Community Wildfire Protection Plans

Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) are a mechanism for communities to address their wildfire risk. These plans promote collaboration and local action, and can work in partnership with Firewise activities.

Background:
Destructive wildland fires in 2002 were a catalyst for Congress to pass the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) in 2003. The intent of the HFRA was to provide funding and guidance for better forest management practices throughout wildland areas and the wildland urban interface. One of the key outcomes of the HFRA was to incentivize communities to create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). An approved CWPP can influence and prioritize future funding for hazardous fuel reduction projects, including where and how federal agencies implement fuel reduction projects on federal lands.

What is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan?

(Excerpt from thewmpa.org)

A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a written blueprint for improving wildfire preparedness and protecting community values. The recommendations and projects contained in a CWPP are strictly voluntary and are in no way required. The CWPP is a plan for action and will depend upon people and partnerships to carry it forward. A CWPP provides the following:

  • A foundation for coordination and collaboration among residents and federal, state, county, and local agencies to reduce the risk of wildfire.
  • Recommendations for actions residents and the Property Owners Association (POA) can take to reduce the risk and impacts of wildfire.
  • Tangible evidence of a subdivision’s dedication to wildfire preparedness, which can increase competitive advantage in securing future grant funding.
  • A proactive guide for ongoing action and community involvement to create a safer community and to improve the subdivision’s wildfire preparedness.

Why Develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan?

(Excerpt from thewmpa.org)

The ultimate goals of a CWPP are to improve wildfire preparedness and to protect lives and property. Many benefits accompany the creation of a CWPP. Through the process of developing a CWPP, subdivisions are able to:

  • improve coordination and communication between emergency response agencies and the community;
  • define and map the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) specific to the subdivision;
  • identify and prioritize projects that will increase wildfire preparedness;
  • identify community values;
  • assess wildfire risk;
  • increase competitive advantage in securing grant funding;
  • reduce the risk and impacts of wildfire;
  • restore healthier, more resilient conditions in local forests; and
  • improve neighborhood communications.

Who Participates in Developing a CWPP?

(Excerpt from thewmpa.org)

Reducing the risk and potential impacts of wildfire requires a proactive approach that includes collaboration with federal, state, county, and local agencies. A community interested in creating a CWPP should convene a Core Team to oversee and guide the development of the CWPP. The Team should be a collaborative group responsible for making decisions and agreeing upon the final contents of the plan. The Team should be comprised of subdivision residents and representatives from agencies such as:

  • United States Forest Service (USFS)
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS)
  • The County Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
  • The local Fire Protection District (FPD)
  • FireWise Council of Southwest Colorado (FireWise)

How is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan Approved?

(Excerpt from thewmpa.org)

In order to obtain formal recognition, a CWPP goes through an approval process in which the CSFS, OEM, and local FPD agree to, and sign off on, the final contents of the CWPP.

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