KRWG

January Public Meeting: Grant County Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Dec 10, 2019

In October 2006, Grant County released their first countywide Community Wildfire Protection Plan, known as a CWPP. A CWPP is a plan designed to identify and mitigate wildfire hazards to communities and infrastructure in the area where homes and businesses meet the natural landscape; the area called the wildland-urban interface or WUI. The CWPP makes recommendations for hazardous fuels reduction, public outreach and education, structural ignitability reduction and fire response capabilities. The 2006 CWPP has been updated two times since its inception, and the County in collaboration with municipal, state and federal land management agencies are again revising the CWPP to make sure the plan is current and best serves the communities it is designed to protect.

A CWPP is designed to assist the County in ensuring that a future catastrophic wildfire is avoided or mitigated by assessing areas at risk and recommending measures to decrease that risk. Since 2006, Grant County has been hugely successful in implementing many wildfire mitigation actions throughout the County including, many thousands of acres of hazardous fuel treatment projects on public and private lands; public outreach and education campaigns that focus on wildfire prevention and the importance of defensible space;  generation of funds and resources for the many volunteer fire departments in the County; and, better preparing communities that are at high to extreme risk of wildfire by utilizing the Firewise Community concept.  Much of this work has been achieved through the establishment of collaborative groups of municipal, county, state and federal agencies, who work with communities and across ownership boundaries to develop landscape level wildfire mitigation solutions.  This CWPP effort builds upon that long history of collaboration.

Now it is time to review, revise and refocus previously proposed implementation measures to ensure that the 2020 CWPP remains active and effective. The County is inviting the public to share their ideas and concerns regarding wildfire in their community during an open-house public meeting scheduled for Tuesday January 7th from 6:00pm-8:00pm. The meeting will be held at the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center, in Silver City.  The public are invited to review CWPP planning materials and share with planning team representatives the areas where they would like to see efforts focused to reduce wildfire threat.  Following the meeting, the multi-jurisdictional group- including Grant County Planning and Fire Management representatives, members of the Grant County Rural Volunteer Fire Departments, members of the municipal fire departments, Gila National Forest, NM State Forestry Division, BLM, NM State Land Office, The Nature Conservancy and other interested parties - will be working together to review the original CWPP and make revisions to ensure the CWPP is applicable to the communities it is designed to serve; the ultimate goal is that all recommended projects are designed to greatly reduce wildfire risk to residents and ensure that the Grant County community can live safely in this fire prone environment.

In addition to the public meetings, the County will be reaching out to the public to review a revised draft of the CWPP in late February 2020. The public are also invited to provide input via a Facebook page established for the project https://www.facebook.com/GrantCountyCWPP/ .

The 2020 CWPP will be a guiding document for Grant County Fire and Emergency Managers, as well as agencies who manage lands within the County boundary. The CWPP is designed to serve County residents and as such we encourage your interest and engagement in the process. For more information please contact Grant County Fire Management Officer- Randy Villa at rvilla@grantcountynm.gov or 575-574-0035, or Project Manager Victoria Amato at vamato@swca.com.