Community Wildfire Defense Grant

Last update: 1/11/2024

What is the Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG)?

The Community Wildfire Defense Program, or CWDG, is intended to help at-risk local communities and Tribes; plan for and reduce the risk of wildfire.  
This program, which was authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, prioritizes at-risk communities in an area identified as having high or very high wildfire hazard potential, are low-income, or have been impacted by a severe disaster that affects the risk of wildfire. More details on these three priorities can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) below.  
The program provides funding to communities for two primary purposes: 
  • Develop and revise Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP). 
  • Implement projects described in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan that is less than ten years old. 
The Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program also helps communities in the wildland urban interface (WUI) implement the three goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy
  • Restore and Maintain Landscapes: Landscapes across all jurisdictions are resilient to fire-related disturbances, in accordance with management objectives. 
  • Create Fire Adapted Communities: Human populations and infrastructure can better withstand a wildfire without loss of life and property.  
  • Improve Wildfire Response: All jurisdictions participate in making and implementing safe, effective, efficient risk-based wildfire management decisions. 

What does the CWDG fund?

There are three types of projects for which the grant provides funding:
  • The development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans
  • The updating of Community Wildfire Protection Plans
  • The implementation of projects described in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan and/or Hazard Mitigation Plan with a Wildfire Section that is less than ten years old.
  • Funding is not available for fire suppression training, equipment, or supplies.

Who can apply for CWDG funds?

Any community at risk to wildfire can apply, including:
  • Local government
  • Tribes
  • Non-profit organizations (including Homeowner Associations)
  • State forestry agency

How are CWDG funds prioritized?

Applications will be prioritized by areas of high or very high wildfire hazard, low income communities, communities impacted by a severe disaster within the last ten years which increased wildfire risk and/or hazard to the project area. 
The maximum amount of Federal funding awarded to any one community or Tribe via this competitive process is: 
  • $250,000 for the creation or updating of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. 
  • $10 million for a project described within a Community Wildfire Protection Plan less than 10 years old. 
  • For planning purposes, the total Federal funding available through the CWDG competitive process could be up to $250 million for this second round. 
Required matching funds: 
  • Applications to fund Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) will be prioritized for funding during Round 2.  While this does not guarantee funding, it provides a much greater likelihood of being awarded funds that support wildfire protection planning.  Reach out to your local coordinator (listed in the sidebar) if your County does not have a CWPP to discuss this enhanced opportunity.
  • 10% non-Federal match for proposals to develop or update a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. 
  • 25% non-federal match for proposals to implement projects described within a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. 
  • Match waiver request available for communities meeting the definition of underserved, nationally recognized Tribes, and Pacific Islands. 

Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) Dashboard 

The Wildfire Risk to Communities project team developed a nationally consistent data dashboard to help communities complete grant applications and for reviewers to score applications. Get specific information about your community
The CWDG Dashboard supports the goals of the program described in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and can be used to help: 
  • Identify eligible "at-risk communities" 
  • Prioritize places that: 
    • are "low income" 
    • have "been impacted by a severe disaster" 
    • have "high or very high wildfire hazard potential" 
  • Identity places that qualify as "underserved" and that can request a cost-share waiver. 
The CWDG Dashboard is not intended to be the only source of information to prioritize communities, but it can help fill data gaps to support applicants. 
Visit the CWDG Dashboard for more information and links on the Datasets used. 
***Registration at SAM.GOV: 
USFS Staff CWDG Office Hours (Attend one of these sessions to ask questions specific to your project) – 
An opportunity for applicants to ask questions about the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. These office hours will be available every other Wednesday, starting on August 30, 2023, and the last one on October 25, 2023.
Questions can be asked about the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), the application, the portal, and/or anything along the process. Applicants may join any of the virtual office hour Zoom meetings at any time during the scheduled sessions, through the following links:
  • August 30: From 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern); or from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Mountain), Must Register in Advance to Attend Webinar.
  • September 13: From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Eastern); or from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (Mountain), Must Register in Advance to Attend Webinar.
  • September 27: From 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern); or from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Mountain). Must Register in Advance to Attend Webinar.
  • October 11: From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Eastern); or from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (Mountain), Must Register in Advance to Attend Webinar.
  • October 25: From 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern); or from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Mountain), Must Register in Advance to Attend Webinar.
Important: Applicants must register in to apply for a grant. Organizations must have an active registration with the System for Award Management (, which will generate a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). Creating a SAM registration may take several weeks or more to complete. Therefore, ensure you apply for your SAM registration promptly.  
Applicant Webinars Recordings (Presented by USDA USFS Program Managers): 
Applicant Webinars for CWDG Round 2 have been scheduled as follows. The application process in Round 2 is the same for all applicants (versus Round 1 where there were different processes for different regions), and any applicant in any region, area, or Tribe may attend any webinar, they will all have the same content, however, the August 10 Webinar will be more focused on Tribal applications and Q&A. 

How do I apply?

