelbreaks around the State, with
particular emphasis on establishing the "Ponderosa Way Firebreak." This
continuous fuelbreak extended the length of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and
into the Cascades, ending north of Redding. The firebreak was intended to be a
permanent defensive line between the lower foothill regions and the higher
elevation National Forest lands. The second project, construction of an
integrated, statewide fire detection network would bring to fruition the
recommendations of an investigative group that Show had organized in 1930 at
the California Forest and Range Experiment Station (Pacific Southwest today) to
scrutinize every aspect of the fire detection problem in California. The group
had recommended an integrated, network of fire lookouts be setup to cover all
of the State's fire prone areas from the Oregon line to the Mexican border. The
third task, general improvements, included the building of administrative and
fire suppression bases, installation of roads, bridges, telephone lines and
innumerable other conservation projects.

The ECW programs lasted from 1933 to 1942. All told, the CCC-WPA laborers
constructed over 300 lookout towers and houses, some 9,000 miles of telephone
lines, 1,161,921 miles of roads and trails and erected numerous fire stations
and administrative buildings in California. The CCC had also planted over 30
million trees and had spent nearly one million "man days" in fire prevention
and suppression activity. Because the CCC was expected to fight forest fires,
they constituted the single largest wildland suppression force ever assembled
in American history.

The Forest Service system of lookouts, guard stations, and ranger stations had
been renovated, replaced, and/or expanded. For the California Division of
Forestry, a system of fire stations and lookouts now existed throughout many of
the fire prone areas of California. The Forest Service had identified about 60
sites for the CAL FIRE detection system. Approximately 50 new lookouts were
erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps for the California Division of
Forestry. At least 30 of these stations were on sites previously not utilized
by the State agency. Most of these lookouts were erected from 1934 to 1936.
Some of the fire suppression camps located at the CCC camps became permanent
State fire stations. In other instances a "spike camp" was extended from a base
CCC camp. This spike camp would eventually evolve into a permanent fire
suppression camp in the CAL FIRE system. Clar reports that State Forester Pratt
remarked that the CCC program thrust the CAL FIRE "twenty years ahead of
itself." As Clar comments "That was a modest boast if otherwise anticipated
progress was to be measured by prior achievement."

As the CCC capital improvement plan unfolded, the CAL FIRE instructed a few of
its Sacramento staffers to, as Clar reported, "study and prepare plans for an
orderly development of fire lookouts, crew stations, telephone lines and the
personnel and auxiliary equipment to go with them." The group was to take stock
of the situation and develop long range goals. In 1938 the Board of Forestry
instructed the State Forester to prepare a comprehensive statewide fire
prevention, protection, and suppression plan. The outbreak of war in Europe
added a new dimension and gravity to the fire planning studies of the 1930s.
The war heightened apprehension about the State's vulnerability to fire. The
earlier fire planning provided a foundation upon which a revised and solidified
plan could be established. In 1939, the Board of Forestry appointed a four-man
committee of staff and field men to prepare a fire plan for 1940. Clar was
named chairman of the committee. The "Fire Plan of 1940" or "Clar Plan" as it
became known redressed the financing scheme laid out in the Sanford Plan. As
Clar states, there were "...two simple concepts. First, the idea seemed clearly
reasonable that a consistent designation of area need should be indicated by
types and numbers of units in the planned protection system, as modified by
climate, geography, and the local fire problem... The second concept required a
strict segregation of State responsibility from that of any other entity,
government or private, and the use of State money to meet that responsibility."

The main significance of the Clar Plan was the proposition that the "State of
California was to assume complete jurisdiction and responsibility for
suppressing forest and watershed fires" on lands so designated by the State and
that all other areas were the primary responsibility of the respective city,
county or Federal agency in whose jurisdiction it fell. The Clar Plan also
proffered that a "physical plan of protection including personnel, structures,
communication facilities and equipment [should be] developed strictly upon the
basis of need to accomplish the fire control job without the slightest concern
for political boundaries or anticipated source of funds." This internal plan of
"unification" as Clar put it, was being driven by many factors including the
Federal work program and the depletion of "county treasuries" from the
continuing economic depression. Although the CCC-WPA programs had given the
State of California a physical operating plant for the California Division of
Forestry to carry out its wildland fire protection mission the State
Legislature had yet to fund the staffing of this new system. The Clar Plan gave
a formula for spending but the elected officials in Sacramento needed more
motivation before they would commit to the estimated $3,000,000 that the Clar
Plan disclosed it would cost to fully implement.

