Frequently Asked Questions

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A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a community-based plan focused on identifying and addressing local hazards and risks from wildfire. CWPPs are authorized and defined in Title I of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA), passed by Congress in 2003.

A CWPP determines what is at risk and provides a roadmap of actions for a community to address the wildfire threat. A CWPP includes, at a minimum, the following 3 central components:

  • 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 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.

A CWPP is a community-level planning document, not a regulatory document or ordinance. Further, a CWPP is not a land use, growth management, or emergency evacuation plan.

Tuolumne County stakeholders are collaboratively developing a CWPP to realize the following overarching goals:

  • Enhance safety and preparedness for responders and the public
  • Create healthy and productive fire adapted communities
  • Restore and maintain healthy and fire resilient landscapes

The Tuolumne County CWPP aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Restore and maintain healthy, resilient landscapes in all ecotypes
  • Plan, prioritize, and coordinate fuels reduction treatment projects and funding sources to ensure smart investments based on risk and potential effectiveness
  • Identify and prioritize potential hazardous fuel reduction treatments, as well as types and methods of treatments (including maintenance and fire use)
  • Create collaborative partnerships for county-wide lands treatments (large scale)
  • Plan, fund, and implement wildland urban interface (WUI) fuel reduction treatments
  • Identify and communicate potential evacuation ingress/egress routes to responders and residents
  • Support and actively engage recognized Firewise Communities to reduce fire risk throughout their neighborhoods
  • Identify measures that homeowners, businesses, and communities can take to reduce the ignitability of structures
  • Reduce human-caused ignitions

The U.S. Forest Service defines a fire adapted community as “[a] knowledgeable and engaged community in which the awareness and actions of residents regarding infrastructure, buildings, landscaping, and the surrounding ecosystem lessens the need for extensive protection actions and enables the community to safely accept fire as a part of the surrounding landscape.”

Fire Adapted Community chart

According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, the wildland urban interface (WUI) is “the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. It is the line, area, or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels. Communities adjacent to and surrounded by wildland are at varying degrees of risk from wildfires.”

Forest resilience is a measure of adaptability. It focuses on retaining a forest’s essential structure and composition to a range of stresses or complex disturbances. In other words, a resilient forest may lose some trees to drought, fire or insect attack, but the mortality rate will not overtake the forest’s ability to continue growing trees and provide habitat. Some will die, but many will live.

There are numerous ways to become involved in the CWPP development process. You may:

  • To educate communities across Tuolumne County about current wildfire risks and steps that can be taken to reduce those risks
  • To build community capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from major wildfire events
  • To create a “culture of resiliency” in our community
  • To build, strengthen and sustain a diverse range of partnerships and collaborations
  • To inform future policies and ordinances for consideration by Tuolumne County and other local agencies and stakeholder groups as appropriate
  • To take action to implement wildfire risk mitigation projects individually or collectively as appropriate
  • To apply for grants and other funding sources to implement wildfire risk mitigation projects
  • The Draft CWPP will be developed using updated modeling and mapping of current wildfire risk as well as community input. Community input will be gathered through stakeholder and general public workshops, as well as comments received by the Tuolumne Fire Safe Council.
  • The Draft CWPP will then be reviewed by the public, and agreed to by Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, Tuolumne Fire Safe Council and CAL FIRE.
  • The Final CWPP will then be used to mitigate wildfire risk and improve safety through community projects, policies, and funding programs.

The CWPP is intended to be a “living” document. Information updates will be made every 2-3 years. It is standard practice to revise and update the full CWPP document approximately every 10 years.

Fire Hazard Severity Zones (FHSZ) are geographical areas designated by CAL FIRE pursuant to the California Public Resources Code and are classified as Very High, High, or Moderate. As of July 2023, FHSZ maps were being updated by CAL FIRE. To determine if you are in a state mapped FHSZ, see the CAL FIRE FHSZ Viewer.

For more information on Fire Hazard Severity Zones see the CAL FIRE FHSZ page.

Not directly. The CWPP will assess wildfire hazards and risk, and better prepare communities and homeowners for potential wildfire events. Please contact your insurance provider for information about your rates.