Coos County Community Wildfire Protection Plan
FINAL COOS COUNTY CWPP - READY FOR ADOPTION
In an average year 140,000 wildfires burn 14.5 million acres and destroy 1,000 homes in the U.S. As more people move into rural areas and woodland settings, communities’ risk of wildfire hazard increases. The area where human development blends with undeveloped wildland is known as the wildland/urban interface (WUI); this area presents the greatest risk to people, property, and firefighters.
In 2003, Congress enacted the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA), which emphasizes the need for federal land management agencies, primarily the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, to work collaboratively with communities in developing projects to reduce hazardous fuels in the wildland/urban interface. For local communities to have maximum influence over the projects in their area and to be given priority for funding for hazardous fuel reduction projects, they must develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The statutory definition of a CWPP appears in Title I of the HFRA. Communities that develop and maintain a CWPP are prioritized to receive hazardous fuels reduction funding administrated by the USFS and BLM.
In April of 2010, Coos County representatives contacted the Oregon Partnership for Disaster Resilience (OPDR) at the University of Oregon’s Community Service Center (CSC) to request assistance in developing a countywide CWPP. The purpose of this project is to develop a CWPP that establishes a strategic vision for long-term wildfire risk reduction activities and outreach in Coos County. The plan will consolidate the County’s wildfire mitigation goals, strategies and activities into one document and will highlight and link plans and partnerships, including land use, natural resource, capital improvement, and emergency operation plans. The project will include the following elements and phases:
Phase 1: Project Organization and convening of the Steering Committee
- OPDR will meet by phone with representatives of Coos County and other stakeholders to clarify the goals and objectives of the project, refine the work plan, and compile a list of local decision makers, federal agencies, tribal partners and other stakeholders who will make up the Coos CWPP Steering Committee.
- OPDR will compile background materials for distribution to the Steering Committee and also make a Website for the project available to member of the Steering Committee and post electronic documents and resources presented as well as materials developed throughout the planning process.
- OPDR will meet in person with the project steering committee to review the work plan, sequence of activities and project schedule. At this meeting, the steering committee will also review, edit and comment on the draft CWPP community base map completed.
Phase 2: Risk Assessment identifying Coos County communities and infrastructure at risk of wildfire
- OPDR/Subcontractor will develop a community base map using the best available data and by drawing from the expertise of the Steering Committee and key partners. The base map will serve as a visual baseline identifying Coos County communities and infrastructure at risk for fire as well as the preliminary WUI zone.
- OPDR/Subcontractor will development a risk assessment that will allow the Steering Committee and community members to more effectively prioritize areas for treatment and identify the highest priority uses for available financial and human resources. The Risk Assessment will be evaluated in terms of Fuels Hazard, Risk of Wildfire Occurrence, Values at Risk, and Local Preparedness and Fire fighting Capability.
- OPDR/Subcontractor will establish Preliminary Community Hazard Reduction Priorities by working with the Steering Committee and other stakeholders to discuss the results of the Risk Assessment and the implications for local protection and hazard mitigation needs.
- The Subcontractor will write and deliver the risk assessment chapter of the Coos County CWPP, including maps, results, and process summary information to OPDR and Steering Committee for review and editing.
Phase 3: Community Engagement
- OPDR will conduct 15-20 stakeholder interviews. The interviews will be conducted by phone or face-to-face. Interview questions will be designed to address key issues, concerns, and current activities related to the CWPP objectives of collaboration, prioritization of fuel reduction treatments, and treatment of structural ignitability.
- OPDR will develop a mailed landowner survey to gain information on landowner perceptions of risk to wildfire and attitudes towards measures homeowners and communities can take to reduce the ignitability of structures. CSC will administer the survey by mail to, at minimum, 1,500 randomly selected landowners in Coos County.
- OPDR will develop and deliver three community forums for CWPP stakeholders in jurisdictions identified by the project steering committee. The meetings will bring together people representing a variety of interests to share information, discuss community issues, and provide input on goals and priorities.
Phase 4: Write, Complete, and Adopt the CWPP
- OPDR will prepare a draft Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The plan will provide background for the CWPP process including the county profiles, present the prioritized strategies and outline the process and procedure for implementing the plan.
- OPDR will present the draft Community Wildfire Protection Plan to the Steering Committee for review. Comments, questions and edits will be addressed during the plan review period.
- Based on the comments and edits received, OPDR will prepare and present a final CWPP to Coos County for adoption. In addition, OPDR will develop and distribute sample resolution language for Coos County to use in adopting the plan.
Steering Committee Materials
Kick-Off Meeting, September 2, 2010
Risk Assessment Meeting, October 7, 2010
Preliminary Project Prioritization Meeting, November 16, 2010
Public Engagment Steering Committee Meeting, January 27, 2011
Public Engagment Process:
- Survey: administered in Januray 2011 to 1500 residents in Coos County
- Stakeholder Interviews
- Public Forums
- We hope to present the final plan to the County Commission for adoption in early June!