County’s Wildfire Protection Plan is Open for Public Comment

Countys Wildfire Protection Plan is Open for Public Comment
Sandoval County, NM
August 09, 2012

A draft of the Sandoval County Wildfire Protection Plan (SCWPP) will be available on the countys website from August 10, 2012 through August 19, 2012. During that time, any member of the public candownload the plan, read it and suggest improvements.

Victoria Amato, natural resources planner with SWCA Environmental Consultants, is collecting public comments on the plan. She can be reached via email

The goal of a CWPP is to enable local communities to improve their wildfire-mitigation capacity, while working with government agencies to identify high fire risk areas and prioritize areas for mitigation, fire suppression, and emergency preparedness. Another goal is to enhance public awareness and understanding by helping residents better understand the natural- and human-caused risk of wild land fires that threaten lives, safety, and the local economy.

Local governments were required to develop CWPPs following passage of the federal Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003. This act gave communities the opportunity to influence how and where federal agencies implement fuel reduction projects on federal lands and how additional funds may be distributed for projects on non-federal lands.

Las Conchas Sparked Need for an Update
Sandoval County last developed a CWPP in 2008, but the 2011 Las Conchas Fire dramatically changed the level of risk associated with wildfires in the county, prompting the need for an updated plan. The final draft of the plan is expected to be complete and submitted for approval by August 31, 2012.

Once approved, the plan will be considered valid for up to five years, unless significant changes such as a major surge in development or growth of potential fuels in the area occur before then.

The New Mexico Forestry Division approves CWPPs on behalf of the federal government, and one of the requirements for approval is having extensive public input.

Work on the plan began in January 2012. Since then, the core team working on the plan which includes municipal, county, state, federal and tribal officials—has held a series of public meetings to gather citizen input. The final stage in that process is collecting public comments on the draft plan, which is why the plan is posted on the countys website.

For more information on the Sandoval County Wildfire Protection Plan, contact David Bervin, Sandoval County Assistant Fire Chief,

Send comments on the plan to Victoria Amato