Applicants will need to request a unique application link for each proposal through the WA State Point-of-Contact, Guy Gifford at Applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. eastern time on Nov. 4, 2023 at A fillable PDF version of the application can be found here to use while developing the content for the application. If you do not already have one, you must also register at to create a Unique Entity ID. 
Detailed grant information and eligible project examples can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Western States and Territories. 
WADNR will hold weekly office hours/informational webinars beginning only on Mondays, Aug. 21, 2023 and run through Oct. 30, 2023 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
**View Past Webinar Recordings here.
CWDG Weekly Sessions
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 826 7929 0735   
One tap mobile  
+12532158782, 82679290735# US (Tacoma)  
+12532050468, 82679290735# US  
Dial by your location  
• +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)  
• +1 253 205 0468 US 
Washington State Points-of-Contact
Guy Gifford
(509) 990-6218
Marc Titus
(509) 504-5357

Round 2 CWDG Documents for Applying


Tools for Western Washington CWDG Applicants to Address Wildfire Hazard Potential

In Question 5 (At Risk Community) and Question 17 (Wildfire Hazard Potential)
In the pop-up box showing the map layers, click the down arrow next to "Wildfire," then click the eyeball next to "Wildfire Hazard Potential" so that the map shows this layer:
Wildfire Hazard Potential Map
Find your county
Light blue = high
Magenta pink = very high hazard potential
If there’s any high hazard potential in your county shown on this map, describe it and reference the Forest Resilience Data and Mapping System:
About western Washington's Wildfire Hazard Potential
It is a measure of wildfire likelihood and intensity, which also includes spatial fuels and vegetation data and point locations of past fire occurrences. For more details on this assessment and the above linked map, visit
Western Washington Wildfire Risk Summary Language
If there is no high hazard potential in your county based on the map above, you can pull language from the descriptions below. See bolded sentences for key language.
In addition, you can use information shared below to enhance narrative anywhere in your application that makes sense.
Note: This information is not exhaustive. If you have other sources of information that can help support the statement of high-hazard potential and at-risk communities within your application, please include them.
Wildfire risk in western Washington
Traditional risk assessments categorize most areas west of the Cascade Range as low-to-moderate wildfire risk, due to the very low probability of wildfire occurrence. The low probability of fire is based on the fact that an average of less than four thousand acres have burned annually in western Washington since 1984, when contemporary fire mapping began. There are over 13 million acres of forest in western Washington. The number of acres burned is increasing, with 17,630 acres lost per year over the last five years. The Wildfire Hazard Potential uses a similar definition of wildfire hazard that relies on mean estimates of burn probability. Although traditional risk metrics are relatively low, fire risk mitigation and preparedness are still critical in western Washington, as detailed below.
The historical fire regime of western Washington varied across space, but fire effects were driven primarily by infrequent, high-severity fire driven by east wind events. Some areas burned more frequently and less severely, including parts of lowland Puget Sound, Southwest Washington, and the San Juan Islands, tended through Indigenous fire stewardship.
The vast majority of forested acres, however, burned infrequently (every 200-400 years) in very large and severe fires, destroying hundreds of thousands of acres. Western Washington has not had a truly large fire year since the Yacolt Burn in 1902. Thus, large fires are under-represented in the contemporary fire history used to develop burn probability estimates. Because historical fire regimes are variable, understanding local context is particularly important for western Washington fires, and using local knowledge of fire history and patterns of fire spread and fire weather is recommended.
Most fires result from a “perfect storm” of factors: seasonal drought, high east wind events, and an ignition. Without high winds, suppression and rapid containment is generally possible and thus fire remain small.
In 2020, the perfect storm occurred in the Labor Day fires in western Oregon that burned 840 thousand acres, most of which burned at high severity in a 48-hour period. These fires served as a reminder that the western Washington can burn with catastrophic loss.
In 2022, the Bolt Creek and Nakia Creek Fires ignited during strong east wind events and spread rapidly. Fortunately, these east wind events were short lived. If the winds had continued, these fires would have burned through a number of communities in western Washington.
It is important to recognize that risk mitigation is also about the risk tolerance of the community, homeowner, forest manager, legislator, etc. Conditions on the ground are changing with climate change, translating into longer fire seasons, increased fuel aridity, prolonged drought conditions and sprawling wildland-urban interface that support a steady flow of ignitions.
For reference, eastern Washington is about twice as large as western Washington, with only one-fifth of the population. This means a much higher density of structures in many parts of western Washington. The amount and density of housing/structures in western Washington dramatically changes the ‘fuels’ of this region. Since many of these structures are built in areas with one ingress/egress route, evacuation challenges are often much higher. There are more values at risk, ignitions, and drought than there was 200 years ago. The impacts of these fires, should they happen, will be significant and likely to increase over time.
Steps towards fire preparedness should be focused on home hardening as well as evacuation preparedness activities. This can include shaded fuel breaks along primary and secondary ingress and egress routes, developing household and community evacuation plans, and outfitting properties with signage that is visible in smoke-heavy conditions. The uncertainty associated with how much and how fast fire regimes might change in western Washington and the destructive potential of western Washington fires might elicit action for a community, even if the likelihood of fire is low.
2022 was the first year that the area burned on the westside surpassed the area burned on the eastside in Washington, since consistent fire perimeter records were maintained. This serves as another indicator of the need to address fire risk on the westside and what these hazard and risk metrics mean for the socio-ecological landscape. 
More Information:

Additional Federal Wildfire Grant Resources 

Federal Wildfire Resources (click here) describes a variety of pre-disaster Federal grant and cost-share programs across the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), that can support community-led efforts to prepare for wildfire. 

Round 1 CWDG Archives