Community Wildfire Protection Plan
Decades following the 1964 Hanley and Nuns fires, there were few large damaging wildfires in Sonoma County. This abruptly changed in 2017 when the Sonoma Complex fires forever changed our county. Since then, every fire season has brought traumatic and devastating fires, and wildfire has become a day-to-day reality for County residents. To address this reality, the County is undergoing the process of updating our Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
What is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)?
Defined by the 2003 United States Congress Healthy Forests Restoration Act, the goal of a CWPP is to enhance efforts to protect communities, watersheds, and other at-risk lands from catastrophic wildfire events. A CWPP is not a regulatory document, but provides wildfire hazard and risk assessments, community descriptions, options for addressing issues of structural vulnerability to wildfire (Home Hardening), and provides a prioritized list of projects which, if implemented, can serve to reduce wildfire hazards.
A CWPP is one of the best tools we have to make progress in adapting our county to a wildfire-prone environment. The CWPP will contain hazard and risk analyses and, using a collaborative model, will suggest projects that can efficiently reduce the risk of loss of life, property loss, and environmental damage.
Wildfire Protection Plan HUB Site
The Sonoma County CWPP HUB Site is a website used to inform and collect feedback on the County’s efforts to update the plan. It is also a resource for County residents to take a look at Story Maps, Risk Indexes, and to submit any fire mitigation and hazard reduction projects. The site also provides educational resources from partnering agencies on wildfire preparedness.
Why is the County going through this process?
The County wants to be as up-to-date as possible in regards to assessing the wildfire risks in the years ahead. To do so, we follow the below processes:
1. A collaborative process that will allow for stakeholders to participate in planning and prioritizing wildfire risk reduction projects. “Stakeholders” are those who face risk from wildfire, including, but not limited to:
- Community members and groups
- Fire departments
- County, Federal, State, and local agencies
- Non-profits, Fire Safe Councils, and community service organizations
- Large land managers
Collaborative planning will also help the County adapt to wildfire by,
- Increasing “buy-in” for wildfire risk reduction efforts
- Building robust relationships between stakeholders
- Increasing resource sharing and cooperation
- Empowering communities to move forward to reduce risk
2. A science-based process that allows the CWPP to provide opportunities to share data-driven risk assessments and GIS modeling with the community to increase a better understanding of wildfire hazard risks across landscapes and within communities. It provides opportunities for a variety of stakeholders to share views, define their own communities’ assets and values, and let their concerns be known.
3. A community input process that has risk-reduction projects listed and prioritized within the CWPP, which can add weight to grant proposals and help link projects to potential funders.
What are the requirements?
The Healthy Forest Restoration Act defined three requirements for a CWPP:
- Collaboration: Collaboratively developed with input from a large variety of stakeholders including but not limited to community members, non-profit and other group co-operators, local agencies, state agencies, and federal agencies.
- Prioritized Fuel Reduction: Identifies areas for hazardous fuel reduction and recommends types and methods of treatment.
- Recommendations: Create recommended solutions to reduce structural ignitability in communities at risk of wildfire and provide modification descriptions that can decrease the chances that said structures could catch fire.
How you can become involved
This process will include several community engagement activities including workshops, surveys, and comment submission. Once planned, these opportunities will be posted on this website and the Fire Prevention calendar.
If you have questions about the CWPP process please contact Caerleon Safford at: PermitSonoma-WildfirePlan@sonoma-county.org
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