What is a CWPP?

July 30th, 2018


(Click for Video) This year Utah has seen more devastating wildfires than ever. It seems almost every week news outlets are covering a new fire. Discussions about evacuation and the number of homes in danger or lost seems almost commonplace. The worst part is that this is not a new story, this happens every year and it seems to be getting worse. So, what can a city do about it?

Luckily, the state has instituted a program that helps cities take some of the responsibility for wildfire mitigation in exchange for some ability to transfer fiscal responsibility to the state. Basically, it is an insurance policy for local municipalities with large amounts of wildland within their boundaries. The bill, S.B. 122, passed in 2016 and contains all the details regarding the program.

As part of the agreement, cities enter into with the Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands; a municipality is required to create a Community Wildfire Preparedness Plan (CWPP). This plan details goals and mitigation actions that the city and community residents will take to help the abatement of wildfire in their area. Then in the event of a wildfire, a municipality can reference the plan and show active participation in mitigation efforts, and the state will help cover the costs of the fire.

The great things about these plans are not only the direction for municipalities but also the information they provide for individual property holders. A citizen can review the plan, figure out the risk of their individual property, and learn what they can do to reduce the risk of wildfire. These plans can really help citizens get involved in mitigation. Often times, the main risk reduction strategies in these plans are public outreach campaigns. The people who make the real difference are the everyday property owners.

Here at Rural Community Consultants, we have already started the process of assisting special service districts, counties, and cities in developing CWPP’s. So, next year when the cycle of wildfires occurs again to make sure that your community has a CWPP in place.