Participating in your Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)

A CWPP helps protect communities from loss caused by wildfire. This article is part one of a two part series. The second article discusses the content of a CWPP.

Michigan has a long recorded history of wildfires, occurring both naturally and anthropogenic. While wildfires provide many ecological benefits, they can be devastating to communities: threatening and destroying both life and property. Developments bordering wilderness areas are particularly vulnerable to wildfires. Property and home owners can take steps to protect themselves and their property before a fire occurs. Information, materials and toolkits to assist individuals can be found at the Firewise Communities Program and at Michigan State University Extension’s Firewise Program.

Effective planning for wildfire at a community level takes a multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency coordinated effort. These efforts to develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) should minimally include a core team comprised of local officials, emergency management staff, local fire departments, and representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and United States Forest Service. Additional partners can include representatives from the road commission, sheriff’s office, GIS/mapping department, Michigan State University Extension, lake or neighborhood associations and community planners.

Substantial funding is often available for communities to develop and implement their CWPP. These funds can be used to support the writing of the CWPP, provide critical classroom and field training and equipment to local fire departments, upgrade infrastructure and property in vulnerable areas, provide education and outreach to communities, and other wildfire mitigation efforts. In part two, the contents of a CWPP are discussed.

Other articles in this series:

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