Fire protection

LINCOLN - Local input is requested for the creation of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan to cover southeast Nebraska, including Cass County.

The counties in this region are working with the Nebraska Forest Service on a plan that would enhance collaboration and communication among the various agencies and organizations that manage fire in southeast Nebraska, and to help them effectively prepare for and respond to wildfire.

Those who work with land management, fire and community preparedness have an opportunity to provide input.

This plan would cover Butler, Cass, Gage, Johnson, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, Sarpy, Saunders and Seward counties.

Landowners in counties that adopt the plan will be eligible to apply for federal and state cost-share funds for vegetative fuels reduction and other hazard mitigation efforts in at-risk areas within the plan’s boundary. The plan may also provide increased opportunities for counties, municipalities and rural fire districts to seek grant funding for activities related to fire protection.

This area plan will be part of a statewide network of similar plans providing information useful to local emergency responders and those from outside the immediate area who provide mutual aid.

The CWPP consolidates and relays critical information needed for responders in unfamiliar terrain. Each county can include details vital to protecting its first responders, residents and property.

A CWPP is a tool for fire departments, agencies, emergency managers, public officials and land managers to use when addressing wildfire concerns. It contains a fire mitigation plan for each county that includes:

* Community profile (area description, roads, land use, location of at-risk areas)

* Wildfire risk assessment (fire history, fire hazard, protection capabilities, infrastructure)

* Structure analysis (fire risk rating and ignitability)

* Hazardous fuels reduction recommendations

* Emergency operations (responsibilities, capabilities, partners, mutual aid agreements)

* Recommendations for improving community preparedness

* Contact information and equipment lists for rural fire departments

Feedback from local residents may include topics such as identification of ingress/egress routes and safe zones for citizens, structures and critical infrastructure (highways, cell towers, bridges, schools, etc.), areas with homes or developments in high-risk areas and high-risk ignition sources.

All ideas are welcome. For further information or to provide comments, call 402-684-2290 or email sbenson4@unl.edu.

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