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Chaffee County, Colorado
mission and introduction

Mission Statement

The mission of the Chaffee County Community Wildfire Protection Plan is to identify wildfire hazards, prioritize hazards to public safety and community values, and develop objectives and activities to reduce wildfire risk in the highest priority areas.


“(B) PRIORITY.—In allocating funding under this paragraph, the Secretary should, to the maximum extent practicable, give priority to communities that have adopted a community wildfire protection plan or have taken proactive measures to encourage willing property owners to reduce fire risk on private property.”[emphasis added]
— Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003

The word “proactive” has twice been banished from the English language for “mis-use, over-use, or general uselessness.” (1991 and 1993, Lake Superior State University.)  However, Chaffee County probably merits the word’s return from exile for the measures taken since the early 1990’s to reduce wildfire risk.  Considering the county’s fairly minimal history of wildfire occurrence and severity, our efforts have been substantial: subdivision pre-attack wildfire plans, public awareness campaigns including FireWise materials, hazard fuel reduction, slash collection and grinding.  We have not waited until after the big fire to reduce fire risk.

Regardless, Chaffee County will not receive priority or funding based on a history of “proactive measures.”  Recent federal and state legislation, as well as administrative implementation, are requiring a plan.  As example, the 2009 Colorado Wildland Urban Interface grant instructions state:  “Application must be supported in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan that meets Healthy Forest Restoration Act minimum standards.” 

“(3) COMMUNITY WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN.—The term ‘‘community wildfire protection plan’’ means a plan for an at-risk community that—

“(A) is developed within the context of the collaborative agreements and the guidance established by the Wildland Fire Leadership Council and agreed to by the applicable local government, local fire department, and State agency responsible for forest management, in consultation with interested parties and the Federal land management agencies managing land in the vicinity of the at-risk community;

“(B) identifies and prioritizes areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments and recommends the types and methods of treatment on Federal and non-Federal land that will protect 1 or more at-risk communities and essential infrastructure; and

“(C) recommends measures to reduce structural ignitability throughout the at-risk community.”

— Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003