On July 26, 2022, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack formally announced the new $1 billion Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) program. This new, five-year, competitive program funded by President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is designed to assist at-risk communities, including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies and Alaska Native corporations with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks. Your community may be eligible to apply for funds! These funds are available for the next 5 years with an annual application process.
The first round of applications are due on October 7, 2022. The next round will be in Spring/Summer 2023.
Higher priority is given to communities with low-income, recently impacted by a disaster, or in a wildfire hazard location. Projects must be based on an up-to-date local Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). This is a document written by the state forest service, fire department personnel, and partners identifying community risk (based on fire district) and ways to mitigate risk. The actions listed in the CWPP have to be less than 10 years old to be eligible for funding. Projects can also be referenced as recommended action items in a regional hazard mitigation plans approved by FEMA such as the Buncombe-Madison Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Additional CWDG Resources:
CWDG Primer - A guide developed and updated by the Fire Adapted Communities Network (FACNET). There you’ll find application deadlines, helpful flowcharts, resource links for data to back up your application, and more.
Wildland Fire Learning Portal Information Webinars - The southern states webinar took place August 9, 2022 but they were recorded and should be posted online soon. In the meantime, you can create an account on the portal and receive notifications for future informational webinars.
To apply, you must have a registered account with SAM.gov. This is free but may take up to a week to verify.
Local Community Wildfire Protection Plans - CWPPs gathered from NC Forest Service staff for fire districts in the following counties: Madison, Buncombe, McDowell, Henderson, Rutherford, Transylvania, and Polk. *Some of the CWPPs in our region are out of date (10 years) or about to expire.
Mountain Valleys is here to support you and talk ideas with your community if you’re interested in applying. Established Firewise USA-recognized communities with active committees are encouraged to apply. Email email@example.com for support.