Project Title:Safety Element Update
Case Number: (None)                                
Project Location:Countywide
Assigned Staff and Division:

Whitney Wilkinson, Long Range Planning Division


Register Now! Our second virtual workshop will be held on February 25, 2021 at 6:00 pm. This interactive workshop will be held in English with Spanish interpretation. Sign up here for EnglishRegistrese aquí para Español.

Check Out our Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment website for more information, including our NEW Interactive Map, join the discussion with the Public Engagement Map, and review meeting materials from the first workshop that we held on December 9, 2020.

The Safety Element Update Team has hired a consultant and has initiated work on a countywide multi-hazard Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA). Our Team has developed a draft set of climate hazards, community assets and frontline communities to be included in the CCVA. For more information, visit our new CCVA website. (Last Updated 2/3/2021). 


The County of Santa Barbara Seismic Safety and Safety Element (Safety Element) of the Comprehensive Plan establishes policies to protect the community from natural and human-made hazards. It is intended to guide land use planning by providing pertinent data regarding geologic, soil, seismic, fire and flood hazards. The element also includes the Safety Element supplement which describes land use planning measures to reduce the risk of public exposure to acutely hazardous materials associated with oil and gas pipelines and fixed facilities. More information on the Safety Element is available here.

The Safety Element was first adopted in 1979. It was recently updated in 2009 to update flood hazard information in compliance with Assembly Bill (AB) 162, and again in 2014 to update fire hazard information in compliance with Senate Bill (SB) 1241. However, it has not been updated to address recent disaster events and state legislation requiring local jurisdictions to analyze effects of climate-change hazards.

Recent legislative changes (Government Code 65302(g)(4)) require that the Comprehensive Plan's Safety Element, "be reviewed and updated as necessary to address climate adaptation and resiliency strategies." Santa Barbara County has just experienced severe wildfire, flood, and debris flow disasters in inland and coastal areas. The County has undertaken climate change vulnerability assessment work in the coastal areas, and several related efforts by other agencies assess vulnerabilities in County coastal areas. However, a climate change vulnerability assessment has not been prepared for the inland areas, and the County does not have a climate change adaptation/mitigation plan.  In addition, the Safety Element needs to be in conformance with the 2017 Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan (MJHMP) per California Government Code 65302 (AB 2140).

Proposed Project

The objectives for this project include the following:

  • Enhance the risk and vulnerability assessment information with respect to climate change impacts in the 2017 MJHMP;
  • Incorporate diverse and underserved populations into the vulnerability assessment process;
  • Prepare a climate change vulnerability assessment for the unincorporated County areas, assessing risk of hazards such as future wildfire (including fuel management), drought, flooding, extreme heat, severe storms, and other hazards that may be exacerbated by climate change;
  • Incorporate sea-level rise hazard risk information from the County's Coastal Resiliency Project into the County-wide vulnerability assessment;
  • Convene a stakeholder advisory group to advise County staff and consultants during development of the climate change vulnerability assessment.

The climate change vulnerability assessment will incorporate the latest climate model projections and determine the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of the County's various communities with respect to its services, resources, and economic sectors. Existing hazards that will be exacerbated by climate change, such as wildfire, fluvial flooding, and landslides will be addressed in addition to new hazards, such as sea level rise and seasonal pattern changes. The County's vulnerability assessment will account for, and in some cases, build on the plans and processes already in place, or those currently being developed to address climate change or ensure our communities are prepared for disasters. Some of these resources include: 



  • Research & Data Gathering
  • Conduct Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment
  • Climate Change Adaptation Plan Development
  • Draft updates to Safety Element information, maps, and policies


  • Complete Climate Change Adaptation Plan
  • Complete Safety Element Goals, Policy, and Implementation Measure Updates
  • Prepare necessary LUDC/Article II Updates 
  • Environmental Review


Seismic Safety & Safety Element Page

Santa Barbara County Multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan

Santa Barbara County Coastal Resiliency Project

Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment (SBA CEVA)

Santa Barbara County Association of Government's Draft Multi-Modal Transportation Network Vulnerability Assessment (PDF)

County Response to Board of Forestry Comments on 2014 Safety Element Update (PDF)

Additional Information / Resources


Integrated Climate Adaptation Resiliency Program (ICARP)

California Office of Planning and Research - Safety Element Guidance

California Adaptation Planning Guide

OEM Tsunami Interactive Map

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