Fire Adapted Nevada Partnership

The Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)

In 2003, Congress passed the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA), which acknowledges communities as key stakeholders in wildfire mitigation and prevention. The HFRA recognizes the need for collaboration between emergency management and land management agencies and the communities they serve. The development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) highlights the importance of cooperative approaches to wildfire prevention and mitigation.  

The goal of a CWPP is to define and identify a community’s priorities for the protection of life, property, shared assets, and infrastructure in the event of a wildfire. Moreover, CWPPs allow communities to influence were and how to implement fuel reduction and other wildfire prevention and mitigation strategies.

A resident of Galena Country Estates attends a presentation by Kelli Nevills, who is standing in the background.Kelli Nevills presents during a Firewise USA® meeting, organized by the Galena Country Estates HOA, in Reno. Photo: Cynara M. Medina


What is a CWPP?

A CWPP is a plan that communities create collaboratively with local and state fire protection and land management agencies. Its intent is to reduce the risk of wildfires, enhance local ecosystem health, protect vital infrastructure, and increase the safety of residents and first responders in the event of a wildfire. CWPPs identify and prioritize areas for hazardous fuel reduction and recommend the types and methods of treatment to be used.

CWPPs are very flexible, as they’re meant to reflect a community’s needs and priorities; typically, they address issues such as wildfire response, hazard mitigation, community preparedness and education, and structure protection.


Why should your community create a CWPP?

There are several compelling reasons for developing a CWPP, including the following:

  • Understand wildfire risks to the community.
  • Establish a locally appropriate definition and boundary for the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).
  • Plan wildfire mitigation and preparedness actions to reduce wildfire risk.
  • Foster collaboration between the community and local, state, and federal agencies and other stakeholders, before, during, and after wildfires.
  • Apply for federal and/or state funding to implement wildfire prevention and mitigation projects.
  • Identify priority areas for fuels reduction projects.
  • Develop community risk assessments that firefighters can use for pre-planning.
  • Educate community members about wildfire prevention.
  • Improve wildfire resilience across the community.

Who should be involved in the development of a CWPP?

According to the HFRA, a CWPP must be developed through collaboration between the community and local and state government representatives, in consultation with federal agencies. Other stakeholders should be involved as well, such as:

  • Agencies in charge of wildlife protection, at the state and/or federal level, to identify locally significant habitats.
  • Homeowners’ associations.
  • Local organizations, including chambers of commerce, watershed councils, environmental protection groups, recreation organizations, land trusts, historical societies, etc.
  • Entities that manage utilities and infrastructure, such as powerlines, water distribution, cell towers, and other public services.
  • Department of Transportation, to identify key escape corridors and routes.

Not all stakeholders will have the same level of involvement. In fact, the HFRA’s only requirement is that the local government (e.g., county or city), the fire department or protection district, and the state forestry agency must sign off on the plan. Therefore, it is very important to involve these entities early.  Nevertheless, reaching out to other stakeholders in the area can prevent potential delays, misunderstandings, and restrictions.

Local ownership of the plan contributes to its legitimacy and improves the chances of successful implementation on a community-wide basis.

Fire fighters from the Nevada Division of Forestry help out during a community clean up day at the Genoa Town Park. Two of them are actively cutting branches with a rope chain saw, while two more serve as spottersNevada Division of Forestry Crew helps out at a community clean up event in Genoa. Photo: Kelli Nevills.


What information does a CWPP include?

The HFRA sets minimum content requirements for a CWPP: (1) Plans must reflect a collaboration between the community, local government, fire department(s), and state forestry agency; (2) plans must identify and prioritize areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments and recommend the most suitable methods of treatment, and (3) the CWPP must recommend measures that homeowners and communities can take to reduce the ignitability of structures throughout the covered area. The information can be organized as follows:

Section Content
Executive Summary Brief description of the entire plan. Identify the community, the participating stakeholders (e.g., fire protection district, etc.), discuss goals and objectives, notable fire risks and hazards, protection capabilities, and proposed action plan. The executive summary should not exceed two pages.

