Community Wildland Fire Protection Plans (CWPP) assess wildland/urban interface hazard and risk and make recommendations to lessen the threat and impact from wildland fire.
The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) works with communities in the Northwest Territories (NWT) to develop and implement Community Wildland Fire Protection Plans (CWPP). Currently, every NWT community potentially at risk from wildland fire has a CWPP in place. These plans are designed to identify and reduce wildland fire risk in communities.
CWPPs 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.
Every wildland fire season, somewhere in the world, a community experiences 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. Whether naturally occurring (as is most often the case) or human-caused, the fires have the potential to spread quickly over great distances and to place people and community infrastructure at risk.
Fire plays a role as a natural part of the Boreal Forest ecosystem and is an essential component of forest health, productivity and diversity. Balancing this natural role of fire 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.
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
- work with private landowners/homeowners to take responsibility and address their own exposure to risk