Timber Harvesting Plan Review Process

When a THP is submitted to CAL FIRE:

Within 10 daysof receipt:

  • The THP is assigned a number.
  • Copies are distributed to all state and federal reviewing agencies.
  • A Notice of Intent is sent to landowners within 300 feet of the THP, the office of the county clerk within the THP county, and the local CAL FIRE unit headquarters.
  • A Notice of Submission is sent to anyone who has requested notification in writing.
  • A first review of the THP is done by a multi-agency team that includes CAL FIRE, the California Department of Fish and Game, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Geological Survey, and other agencies as needed. This first review is meant to assess whether the THP is complete, accurate and in proper order. Any incomplete applications are returned to the Registered Professional Forester (RPF) who prepared the THP. The RPF must answer any questions or concerns raised by the review team before the THP is processed any further.
  • Once all review team concerns are clarified and the THP is deemed complete, it is officially "filed." A Notice of Filing is sent to the person who submitted the THP, the office of the County Clerk, and to anyone who has requested notification in writing.
The public may submit to CAL FIRE comments concerning a filed THP. Comments will be accepted by the Department in writing or via e-mail up until the close of business on the designated final date for public comment. The public shall be informed as to where they may send their e-mail comments on all public notices and postings. All comments regarding plans shall be in writing and shall be addressed to the Director at the regional office where the plan is filed. CAL FIRE responds in writing to public comments that raise significant environmental issues. Addresses for written comments to CAL FIRE facilities can be found at CAL FIRE Contacts. The names of the assigned e-mail mailboxes for electronic comments are as follows:
  • santarosapubliccomment@fire.ca.gov - Santa Rosa
  • reddingpubliccomment@fire.ca.gov - Redding
  • fresnopubliccomment@fire.ca.gov - Fresno

Public comments pertaining to CEQA documents normally reviewed by the Environmental Coordinator in Sacramento, should be sent to:

  • sacramentopubliccomment@fire.ca.gov - Sacramento
E-mail Comment Requirements and Limitations
  • Incoming e-mail messages will not be accepted by the system if they exceed 6 megabytes in size.
  • Incoming e-mails with virus-laden attachments will be scanned and rejected by the CAL FIRE virus wall.
  • Undecipherable e-mail messages shall be discarded.
  • It is the responsibility of the sender to provide the Department with clear and complete messages when providing public comment through our e-mail system.
  • Hypertext e-mail links to other web pages or publications shall not be deemed the equivalent of written comment.
  • Not all comment formats may be compatible with current CAL FIRE software.
  • Obscene, threatening, or offensive comments may be reported to CAL FIRE Law Enforcement Staff.

Within 10 days of the Notice of Filing:

  • The review team may conduct a Pre-Harvest Inspection (PHI) to examine the proposed logging site. More than 95 percent of all plans receive a PHI.

Within 20 days of the Pre-Harvest Inspection:

  • A second meeting is held by the review team to discuss the Pre-Harvest Inspection reports and to finalize any recommendations or changes needed for the THP.

30 days after the Pre-Harvest Inspection:

  • The public comment period ends. Frequently, however, the public comment period is extended to allow time for all agencies involved in the THP process to complete their reviews,or for additional study of a specific THP issue.

Following the Review Team's final recommendation:

  • The final recommendations are sent to the Registered Professional Forester for response. After the RPF's response is received and the public comment period closes, the THP goes to the CAL FIRE Director, or the Director's representative, who has 15 working days to approve or deny the THP. The Director considers all Board of Forestry and Fire Protection rules, the review team's recommendations, and any public comment that was submitted concerning the proposed timber operation before making a decision to approve or deny the THP. CAL FIRE prepares and sends or e-mails a written response to each person or group who submits public comment on a THP.

Once a THP is Approved:

  • CAL FIRE Unit Forest Practice Inspectors will periodically inspect the logging operation to ensure compliance with the approved THP and all laws and regulations.
  • Any violations will be promptly acted upon. Enforcement actions range from violation notices requiring corrective actions, assessment of civil penalties and fines, and criminal proceedings through the court system. Action may also be taken against the licenses of the timber operator and/or the RPF on the operation.
  • When a THP operation has been completed, the timber owner has the responsibility for submitting a completion report to CAL FIRE. CAL FIRE then inspects the area to certify that all rules were followed.
  • The landowner must restock (replant) the area according to the Forest Practice Rules requirements. A stocking report must be filed with CAL FIRE to certify that these requirements were met. If the landowner fails to restock the land, CAL FIRE may hire a contractor to do the work and bill the landowner.

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