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programs that seek to reduce the risk of loss of life and property through
the reduction of hazardous fuels on private lands.
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City of Cascade Locks, Oregon -- CWPP
Community planning and CWPP's|
Cascade Locks, Oregon -- CWPP
The Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) for the City of Cascade Locks was prepared through a Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, Title III Grant from Hood River County. The plan was developed in accordance with the requirements of National Fire Plan and the Healthy Forest Resotation Act of 2003. The purpose of the plan is to assist residents, property owners and city officials in the planning area to be prepared for a potential wildfire event. The plan identifies high risk areas and individual parcels that are most vulnerable to wildfire. It also offers strategies and methods for reducing wildfire risk in these areas. A copy of the CWPP plan is posted on the web site:
The City of Cascade Locks experienced a wildfire event in 2003 when a tree fell on a power line at the east end of town. The fire traveled more than a mile burning approximately 300 acres along I-84 and threatening the downtown district. Two homes were destroyed and many were threatened. Community leaders recognize that the potential for new wildfires continues to exist and are addressing the problem through the CWPP.
City of Cascade Locks followed the planning procedure outlined in the handbook, Preparing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The following steps were followed:
Step One: Convene Decisionmakers
These included representatives of the following: City of Cascade Locks, Hood River County, Oregon Department of Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Cascade Locks Fire Department, Hood River County Fire Chief's Association, Port of Cascade Locks and interested citizens.
Step Two: Establish Planning Area Boundary and Planning Goals
The planning area was established as the City of Cascade Locks and its Urban Growth Boundary. Goals included: dessimination of information on preparing one's home for a wildfire event, identifying high risk areas, developing a strategy to reduce wildfire hazard risk, making the community more competitive for grant assistance for fuel reduction projects, and involving the community in the planning process.
Establish a Community Base Map
The base map was developed using the GIS system developed by Hood River County. The base map was used to delineate low, medium and high risk areas. A slope map was also developed.
The Hazard Assessment was done by area and for individual homesites. Hazardous fuel type and amount, proximity to risk factors and percent slope were the primary critera used. Low, medium and high hazard ratings were assigned. Local fire fighting capabilities and preparedness were also analyzed.
Step Five: Establish Community Priorities and Recommendations
Fuel reduction projects were selected based on: likelihood for acceptance by property owners, best chance for successful implementation, the best cost/benefit ratio, and the likelihood of securing funding for implementation.
Step Six: Communicate Wildland Protection Plan Information to Property Owners
Information on the plan was disseminated using newletters, public meetings, TV spots, and handouts.
Some of the Action Items developed in the plan include:
- Establish a city-wide Wildfire Protection Council. The Council will provide leadership in the implementation of CWPP projects.
- Community-wide Wildfire Awareness Week. Organize an annual week devoted to bringing the message of defensible space and wildfire preparedness into neighborhoods.
- Establish a Brush Disposal Site. Material will be either chipped and bagged for mulch, or burned on site.
Other Action Items are: develop a defensible space demonstration project, work with insurance representatives for incentives to homeowners to create defensible space and replace flammable construction materials, produce videos to be aired on the locally owned television network on protecting one's home from wildfire, assist the elderly and needy with fuels reduction, reduce fire hazards relating to the railroad, dispose of standing fire-killed trees and brush , improve road access for fire-fighting equipment and escape routes, and consider new ordinances for fire resistant roofing materials and defensible space.
Monitoring and Evaluation
As the fuel reduction projects are implemented, the Community Base Map will be revised to show the reduction of fire hazard risk. The Wildfire Protection Council will meet regularly to monitor progress.
Two fuels reduction grants were applied for in 2006 for the community of Cascade Locks. The CWPP author Jim Hulbert applied for the City and ODF also applied. The City was awarded a grant of approximately $150,000 for fuels treatment work primarily focused on defensible space on the smaller lots located within the Urban Growth Boundary. ODF was additionally awarded $233,000 for fuels treatment work, however ODF will apply their grant dollars to larger lots in an effort to create a larger landscape approach to fuels treatment and thinning for forest health.
Both these projects are ongoing and being well received by the citizens of Cascade Locks.
For more information you can contact David Jacobs, ODF at 541/296-4626 or by email at DJacobs@odf.state.or.us, or Jim Hulbert, CWPP author, at 509/493-3863.