Community Wilfire Protection Plans: Enhancing Collaboration & Building Community Capacity

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Across the country, Federal agencies, States, Tribes, local governments, NGOs, community groups, and citizens are coming together in an attempt to manage their forests and grasslands to reduce the risk of wildland fire. Some management efforts have been ongoing for a number of years; others have been spurred by the passage of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA). HFRA contains provisions to expedite fuels reduction and forest-restoration projects with the goal of restoring healthy forest and rangeland conditions and protecting communities from catastrophic wildland fire.

HFRA encourages the development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) that identify and set priorities for fuels reduction projects on Federal and non-Federal lands, including where and how the project be implemented . The Plans are initiated by the community with Federal agencies partnering in the process to the extent that the community desires. HFRA also requires monitoring of fuels management projects, and promotes multiparty monitoring that includes communities and other stakeholders.

Scientists from USDA Forest Service Research and the National Forest System and from universities across the country are studying communities that are developing CWPPs to develop tools or strategies that will (1) improve the ability of agencies, organizations, communities, and citizens to work together collaboratively to reduce the risks of wildland fire, and (2) enhance the long-term social capacity of communities to address wildfire risk by understanding how CWPP activities overcome barriers and/or expand opportunities for planning and implementing fuel reduction projects.

This projected is funded by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) and the home institutions of the investigators.