The Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) program helps reduce wildfire risk to communities through improved land use planning. The Town of Mammoth Lakes was selected as one of eight communities across the country to receive CPAW assistance in 2018. Assistance is focused on assessing local wildland-urban interface (WUI) challenges and opportunities, and providing a set of final recommendations to the community. Participation in the program is voluntary. CPAW is a program of Headwaters Economics and Wildfire Planning International, and is funded by the U.S Forest Service and private foundations
The CPAW team held their kick-off meetings in Mammoth Lakes on April 3-4, 2018. The purpose of the kick-off was to present the program to community stakeholders and learn about local wildfire challenges. Highlights included: • Touring the town and surrounding areas with the Mammoth Lakes Planning Department and Fire Protection District, CAL FIRE, U.S. Forest Service, and additional community stakeholders to learn about past wildfires and current mitigation activities. • Presenting CPAW program goals and anticipated outcomes to the Mammoth Lakes Town Council. • Facilitating conversations with representatives from local businesses to identify future opportunities for addressing wildfire.
The CPAW team conducted its second site visit to the Town of Mammoth Lakes on July 26-27, 2018. The purpose of this visit was to learn more about local conditions, conduct a CPAW training, and discuss planning opportunities related to policies and regulations. Outcomes included: • Training planning staff from the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County on WUI concepts, including wildfire basics, home ignition risk factors, and planning opportunities to address the WUI. • Identifying the primary limitations to implementing effective wildfire policies and regulations, such as current landscaping requirements that may conflict with or overlook fire hazard concerns. • Touring areas of existing and future growth to understand unique considerations during wildfire events and explore potential WUI planning strategies for future development.
The CPAW team conducted its third site visit on September 12-13, 2018. The purpose of this final site visit was to present draft recommendations to the Planning and Economic Development Commission and request feedback from commissioners and the public. The CPAW team presented four draft recommendations: • Adopt a new wildfire hazard assessment; • Adopt new fire mitigation policies in the General Plan; • Update and align site and structure requirements/ guidelines; • Adopt a Community Wildfire Protection Plan Addendum to coordinate and guide local activities. The CPAW team also met with town planning department staff and the Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District to discuss the draft recommendations and receive additional input.
The CPAW team has requested all written comments on the draft recommendations by Wednesday, September 26. The team will incorporate feedback and deliver its final set of recommendations to the Mammoth Lakes Planning Department by October 31, 2018.