Planning District Commission assists with Wildfire Protection Plan
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Rebecca Joyce, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission’s Senior Planner, worked closely with fire rescue officials and the CWPP steering committee, which was made up of government officials, concerned citizens, and forestry representatives, to create the plan. The Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) of 2003 gave local communities through the creation of Community Wildfire Protection Plans their first opportunities to have influence over what is done on adjoining federal forested land as well as to prioritize local goals and needs for the wildland areas in their communities. Community Wildfire Protection Plans may address issues the community feels are needed such as wildfire response, hazard mitigation, community preparedness, or structure protection.
The Augusta County CWPP is a proactive planning step towards reducing loss of life among residents and first responders and mitigating property damage and resource depletion in the event of wildfires. Having a CWPP gives Augusta County a solid strategy for assisting communities in decreasing wildfire vulnerability. With an emphasis on communications and education that empowers residents to prepare and keep themselves and their homes safe, the plan also stresses collaboration, prioritizing fuel usage, and reduction of structural ignitability as key ways to prepare for wildfire events.
Chief Carson Holloway of the Augusta County Fire-Rescue recently commented on the plan: “The CWPP team has worked diligently to put this plan together and their efforts are greatly appreciated. Their efforts along with other players have produced a quality product that will allow us to provide advice, as well as direction to our citizens on community safety in these wildfire areas. This document provides us a significant tool for prevention.”