The eastern slope of the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington has recently experienced several large wildfires affecting local communities. In 2015, the Chelan Complex fires destroyed homes and businesses within the City of Chelan’s urban growth boundary, severely disrupting local services and the economy. In addition to the Chelan Complex Fire, the region has a long history of wildfire and will continue to be prone to wildfire events in the future.
In the fall of 2015, the City of Chelan became a CPAW community. Throughout 2016, the CPAW team worked with local stakeholders to understand the wildland-urban interface (WUI) conditions in Chelan and provide recommendations to improve planning documents. Recommendations included developing broad community partnerships to support wildfire initiatives, such as creating a wildfire steering committee and developing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The CPAW team also recommended the adoption of land use regulations to address wildfire, such as a wildland-urban interface code, flammable materials ordinance in an industrial corridor, and landscape standards.
One of CPAW’s recommendations for the City of Chelan was to adopt a Wildland Urban Interface code, and in October 2017 the City adopted a Comprehensive Code amendment, which includes the Washington State WUI code. The City’s next steps include adopting ordinance, providing education to the public, and training staff.
In addition, the County of Chelan saw the benefits the City received through CPAW and successfully applied to join the program. The County became a CPAW community in 2017.
- 2016 CPAW Community
- Population (2014): 3,974
- Growth Rate (2000-2015): 12.8%
- Fuel Type: Ponderosa pine and dry Douglas-fir, dry grassland/shrubland