Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs)

The idea for community-based forest planning and prioritization was given new and unprecedented impetus with the enactment of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) in 2003. This landmark legislation includes the first meaningful statutory incentives for the US Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to give consideration to the priorities of local communities as they develop and implement forest management and hazardous fuel reduction projects.In order for a community to take full advantage of this new opportunity, it must first prepare a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). Local wildfire protection plans can take a variety of forms, but HFRA outlined several minimum requirements for CWPPs:

  • Collaboration: A CWPP must be collaboratively developed by local and state government representatives, in consultation with federal agencies and other interested parties.
  • Prioritized Fuel Reduction: A CWPP must identify and prioritize areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments and recommend the types and methods of treatment that will protect one or more at-risk communities and essential infrastructure.
  • Treatment of Structural Ignitability: A CWPP must recommend measures that homeowners and communities can take to reduce the ignitability of structures throughout the area addressed by the plan.

In 2009, Colorado Senate Bill 09-001 (SB 09-001) defined more specificity for the development of CWPPs in Colorado. SB 09-001 required that all Colorado counties with a wildfire risk must develop county-wide CWPPs. Further, it required that the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) develop guidelines and requirements for the creation of CWPPs in Colorado. The CSFS revised minimum standards (2009) state that CWPPs in Colorado must include:

  • Diverse collaboration with emphasis on involvement of community members and representatives.
  • A definition and corresponding map of the community’s wildland urban interface or (WUI).
  • Simply put, the wildland urban interface is where human development meets or intermingles with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuel.
  • A community risk analysis that considers fuel hazards, risk of wildfire occurrence and community values (i.e. watershed, infrastructure, historic values, etc.).

Interested in developing a CWPP for your community or neighborhood? If you are interested in developing a CWPP for your community, neighborhood or HOA, please contact Lilia Falk and the West Region Wildfire Council. To view your county’s CWPP, please visit the home page and click on the county in which you reside.