St. Louis County has successfully completed an update to its Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The county’s previous plan was created in 2008. By updating it now, St. Louis County will be better positioned to apply for federal grants to assist individuals and communities with wildfire mitigation efforts. The St. Louis County Board approved and adopted the updated plan on September 28, following nearly two years of work.
The plan development and planning process included collaboration with stakeholders including all area fire departments. Execution by involved parties is required for the adoption of the plan. The updating of the plan was commissioned through the County’s Emergency Management Department with responsibilities to provide Firewise coordination.
The St. Louis County CWPP has two objectives. First, it identifies and prioritizes wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas within St. Louis County (including State, County, Federal and other lands) for hazardous fuels reduction treatments and recommends methods for achieving hazardous fuels reductions. WUI areas are portions of the landscape as identified by the St. Louis County CWPP where wildland fuels such as trees, brush and other vegetative materials threaten to ignite combustible homes and structures. Second, the plan outlines measures for reducing fire danger to structures throughout St. Louis County at-risk communities.
“The last time the county updated its plan was in 2008, so it was good to identify new areas of potential concern and work with partners on how to lessen the risk,” said Dewey Johnson, Emergency Management Coordinator with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office. “We’re never going to eliminate wildfires, but this plan will help us mitigate the damage they cause.”
St. Louis County contracted with Dovetail Partners to coordinate the plan update, which included assessment of risk and inventorying of resources. The plan lays out priority areas in the county that will guide the strategic funding of wildfire preparedness, prevention, and mitigation efforts.
“Having an up-to-date plan helps ensure the County and its many partners are aware of the risks and potential impacts of wildfire in this region. As we work together, this document can inform and help us prioritize and identify actions we can take to help our communities be more wildfire resilient,” said Gloria Erickson, a resident of Ely and the contracted St. Louis County Firewise coordinator.
The plan was approved by the St. Louis County Board of Commissioners on September 28, 2021 through Resolution No. 21-540. The plan is available at the Emergency Management website, including a direct link to download the plan.