Madison County Director of Emergency Management Chris Mumme is working to put together a community wildfire protection plan in preparation for what may be a high-risk fire season this summer.
With the winter snowpack significantly below average for this time of year, county officials are busy trying to get a plan in place by the end of June that will serve as standard operating procedure for fire departments, planning departments and emergency responders.
“If we have a big fire, it gives our firefighters a chance to stop the fire and keep damage to a minimum,” Mumme said.
The three requirements for a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, as outlined in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act, are collaboration, prioritized fuel reduction, and measures to reduce structural ignitability.
Collaboration is essential to the success of the CWPP, and public involvement and input should drive what is in the plan and what the final document looks like. Local county, state and federal entities will guide and assist the development of the plan, but the reality is, this plan belongs to the residents of Madison County and it needs to reflect their concerns, priorities and recommendations.
This process gives the public an important opportunity to have input and make recommendations for the management of wild land fuels and vegetation on adjacent public lands.
The development of the CWPP provides an opportunity for stronger ties and relationships between community members at large and emergency responders, local government, and land management agencies. The process can also be very educational in nature, as members of the community who participate in the process have an opportunity to learn more about wild land fuels and fire dependent ecosystems.
When completed, the CWPP will be a “living” document, not just a three-ringed binder taking up space on a shelf. The plan will
become a working document that provides direction for local, state and federal agencies within Madison County.
Mumme plans to work with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the DNRC Forestry Division, the Bureau of Land Management and local fire chiefs to work out the specific details of the plan.
The aforementioned agencies have already dedicated personnel from their offices to sit on the CWPP committee and will be meeting in the very near future to discuss their direction in developing this very important document.
“We need to keep updating it in the interest of the safety of the public,” Mumme said.
The Madison County Commissioners have authorized funds for the development of this plan and Pam Shrauger of Big Sky Hazards has been contracted to provide the County with the completed CWPP. Shrauger has already helped in developing the Pre-disaster Mitigation Plan and Emergency Operations Plan, giving her insight to what is needed for the County.
This is an opportunity for the public to provide their concerns and recommendations for development of this very important document. If you have any questions about the process or when and where there will be a CWPP committee meeting, please contact Mumme at 843-4253.