The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) enforces the laws that regulate logging on privately-owned lands in California. The Forest Practice Act was enacted in 1973 to ensure that logging is done in a manner that will preserve and protect our fish, wildlife, forests and streams. The State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection enacts and enforces additional rules to protect these resources.

CAL FIRE ensures that private landowners abide by these laws when harvesting trees. Although there are specific exemptions in some cases, compliance with the Forest Practice Act and Board rules apply to all commercial harvesting operations for landowners of small parcels, to ranchers owning hundreds of acres, and large timber companies with thousands of acres.
The Timber Harvesting Plan (THP) is the environmental review documents submitted by landowners to CAL FIRE outlining what timber he or she wants to harvest, how it will be harvested, and the steps that will be taken to prevent damage to the environment. THPs are prepared by Registered Professional Foresters (RPFs) who are licensed to prepare these comprehensive, detailed plans. THPs can range from about 100 pages to more than 500 pages.

CAL FIRE does not have the authority to deny a THP that is in compliance with state and federal rules and laws, simply because the logging plan is unpopular with the public. The Department reviews and approves between 500 to 1400 THPs each year. A THP that does not comply with all forestry and environmental regulations is returned to the RPF. It is only approved after the RPF and landowner agree to make the changes necessary to ensure compliance with all laws. CAL FIRE follows-up on approved THPs with site inspections and can shut down operations, cite or fine RPFs, Licensed Timber Operators (LTOs), and landowners if illegal operations are found.

What's New

  • State Timber Harvest Review Team staff have begun using the California Timber Regulation and Environmental Evaluation System, CalTREES. Review Team staff are able to view timber harvesting documents online, via CalTREES, to facilitate faster and easier collaborative reviews. Interested stakeholders may also now use the CalTREES search and review features.
    For additional information, please visit our new CalTREES Information Portal.

The Board of Forestry and Fire Protection has adopted emergency regulations entitled "Emergency Rulemaking to Facilitate Post-Fire Recovery Efforts within Counties of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino", which became effective on January 25, 2018. The new exemption form Post-Fire Recovery (1/31/18) is located at the Timber Harvesting Forms.

Emergency Rulemaking to Facilitate Post-Fire Recovery Efforts within the Counties of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino (PDF).

The revision of the Anadromous Salmonid Protections Rules: Revised Interpretive Questions and Answers for RPFs and Landowners that was proudced in April 2010 reflects changes made by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection when they passed the "Class II-L Identification an dProtection Amendments, 2013" rule package, which went into effect January 1, 2014.

A petition to list Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) (COTO) as Threatened or Endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) was received by the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) on November 1, 2012. On June 26, 2013, the Commission voted to designate COTO as a candidate for listing. Starting on the date it officially becomes a candidate, COTO will receive the same legal protections under CESA as a threatened or endangered species, including the general prohibition on “take” of such species. You may consider including an analysis and appropriate mitigation measures in your timber harvesting plan (THP) prior to the date it officially becomes a candidate in order to avoid amendments to your THP in the future.

The range of the COTO extends throughout the State. COTO primarily roosts in caves, mines, abandoned dwellings, and large basal hollows of trees. The Biological Impacts section of your proposed harvesting plan should include a discussion of COTO (life history, threats, available habitat and appropriate mitigation) if the proposed timber operations may result in a significant adverse impact, cumulative impact, or take, once the species candidacy is formally announced. Proposed avoidance and mitigation measures should be included under Section II, Item 32a of the Plan if appropriate.

For more information; the evaluation of the petition to list, a life history account, and a range map can be viewed by going to the following web site and searching for “Townsend’s big-eared bat”. https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/documents/docviewer.aspx

The memorandum of the Non-industrial Timber Management Plans: Information for Registered Professional Foresters related to Water Quality and Cumulative Impacts is intended to provide clarification regarding the difference in noticing requirements described in the Forest Practice Act and Rules under PRC § 4594(g) and 14 CCR § 1090.7(h) and (i) for notices of timber operations under a non-industrial timber management plan, and how the cumulative impact assessment evaluation area melds with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board's waste discharge requirements and waivers of waste discharge requirements when considering the beneficial uses of water (http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/water_issues/programs/timber_operations/). Understanding this relationship is important to avoid confusion by registered professional foresters, the public, and review agency staff.