Protecting Your Community

The Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment

The Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment found 118,083 communities at risk of wildfire damage in the South. Of those communities, 43 percent, or more than 50,000 communities, are at high to very high risk.

The Assessment provides the South with the ability to plan for fire protection and to prepare and respond to wildfires as they occur by:

  1. identifying areas most likely to have wildfires,
  2. identifying communities most susceptible to wildfire damage,
  3. prioritizing fuel reduction treatment programs,
  4. helping agencies work together to improve emergency response across jurisdictions, and
  5. helping prioritize and illustrate the need for Community Wildfire Protection Plans.


Community Wildfire Protection Plans

Since the establishment of the National Fire Plan in 2001, and the passage of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act in 2003, hundreds of communities across the United States have developed community fire plans, engaged in Firewise activities, and taken action at a community level to reduce their risk to wildfire. However, thousands more remain at risk to wildfire. One of the best strategies for reducing risk is the development of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).

A CWPP is unique in that it empowers communities to share the responsibility of determining the best strategies for protecting a community and allows communities to make informed choices to decrease the hazards around them.

The Community Guide to Preparing and Implementing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, August 2008 (PDF, 3.4 MB) provides communities with a framework for developing a wildfire protection plan.


The national Firewise Communities program is a multi-agency effort that involves homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, and others in the effort to protect people, property, and natural resources from the risk of wildland fire.

Visit the national Firewise website to learn more about how to reduce the risk from wildfire for your community and your home. To conduct a Firewise risk assessment for your home or community, please contact your state forestry agency.

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