National Fire Plan

Community Assistance Grants Program

NATIONAL FIRE PLAN

What documents comprise the National Fire Plan?

In response to the wildland fires of 2000, President Clinton requested, and the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture submitted, a September 8, 2000, report, Managing the Impact of Wildfires on Communities and the Environment, A Report to the President In Response to the Wildfires of 2000. This report, its accompanying budget request, Congressional direction for substantial new appropriations for wildland fire management, resulting action plans and agency strategies and the Western Governor’s Association’s A Collaborative Approach for Reducing Wildland Fire Risks to Communities and the Environment – A 10-Year Comprehensive Strategy – Implementation Plan have collectively become known as the National Fire Plan.

There are five key areas addressed under the National Fire Plan:

  • Firefighting and Preparedness
  • Rehabilitation and Restoration
  • Hazardous Fuels Reduction
  • Community Assistance
  • Accountability

For more information:

Managing the Impact of Wildfires on Communities and the Environment

What is the Wildland-Urban Interface?

An area within or adjacent to a community at risk that is identified in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan or any area for which a community wildfire protection pan is not in effect that is:

  • within ½ mile of a community at risk boundary
  • within 1 ½ miles of the community at risk boundary that has:
  • sustained steep slopes that may affect wildfire behavior;
    • has a geographic feature that aids in creating an effective fuel break; or
    • is in condition class 3 (for more information on condition class please visit the Fire Regime Condition Class website.
  • adjacent to evacuation route for a community at risk
  • Federal Register definitions no longer apply.

What is an At-Risk Community?

An at-risk community is a group of of homes and other structures with basic infrastructure and services within or adjacent to federal land who along with the residents are significantly threatened by a large scale wildland fire disturbance event.

What does it mean to collaborate?

Collaborating is defined not by the number of people working together, but by the representation on the group. At the local level, successful grants can include decision makers from federal, state and local governments, Tribes, community-based groups, landowners, and other interested parties. Collaboration is used to establish priorities, cooperate on activities, and increase public awareness and participation to reduce fire risk to communities and surrounding lands.

COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE GRANTS PROGRAM

How do I apply for a grant?

Applications for the Community Assistance Grant Program must be submitted, along with a map no larger than 2Mb, by email to:

NW_Fire_Plan_Grants@or.blm.gov by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 6th, 2009. Please visit the “How to Apply” page for more information. No faxed or mailed applications will be accepted.

Who is eligible to apply?

Counties, cities, federal, state and local government agencies, federally recognized Tribes, universities, colleges, and state-chartered non-profit organizations are all eligible to apply. Please note: No more than two proposals per county may be submitted. Proposals should be in a high-risk county, as identified in the statewide risk assessment. If two proposals are submitted, they must be prioritized by the county.

For more program detail information, please visit the Community Assistance page.

How much money is available in Fiscal Year 2010 for the grant program?

The exact dollar amount available each year varies, however agency administrators anticipate approximately $3 Million in fiscal year 2010. For more specific information, please see the Overview Table on the Community Assistance Background page.

Why aren’t planning project proposals being accepted this year?

The priority is to complete basic county-wide Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) in high fire risk counties. Currently, BLM is the only agency able to fund planning, and funding anticipated for Fiscal Year 2010 is very limited. The Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Oregon Department of Forestry have agreed to coordinate and administer the grants to provide seed money to develop county-wide CWPPs in counties that are at high risk for wildfire and that have BLM-administered lands within the county.

Why aren’t prevention/education project proposals being accepted this year?

Funding for prevention and education projects has been very limited and continues to decline as the overall funding for NFP grants is reduced. The federal agencies will collaborate with partners at the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Offices of the State Fire Marshal in both states to identify a prevention and education project or program for funding.

What is the timeline for the grants process?

For information on the Fiscal Year 2010 Grants Process Timeline, please see the Timeline Page.

When do I find out if my grant was selected?

For the Fiscal Year 2010 Grants Process, applicants will be notified by June 2009. For more information on the Timeline, please visit the Timeline Page.

How do I know if my grant was received?

You will receive a confirmation email when the application, along with a map no larger than 2Mb, is sent to NW_Fire_Plan_Grants@or.blm.gov by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 6th, 2009.

Can I send additional attachments with my application?

No additional information can be sent. However, the application must be submitted, along with a map no larger than 2Mb, by email to NW_Fire_Plan_Grants@or.blm.gov by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 6th, 2009.

How can I make a map of the project area and what should it include?

We have provided links to mapping tools for both Oregon and Washington to help in the creation of project specific maps. The map should support the application narrative and illustrate how the project meets the criteria of this grant program. We have also posted some examples of maps that have common elements that will be useful to include in the final project map.

How do I get in touch with the group that locally coordinates Community Wildfire Protection Plans in my area?

Contact your local federal land management agency or the county office.

How do I find out if a Community Wildfire Protection Plan has been written?

Contact your local federal land management agency, county office, or fire marshal. For more information on the CWPP’s in your area, please visit see the Grant Application Packet on the How to Apply Page.

Will you only fund projects that are a part of Community Wildfire Protection Plan?

Yes. These projects are more strategic in meeting National Fire Plan aims for communities and ecosystems.

How much money is awarded on average per grant?

Awards vary, but the maximum award amount in FY 2010 will be $200,000. Work with local agency representatives to develop a budget just as you do the rest of your proposal.

Are matching funds required?

Yes. Have collaborative match of at least 50 percent of the total project budget (may include in-kind).

What can be used as a match for the Grants?

Applicants must demonstrate that they have a collaborative match of at least 50 percent of the total project budget (may include in-kind). The in-kind can be from volunteer hours from individuals donating their time to help plan, administer, or implement the grant project. Other federal funds CAN NOT BE USED as part of the match.

If we have volunteers contributing to the project how can we estimate the value their participation?

We have provided links to some websites that help applicants calculate the value of volunteer hours for the purpose of budgeting and accounting for in-kind match.

If my project is not selected will I learn why?

Yes, you will be contacted by your state forestry organization by March 31st, 2009.

If selected, when will my project be funded?

Funding is dependent upon the passage of a congressional appropriations act for each fiscal year. This public law (Bill) can pass anywhere from 6-18 months after applications are received. Once the bill is passed, funding of grants will begin. The funding process can take up to an additional six months, but will occur by September 30th of the fiscal year for which the grant application is made, provided that any necessary environmental compliance requirements are met.

Does the project have to be completed in one year?

No, however, projects with timelines between one to two years score higher in the proposal evaluation process.

Do National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requirements have to be met before submitting a grant application?

No. Typically local federal agency representatives will help a grant applicant to meet these requirements. By working with your local representatives in the design of a project proposal you should be able to develop a project that will have no difficulty complying.