Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) are developed by (local whom?) to protect communities and nearby lands from fire through a collaborative process of planning, prioritizing, and implement hazardous fuel reduction projects.

In 2003 Congress passed the Healthy Forests Restoration Act  (HFRA) with the goal of reducing wildfire risks by improving the capacities of land-management agencies to protect communities, watersheds, and other at-risk lands from catastrophic wildland fires. One of the tactics identified was to encourage communities to develop CWPPs. Communities with CWPPs are given priority for funding of hazardous fuels reduction projects carried out under the HFRA.  

A valid CWPP meets three requirements:

  • The plan must be collaboratively developed by local and state government representatives in consultation with federal agencies and other interested parties.
  • The plan must identify and prioritize areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments, as well as recommend methods of treatments that will protect at-risk communities and essential infrastructure.
  • The plan must recommend measures that homeowners and communities can take to reduce the ignitability of structures throughout the area addressed by the plan.

CWPPs allow communities to define the boundaries of their local wildland-urban interface and gather input from a wide variety of stakeholders. To gain the most leverage, a CWPP  references community documents, such as a comprehensive plan, and aligns itself with other community policies that address wildfire mitigation activities. Action items within the CWPP provide specific directives to goals prioritized by the steering committee and community. These directives will help guide community updates and the implementation of future community plans and policies.

Community Examples

Town of Mammoth Lakes, CA

A prior CWPP covered Mono County, which included the Town of Mammoth Lakes. But developing a CWPP specifically for Mammoth Lakes ensured that the plan provided an updated hazard assessment to inform land-use planning decisions, local fuel treatments, and other community-based activities at a local scale.

Boulder County, CO

Boulder County’s CWPP is an excellent online document including 45 maps and links to video interviews, homeowner insurance information, and more. The plan was created through a collaborative process between hundreds of residents, fire personnel, and administrative staff. Its purpose is to protect property and save lives, enhance the environment, and promote a sense of community.

Austin/Travis County, TX

Austin includes a chapter dedicated to coordinating codes to support fire-adapted communities. Included support for enforceable codes and ordinances within a CWPP provides future guidance for the implementation of these codes in the future to be adopted in the land use approval process.