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Community Mitigation Assistance Team

"During a fire, more people take an interest in playing some role. A CMAT can help focus that energy in the right direction and empower people to take individual respnsibility to mitigate." 

Ryan Anderson, Executive Director, WA Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network

“Wildfires are teachable moments. The local community is focused and paying attention in a way that no ad campaign can duplicate.“


Jim Gumm, District Ranger, U.S. Forest Service

National Community Mitigation Assistance Teams (CMAT) are designed to help communities build sustainable local capacity for wildfire mitigation during high risk times before, during, or after a wildfire when awareness of the need for risk reduction and the likelihood of action is highest. The Team integrates community fire adaptation best practices and resilient landscapes concepts outlined in the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.

 

 

What Community Mitigation Assistance Teams Do

  • During incidents: CMATs work closely with Incident Management Teams, the Forest Service or other land management agencies and community residents and leaders to identify mitigation opportunities before a fire impacts the community.
  • CMATS work with local partners to identify and help them resolve mitigation challenges and build long-term mitigation efforts using best practices.
  • The team uses SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, one-on-one interviews, mentoring, best community risk reduction practices, mini-workshops, Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), risk and fire occurrence maps, home assessments, pertinent research, demographics, their experience, and close community collaboration to help communities move mitigation forward.
  • Every assignment is different and dictated by individual community needs.
  • CMATs don’t provide wildfire prevention/messaging, produce literature/product development or perform the work of the community/ordering authority.

 

Local enabling conditions to consider a CMAT

  • The community is at medium to high risk of wildfire and has an identified mitigation challenge.
  • There is an existing wildfire mitigation organization/coalition including local, state, and federal land management partners.
  • Pertinent local, state, and federal partners have the capacity and desire to work closely with the team during the assignment and to implement resulting recommendations including follow-up reporting of accomplishments.
  • Scope of the project should provide a good return on investment (long and short term) to justify cost to deploy a team.
  • The ordering authority must provide a working location, internet access, and support for the CMAT during deployment. 

 

Ordering a CMAT

  • Any community that meets the conditions described above may request a CMAT through the local National Forest, Incident Command Team, or other federal land manager. Requests are vetted by the National CMAT Lead based on enabling conditions, need, and likelihood of success. 

 

Want to be a CMAT member?

  • Team members are highly proficient wildland urban interface mitigation specialists with extensive experience in community mitigation best practices and skills in analytical thinking, problem solving, wildfire behavior, collaboration, communication, and teamwork. Must be familiar with incident command.
  • Assignments are usually 7-14 days/12-14 hour days; laptops, cell phones, and personal credit cards are required (expenses are reimbursed).
  • Team members are ordered through ROSS following interagency incident business management practices and are paid based on ROSS status (agency employee, AD, or cooperator/partnership agreement) and reimbursed for travel and per diem per policy.
  • Team members report to the team lead who functions as the liaison with the local Forest and community.

 

Assignments

 

For more information contact the National Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and Fire Adaptation Program Manager

 

Teton Area Wildfire Protection Coalition and CMAT work to identify challenges and opportunities for risk reduction

Teton Area Wildfire Protection Coalition and CMAT work to identify challenges and opportunities for risk reduction.

 

Idea to Action IdeaBoards: Issues as a result of SWOT analysis on Chetco Bar fire

Idea to action issues board as a result of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis on the Chetco Bar Fire.

 

McDowell county mitigation partners review risk maps for next steps

McDowell County mitigation partners review risk maps for next steps.

 

A CMAT on the Bridger Teton National Forest

A CMAT on the Bridger Teton National Forest.

 

CMAT Team

First Community Mitigation Assistance Team (L-R): Will May (IAFC), Jeremy Taylor (Colorado Springs Mitigation Division), Bob Kowalski (insurance industry), Katie Lighthall (Western Region Cohesive Strategy), Jon Bruno (CMAT-1 Lead, Coalitions and Collaboratives), Pam Leschak (USFS-FAM National Program Manager), and Michelle Medley-Daniels (FAC Learning Network).

 

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