Background and history:

  • History of fire occurrences/community impacts
  • Activities for community protection undertaken in the past (if any).
  • Optional: discuss the HFRA as providing the legislative authority for the creation of CWPPs

Community Description

  • Location, population, housing, notable public infrastructure (e.g., community center, clubhouse, etc.), transportation, access routes, public utilities, boundaries, and protection capabilities.
Goals and Objectives
Planning ProcessDescription of partners ad committees

Collaboration and Community Outreach

  • Description of meetings and community outreach activities (e.g., public meetings, surveys, focus groups, newsletters, etc.). Include appropriate documentation (e.g., minutes, sign-in sheets, survey instruments, etc.) as an appendix.
Review of existing community studies and reports (if available)
Community Profile
  • Population, demographics, and socio-economic data
  • Housing and development trends
  • Transportation, infrastructure, land use history
  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Topography
  • Climate and weather conditions
  • Boundaries
  • Wildland Urban Interface boundaries
  • Maps, charts, tables, diagrams, photographs, and/or illustrations should accompany the narrative

Wildfire Risk Assessment

(Include maps, charts, tables, illustrations, and/or photographs within the narrative)

Fire hazards and risks

  • Vegetation and slope
  • Fire history (frequency, major fires, causes, etc.)
  • Seasonal weather patterns affecting fire behavior

Protection capabilities

  • Infrastructure,
  • road systems,
  • hydrants,
  • firefighter availability.

Structural Vulnerability

  • Roof type,
  • access,
  • defensible space

Values at-risk

  • Residential density (number of lives potentially at risk)
  • Economic values (business, industry)
  • Ecological values (biodiversity, habitat, endemic plant and animal species, soil, air, water quality, and ecosystem health)
  • Social values (home, property, view, pets, livestock, livelihood, schools, etc.)
  • Cultural and historic values (historic buildings and landmarks, archeological and cultural sites, places of worship, etc.)
Emergency Management

Protection Capabilities and Infrastructure

  • Fire district capabilities
  • Inventory of fire protection resources
  • Wildland suppression procedures
  • Training resources and needs
  • Mutual aid agreements
  • Evacuation, telephone trees, emergency contacts, community information database
  • Needs and recommendations
Mitigation Action PlanCurrent projects and policies (e.g., ordinances, plans, etc.)

Fuels Reduction

  • Priority areas
  • Current activities
  • Educational materials
  • Recommended actions
  • Community partners performing fuels reduction

Maps, charts, tables, illustrations and/or photographs should accompany narrative.

Biomass Utilization and Economic Development

  • Current activities
  • Educational materials
  • Recommended actions
  • Community partners
Monitoring and Evaluation


  • Timeline for project implementation
  • Interagency collaboration, cooperative agreements, and public/private partnerships
  • Funding sources for implementation
  • Measures to sustain activity and public involvement


  • Monitoring responsibilities (who does what, when, and where)
  • Description and timeline of benchmarks and how they are met.
  • Annual reports


  • Lessons learned
  • Progress measurement using benchmarks and indicators
  • Revisions and updates to plan with new information and needs
  • Public meetings minutes and/or notes
  • Sign in sheets for meetings
  • Agreements and partnership documentation
  • Educational and outreach materials utilized
  • Bibliography



Additional CWPP Learning Resources:

Highlighted Projects

Western Region
Spooner Landscape Resilience Project
The Spooner Landscape Resilience Project is a 300-acre environmental improvement initiative, spearheaded by the Nevada Tahoe Resource Team and the Nevada Division of Forestry.
Read more
Western Region
Lot X Fuels Reduction and Forest Restoration Project
The Lot X Fuels Reduction and Forest Reforestation Project was funded through a US Forest Service Hazardous Fuels Grant, to improve forest and riparian health in Lot X...
Read more
Northern Region
Ruby Lake Estates Project
In partnership with the United States Forest Service, Conservation Crews from Wells and Carlin began work on the Ruby Lake Estates project in October of 2020. Located on the Southeast side of the Ruby Mountains...
Read more