The federal Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) provides communities with a tremendous opportunity to influence where and how federal agencies implement fuel reduction projects on federal lands. A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is the most effective way to take advantage of this opportunity. Additionally, communities with Community Wildfire Protection Plans in place will be given priority for funding of hazardous fuels reduction projects carried out under the auspices of the HFRA.
A NEW COMMUNITY WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN IN DEVELOPMENT FOR NORTH PARK COUNTY
What is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan?
A valid and current CWPP is required when applying for state and federal wildfire mitigation grants. They must meet Colorado State Forest Service guidelines. Sadly, they are often contracted out to third parties, written without community or agency input, and left to sit on a shelf gathering dust.
We are about to break that mold in North Park County.
The Platte Canyon Fire Protection District (PCFPD) recently hired the Forest Stewards Guild to help write and facilitate the creation of a new CWPP for North Park County. 311 square miles from Kenosha Pass to Pine Junction. This CWPP will include:
Collaboration between the PCFPD, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Elk Creek Fire Protection District
State of the art wildfire modeling and operational analysis
An action plan going forward that will make this CWPP a living, working document
Why should we engage in this process? What’s in it for me?
None of us live in a bare dirt subdivision like Highlands Ranch. Our subdivisions were overlaid on a forest ecosystem that all of us share. We share the viewsheds. We share the watersheds. We share the underground aquifers. We also share a forest ecosystem that is adapted to and dependent for its health and vitality on Wildfire. We share the risk of a wildfire and unlike other natural disasters, both individually and collectively we can act to reduce that risk. Here are some of questions we should be asking ourselves as we start to engage in this process:
How can I protect my home from a wildfire? My business?
What can we do as a community to ensure a safe evacuation in the event of a wildfire?
What is our evacuation plan? What is my plan? What is the school district plan?
What can we do about the risk of insurability?
How can we make sure that our fire protection district is adequately funded?
What can we do as a community to protect our forest eco-services? How do we avoid the prospect of living in a dystopian forest of black sticks?
How can we avoid the flooding danger resulting from a large burn scar?
How will a fire affect my well? My septic system?
What is the true long-term cost of a wildfire?
What is our recovery plan?
Becoming wildfire resilient is not possible without community. We can only do this together. So, join the conversation, learn how we can work together to reduce the risk of wildfire in our beautiful mountain community.