|Table of Contents
Back | Next | Cover Page
Forests Initiative and Healthy Forests Restoration Act
Interim Field Guide
The HFRA provides expedited NEPA procedures for authorized fuel-reduction projects on NFS and BLM lands in the WUIs of at-risk communities. Under HFRA Section 101(1), an at-risk community is one that:
The HFRA is intended to build on work carrying out fuel treatments in and around communities under the National Fire Plan (http://www.fireplan.gov) and A Collaborative Approach for Reducing Wildland Fire Risks to Communities and the Environment: 10-Year Comprehensive Strategy Implementation Plan (May 2002, http://www.fireplan.gov/reports/11-23-en.pdf).
The HFRA encourages the development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans (figure 18). Section 101(3) describes a Community Wildlfire Protection Plan as one that:
For at-risk communities that have not yet designated their WUIs as part of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, the HFRA has a default definition of WUI (Section 101(16)(B (ii)). It is an are:
The HFRA directs the USDA Forest Service and DOI BLM, in accordance with A Collaborative Approach for Reducing Wildland Fire Risks to Communities and the Environment: 10-Year Comprehensive Strategy Implementation Plan (May 2002), to “develop an annual program of work for Federal land that gives priority to authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects that provide for protecting at-risk communities or watersheds or that implement Community Wildfire Protection Plans” (Section 103(a)). The USDA Forest Service and DOI BLM will consider recommendations made in such plans (Section 103(b)(1)).
Additionally, Section 103(d)(2) requires that when providing financial assistance for authorized hazardous-fuel-reduction projects on non-Federal land, Federal agencies will consider recommendations made by at-risk communities that have developed Community Wildland Fire Protection Plans and give priority in allocating funding to communities that have adopted such plans or that have taken measures to encourage willing property owners to reduce fire risk on private property.
Federal involvement in planning and developing Community Wildfire Protection Plans under Section 103(b) is exempt from the Federal Advisory Committee Act and NEPA. Except as otherwise provided in Section 104 of the HFRA, NEPA requirements continue to apply when Federal actions are implemented in the WUI and elsewhere.
Communities may identify themselves as at risk based on an analysis following the National Association of State Foresters Field Guidance on Identifying and Prioritizing Communities At Risk (June 27, 2003), or during development of their Community Wildfire Protection Plans. The State Foresters’ guide and the Federal Register notice with the current list of at-risk communities are available at: http://www.fireplan.gov/reports/351-358-en.pdf.
As communities identify themselves as at risk and approach Federal agencies to work collaboratively, joint development of plans and projects will ensure that investments in hazardous-fuel reduction are the most economical and effective ways to reduce risk (see the Interagency Memorandum of Understanding for Fuel Treatment Collaboration at: http://www.fireplan.gov/).
|Print this pub|