The growing prospect of war had prompted the U. S. Army to instruct all State
governments to prepare civil defense plans. In September of 1941, the State of
California established the State Council of Defense. The Council of Defense saw
in the Clar Plan a mechanism for a statewide fire defense plan. The Council
advised the CAL FIRE to be prepared to "assume statewide fire dispatching and
standby fire protection on the periphery of cities and vital industries." With
Japan's premeditated and vicious attack upon Pearl Harbor, the Aircraft Warning
System, which utilized a number of fire lookout facilities to house aircraft
spotters, went on war status. Observers were rushed to their respective posts.
The U.S. Army had delegated to the Forest Service the responsibility of seeing
to it that all lookouts (Federal, State and local) were in readiness.
Contingency plans had called for the winterizing of existing lookout stations
and the erection of scores of temporary cabins at other strategic locations.
Clar, as Chief Deputy State Forester, assumed operation of the CAL FIRE's role
in civilian defense and immediately had 30 fire lookouts staffed, all State
fire trucks put on standby, and organized a 24 hour dispatch team at the
central offices in Sacramento. These civil defense actions quickly added a
nearly $40,000.00 deficit to the State budget. In view of the times, State
Officials did not object and emergency appropriations during the War years
brought about the rapid implementation of the Clar Plan.

Earl Warren was elected California's Governor in 1943. Warren appointed
William Moore as Director of the Department of Natural Resources. Moore was
familiar with and a supporter of the Clar Plan. Without delay he approved
formation of six administrative districts within the CAL FIRE which the Clar
Plan had proposed. He also instructed the Chief Deputy State Forester to go, as
Clar later wrote, "around the State to inform the boards of supervisors that
henceforth the State Division of Forestry would give such fire protection to
the delineated State and privately owned timber and watershed lands as a
specified number of fire crews and other facilities would provide. And also,
whenever necessary the State would pay such emergency fire fighting costs as
might be deemed proper by the State. And further, the State would augment its
forces to any extent and manner desired by the county when reimbursed for the
actual cost of the service provided, plus a five percent administration fee."
Within a State structure for basic service, the counties had flexibility to
build up their own systems with their own fiscal resources as they saw fit. But
the real significance of Moore's action was the committing of the State of
California to hire and pay the salaries of seasonal and full-time employees in
the operation of a statewide wildland fire protection department. The
California State Government was now inextricably in the business of wildland
fire control. The California Division of Forestry had come of age.

Shortly after the War, two other milestones in the CAL FIRE's history were
reached. The idea of buying cut-over land and establishing a State Forest
system reached a State Legislature that was receptive toward forestry. In 1945
a special bill was passed to appropriate $100,000 for the purchase of a tract
of land which became designated the Latour Demonstration State Forest in Shasta
County. Another appropriation to the tune of $600,000.00 soon followed for the
acquisition of land in Tulare County. After the Mountain Home Demonstration
State Forest was established in Tulare County the State Legislature codified
and enacted rules under which the State Board of Forestry and the California
Division of Forestry could acquire, manage, and administer State Forest lands.
In 1946 a $2,000,000.00 "purchase fund" was setup by the Legislature. From this
the lands which constitute the Jackson Demonstration State Forest were
procured. Several other State Forests have been added to the system since then.
The State Forest system now includes eight units totaling over 71,000 acres.

The other milestone was the establishment of a prison "honor camp" program.
Since formation of the second State Board of Forestry the notion that inmates
should be used for conservation projects and wildland fire protection had been
promoted by different individuals. During World War II, with a critical labor
shortage now in effect, selected prisoners were taken from San Quentin and
organized into hazard reduction and emergency fire fighting crews. The success
of this operation paved the way for the introduction of a Youth Honor Camp
system. In 1945 four such camps were founded and a cooperative arrangement
between the California Youth Authority and the California Division of Forestry
was approved. The CAL FIRE would provide personnel to supervise field work and
provide appropriate fire training. The Youth Authority would maintain custodial
care of the wards. The program soon extended to the California Department of
Corrections' adult population and a system of honor camps (later renamed
conservation camps) was developed.

Today 85 million acres of California is classified as "wildlands." Some 15
million acres are identified as valuable forestland with about half of this
being federally owned. In 1945, the Forest Practice Act was passed into law to
regulate commercial timber harvesting on the non-Federal lands. The act was
revised in 1973 and contains provisions that timber harvest plans for
commercial operations are to be prepared by Registered Professional Foresters.
CAL FIRE administers the law, and logging operators must be licensed by the CAL
FIRE to operate upon non-Federal lands.

Note: This version was written by Mark V. Thornton in 1995 who, at that time,
was working for CAL FIRE under contract as a consulting historian. Mark was
assisting the CAL FIRE Archaeology Program in conducting inventories of CAL
FIRE properties for historic buildings and archaeological sites.


References:


https://www.fire.ca.gov/about-us/history/


A gross percentage of the sale of your purchase goes directly to support the
California Conservation Corps. CCC is a life changing organization that helps
develop job skills for California youth while preserving the State of
California's natural resources.
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