Community Wildfire Protection Plan

The City of Santa Rosa Fire Department is in the process of developing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) for the City Wildland Urban Interface areas. A CWPP is a community-based plan focused on identifying and addressing local hazards and risks from wildfire. It determines what is at risk and provides a road map of actions for a community to address the wildfire threat. It may also open up federal funding opportunities to implement the plan. CWPP’s are authorized and defined in Title I of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA), passed by Congress in 2003 

Santa Rosa's development of a CWPP is funded through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant, and Geo Elements LLC has been hired as a consultant to help the City complete the Plan.

Community Meetings 

Check back soon! Community meetings are being scheduled to gather residents' input on the plan. Dates and times will be published shortly.

CWPP Handbook & Supplemental Guide 

The following resources will help with understanding what a CWPP is and how a community should go about creating one.

Preparing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan - A Handbook for Wildland–Urban Interface Communities (MARCH 2004): This Handbook is intended to provide communities with a concise, step-by-step guide to use in developing a CWPP. It addresses, in a straightforward manner, issues such as who to involve in developing a plan, how to convene other interested parties, what elements to consider in assessing community risks and priorities, and how to develop a mitigation or protection plan to address those risks.

COMMUNITY GUIDE to Preparing and Implementing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (AUGUST 2008): This Guide is a supplement tot the above HANDBOOK and identifies a number of lessons learned and additional information and advice on specific areas. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)?

  • A CWPP is a community-based plan focused on identifying and addressing local hazards and risks from wildfire. A CWPP determines what is at risk and provides a roadmap of actions for a community to address the wildfire threat.
  • A CWPP may open up federal funding opportunities to implement the plan.
  • CWPP’s are authorized and defined in Title I of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA), passed by Congress in 2003 (https://www.fs.fed.us/projects/hfi/field-guide/web/page07.php).

What is required in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)?

A CWPP can vary in scope, scale, and detail, but must meet three minimum requirements for their contents and adoption per the Healthy Forest Restoration Act and the State of California. These requirements include:

  • Collaboration - A CWPP must be collaboratively developed. Local and state officials must meaningfully involve nongovernmental stakeholders and federal agencies that manage land in the vicinity of the community.
  • Prioritized Fuel Reduction - A CWPP must identify and prioritize areas for hazardous fuel-reduction treatments on both federal and nonfederal land and recommend the types and methods of treatment that, if completed, would reduce the risk to the community.
  • Treatment of Structural Ignitability - A CWPP must recommend measures that homeowners and communities can take to reduce the ignitability of structures throughout the plan area.

What area of the City will the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) cover?

The CWPP will address the City of Santa Rosa Wildland Urban Interface areas as identified by the Fire Department in 2009. A map of the WUI area can be found at  https://srcity.org/DocumentCenter/View/4775/Wildland-Urban-Interface-Fire-Area-Map-PDF?bidId= .

Because wildfire is not specific to jurisdictional boundaries, the CWPP hazard and risk analyses area will include a 2 mile buffer around the City Wildland Urban Interface area to evaluate its impact on the City.

Actions identified within the CWPP may include collaborative projects with Sonoma County and the City of Santa Rosa. However, as a local plan most actions will be focused on the City Wildland Urban Interface areas.

How is the development of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) being funded?

In June 2018 the City of Santa Rosa Fire Department received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Hazard Mitigation Grant to update the 2016 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP). The CWPP will be added as a Wildfire Annex to the 2016 LHMP.

What are some advantages of having a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)?

  • It assesses the wildfire hazard and risk to a community.
  • It helps communities identify values/assets and how to enhance protection to those assets in case of a wildfire.  Assets at risk are unique to each community and can include homes, roads, other structures and infrastructure, wildlife habitat, or even the view.
  • It provides the opportunity for the community to identify their local wildfire hazard mitigation priorities and actions within the Wildland Urban Interface.
  • The CWPP process has proven effective at building and strengthening relationships in communities and organizations, strengthening relationships among agencies and providing visibility for organizations and individuals.
  • Producing viable action times that result in the creation of other projects. e.g. a project identified in the CWPP might involve clearing of vegetation along major evacuation routes.  This may result in a neighborhood recognizing their need to clear their roadways to provide evacuation safety.  
  • The CWPP will guide the City in prioritizing projects and where the City can take action to reduce the wildfire threat in ways that are reasonable and acceptable to the community’s way of life. 
  • Actions based on your community’s wildfire hazard and risk analyses reduce the wildfire threat to human life, homes, neighborhoods, businesses, and other community assets.
  • An important outcome of the CWPP process is building effective working relationships between agencies and the stakeholders.
  • Fuel-reduction projects identified in a CWPP are eligible to receive priority for funding and implementation by federal agencies.
  • Fuel hazard reduction projects identified in a CWPP that require California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance can be expedited.
  • A CWPP can identify community-level projects, e.g.: clearing vegetation from major evacuation routes; creating community chipping programs; or developing plans for fuel hazard reduction treatments around a community.
  • A CWPP requires actions to be identified that reduce the structural ignitability of buildings to survive a wildfire.

How will the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) address existing City policies and build on other City of Santa Rosa Plans?

The CWPP will be consistent with the objectives and policies set forth in the City of Santa Rosa’s General Plan and other related Plans.  In addition, it will build upon and be included as a “Wildfire Annex” to the 2016 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.

How does the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) address California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)?

The CWPP itself is not a project under California Environmental Quality Act.  It is merely a guidance document and does not make decisions for City actions.  Instead, the CWPP will serve to guide the preparation of specific action decisions in an Implementation Plan(s). 

How does the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) address environmental conservation measures?

The CWPP addresses environmental conservation measures at a programmatic level and builds on policies in the City of Santa Rosa General and related Plans.  The CWPP is a guidance document and therefore does not address site specific fuel treatments and related impacts.

How will the actions identified in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) be implemented?

Following City Council approval of the CWPP, City staff may proceed with preparing Implementation Plans.  The Implementation Plans should identify the specific actions and steps needed to implement those actions.  Any actions that require site specific treatments to address wildfire hazard in City-owned lands may require environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act and permitting.