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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

What is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)?

A CWPP is a plan developed by a community in an area at-risk from wildland fire. The CWPP is a collaborative product involving interested parties, local government, local fire fighting agencies, the state agency which oversees forest management and, if present in the vicinity, federal land management agencies. A valid CWPP has two objectives. First, to identify and prioritize the surrounding area, both federal and nonfederal lands, for hazardous fuels reduction treatments, as well as recommending methods for achieving hazardous fuels reductions. Second, the plan recommends measures for reducing structural ignitability through out the at-risk community.

The first statutory definition of CWPPs appears in Title I of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA). The HRFA promulgates that communities, which have a CWPP in place, will be a priority for receiving hazardous fuels reduction funding administrated by the USFS and BLM.

What is the Handbook for Wildland-Urban Interface Communities?

The Handbook is a roadmap for communities, and interested collaborators, to use when undertaking the task of creating a CWPP. The Handbook offers the must complete and up-to-date description of and instruction for creating a CWPP. The guide is designed to dovetail into the "Developing Community Wildfire Plans" section of the Interim Field Guide for the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (USFS: February 2004) and assist communities in creating CWPPs that conform to both the spirit and letter of the HFRA. The Handbook was first published in March 2004.

Who will use the Preparing A Community Wildfire Protection Plan: Handbook for Wildland-Urban Interface Communities?

Communities, particularly local governments, in areas at risk from wildland fire or adjacent to Federal Lands that are at high risk from wildfire.

What is the advantage to communities to create a CWPP?

In addition to enhancing safety and reducing risk to human structures and watersheds, communities with CWPPs are also given priority for USFS and BLM funded hazardous fuels reduction projects as authorized under the HFRA.

Who initiates and drives the process of creating a CWPP?

Local government or affiliated community groups will likely spearhead the effort to create a CWPP. Three partners must sign off on the final plan: local government and municipalities, local fire departments and the state forestry management agency. Other groups and federal agencies are also encouraged to participate in the collaborative process.

How long have CWPPs been around?

The Healthy Forest Restoration Act, which was signed in to law in December 2003, first defined a CWPP and established incentives for communities to create a CWPP. The Interim Field Guide for the Healthy Forest Restoration Act was released by the USFS and the BLM in February 2004 and provided one paragraph of guidance concerning development of CWPPs. In March 2004 the Handbook for Wildland-Urban Interface Communities was published, offering a detailed, user friendly, how-to manual for creating a CWPP. Prior to the advent of official CWPPs, a few Western communities had independently developed wildfire preparedness plans very similar to today's CWPPs.

Who prepared the Handbook for Wildland-Urban Interface Communities?

This guide was written, presented, and distributed as a joint effort by the National Association of State Foresters , the National Association of Counties, the Society of American Foresters, the Communities Committee of the Seventh American Forest Congress, and the Western Governors' Association.