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Grizzly Gulch

The area around the electrical substation at the end of Sampson Street in Deadwood shows the devastation from the Grizzly Gulch Fire of 2002. 

DEADWOOD | The City of Deadwood has been selected as one of eight new communities from across the country to receive technical assistance in 2018 under a national program that helps reduce the impacts from wildfires.

As more cities and counties across the country experience devastating wildfires, the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) program offers much-needed support at the local level.

Through CPAW, Deadwood will collaborate with a team of consultants, including land use planners, foresters and risk-mapping experts, to help communities identify and implement local planning measures, such as improved policies to reduce wildfire risk to future development.

Deadwood's Mayor Chuck Turbiville says participating in the program is a great opportunity for the city of Deadwood and couldn't come at a better time because the city is in the process of updating its city’s comprehensive plan.

“It’s been 15 years since the 2002 Grizzly Gulch Fire that almost destroyed Deadwood. Evidence is still present; however, protection of our historic assets is one of our top priorities," Turbiville said.

CPAW was founded by Wildfire Planning International and Headwaters Economics, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and private foundations.

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“We believe Deadwood is in an excellent position to benefit from CPAW due to the community’s wildfire risk, anticipated planning updates, and strong leadership support for this opportunity,” said Molly Mowery, President of Wildfire Planning International. “Many communities have an interest in reducing wildfire risk through land use planning mechanisms, but may lack the capacity or expertise. CPAW provides the assistance needed to help achieve a positive outcome.”

Good land use planning is not about telling people where to build. It’s about respecting private property while making safer, smarter community development decisions to avoid future wildfire disasters, said Ray Rasker, Ph.D., Executive Director of Headwaters Economics.

“Through examining and sharing best practices from other cities and counties, communities can also learn about what successful land use planning for wildfire looks like in practice," he said.

As wildfires in the U.S. increasingly burn more acres, last longer, and cause damage to communities, CPAW is an opportunity to help communities reverse these trends through better land use planning, said Rasker.

More information is available at planningforwildfire.org.

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