San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit Law Enforcement and Fire Prevention

Law Enforcement and Fire Prevention

Peace officers are an integral part of CAL FIRE’s mission. CAL FIRE peace officers work in cooperation with the local community and allied agencies, in providing education and enforcement. The CZU Prevention Bureau is responsible for fire prevention education, as well as enforcing forest and fire laws, both locally and statewide.

The Bureau is made up of a Battalion Chief and Fire Captain Specialist, both sworn peace officers. The Bureau responds to and investigates all types of fires, and prepares reports as needed. The Prevention Bureau also manages fire prevention activities throughout the Unit. This includes organizing visits to schools or fairs, providing educational materials to community members, and implementing a defensible space inspection program.


General Program Goals

  • The Prevention Bureau works to reduce the number of ignitions in the Unit.
  • Enforce state/federal law, and CAL FIRE policies and procedures as they relate to forest and fire laws
  • Ensure that all fires are investigated by properly trained individuals.  Additional investigative resources will be provided as necessary.
  • Document all ignitions in a common database for review and analysis.
  • Recoup the cost of fire suppression using the Civil Cost Recovery program.  Work with the CAL FIRE Region Office in the management of cost recovery cases.
  • Maintain a professional working relationship with local law enforcement agencies, providing and/or requesting assistance as needed. 
  • Support and manage fire prevention education programs throughout the Unit.  Provide prevention materials and resources to the field as needed.  Maintain fire prevention signage throughout the Unit along high visibility roadways.
  • Oversee the implementation of residential defensible space inspections throughout the Unit. 


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