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Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP)
Every wildland fire season, somewhere in the country, the continent or the planet, a community seems to experience a catastrophic wildland fire event which threatens lives and consumes homes and other buildings.
Under the right weather and forest fuel moisture conditions the forests of the NWT can support high-intensity wildland fires that are virtually unstoppable. These fires are often naturally occurring, but human caused fires can be just as severe. They have the potential to spread quickly over great distances and to place people and community infrastructure at risk.
Reconciling the role of fire as a natural part of the Boreal Forest ecosystem and an essential component of the health, productivity, and diversity of its forests with the need to protect people, property, and forest values presents a complex challenge. This is further complicated by climate change that may lead to an increase in the number and severity of wildland fires as well as a lengthening of the fire season over the next century. The need to mitigate the risk from wildfire to NWT communities and infrastructure, most of which are located in a forest environment, increases the need to address these challenges.
Environment and Natural Resources is working with communities in the NWT to develop and implement Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP). These plans are designed to identify and reduce wildland fire risk in communities. CWPP’s are becoming a national standard for agencies and communities responsible for wildland fire management. The process is recognized as a crucial first step in better preparing homeowners and communities to reduce the risk of loss.
A CWPP assesses wildland/urban interface hazard and risk and makes recommendations to lessen wildfire threat using the seven disciplines of FireSmart in the wildland/urban interface:
- Vegetation management
- Public education and communications
- Inter-agency cooperation
- Emergency planning
Completed CWPPs help communities to:
- make sound decisions on which areas are most critical to address;
- develop funding applications to assist in the implementation of recommendations;
- and, work with private landowners/homeowners to take responsibility and address their own exposure to risk.