Commissioner Franz Urges At-Risk Communities and Tribes to Apply for Second Round of Community Wildfire Defense Grants
News Date: 
September 15, 2023

The U.S. Forest Service awarded more than $25 million to Washington projects earlier this year.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources are urging local governments, nonprofits, and Tribes to apply for the second round of Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program funding made available by the USDA Forest Service. Applications are due by 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Earlier this year, the Forest Service (USFS) granted more than $25 million to 14 projects in Washington as part of its first round of CWDG funding awards – second in both dollar amount and number of projects to California, and more than 12 percent of the $197 million distributed by the USFS. This included $10 million for the Kittitas County Resilient Landscapes Project, which will accomplish 3,400 acres of fuels reduction work near Cle Elum.
This round of CWDG funding could reach as high as $250 million. Project proposals in areas identified as being at higher risk of wildfires are given priority, as are those in communities impacted by a severe disaster that has increased wildfire hazard within the last 10 years and those in low-income or underserved communities.
“I was so thrilled to see the success our partners across Washington had in getting projects funded during the initial wave of applications,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “These grants can help bolster safety and potentially save lives and valuable property. To not take advantage of this exciting opportunity for transformational projects on our most at-risk forestlands would be like leaving money on the table.”
The CWDG awards are administered in Washington by DNR’s Community Resilience Program as pass-through funding to grant recipients. The federal dollars are intended to help at-risk communities and Tribes to mitigate the risk and plan for the impacts of wildfires. Eligible projects identified in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) that is less than 10 years old can be completed on lands managed by private owners, homeowner associations, local governments, state governments, and Tribes.
Projects funded through the program follow recommendations and contribute to goals of DNR’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan, which has a goal of restoring 1.25 million acres of forest to healthy conditions, and the Central Washington Initiative, a collaboration between DNR and the U.S. Forest Service to complete 350,000 acres of landscape restoration on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
More information about application criteria and how proposals are evaluated is available here. Applicants must request a unique link to the application portal by emailing CWDG Program Manager Guy Gifford at DNR staff are holding virtual information sessions on Zoom each Monday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. through Oct. 30.
Visit to learn more about the Community Wildfire Defense Grants Program.
The DNR Community Resilience Program also manages Wildfire Ready Neighbors, which has helped thousands of Washington residents better prepare their homes and communities for wildfire and other threats to forest health since 2021.
Lauren Padgett
Communications Manager
Cell: 564-999-3775