Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Here is a quick sketch of why we should take our opportunity to have input into the CWPP seriously. This was provided to me by Mike Caplin, who gave me permission to post it here.

“Here is a quick sketch of the significance of CWPPs.

I think of CWPPs as a gift from Congress to tiny communities near National Forests and BLM land.

The concept of CWPPs is a creation of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (HFRA, attached and highlighted).

Any “at-risk community” near federal lands managed by the US Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management can write a CWPP, and in it the community can say how the community thinks wildfire fuels (vegetation) should be managed on the federal land to protect the community from wildfires starting on the federal land, and can say how the community thinks federal fuel reduction grant awards should be prioritized in the community’s area.

The federal agency is not required to do the fuel reduction work, but there are a number of incentives and directives once the community makes the recommendation in a CWPP.

First, the Secretary (of Agriculture or Interior) is directed to give priority to “authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects” that implement a CWPP.

Second, authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects on federal land recommended in CWPPs are provided expedited review under the National Environmental Policy Act (different degrees of red tape are cut depending upon whether the project is within the “wildland urban interface” (WUI) for the at-risk community, and whether the project is inside the WUI and within 1 1/2 miles of the boundary of the at-risk community.

Third, an at-risk community can use the CWPP to say where the WUI boundaries are for the at-risk community (wherever the community thinks it is needed to protect the at-risk community), and apparently to decide where the boundaries are for the at-risk community.

Fourth, the Secretary shall consider (authorized hazardous fuel reduction) recommendations made by at-risk communities in a CWPP.

Fifth, the at-risk community can say in its CWPP where the priorities are in its area for federal grant money to be awarded to perform fuel reduction work on private land.

Sixth, 50% of all federal fuel reduction monies must be spent in WUI areas.

Big Sur qualifies as an at-risk community. So, it can say in a CWPP, for example, where its WUI is, how it wants fire breaks maintained in the Los Padres National Forest, and how it wants other wildfire fuels to be maintained in the LPNF. It can also say which areas should be which priority for federal fuel reduction grants.”

So, send an email to Steve Daus or come to the meeting on the 29th 7-9 at the South Coast Community Center. If you do not have YOUR say about the areas of concern, I will certainly have mine. In fact, I sent my concerns to Steve already.

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