Updated July 6, 2021
Multnomah County is currently coordinating an update to the countywide Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The purpose of this plan is to create a prioritized strategies to reduce the harm from future wildfires and wildfire smoke events to people, property, natural resources and infrastructure. The last plan was completed in 2010, and the update is expected to be completed in early 2022. A draft version of the plan will be posted here in Winter 2021 for public review and comment. Participating organizations come from throughout the county and include Fire Districts, City and County Departments, State and Federal Agencies, Power Utilities, and others.
Wildfire and wildfire smoke have become two of Multnomah County’s most pressing hazards. The risk of fire and smoke has been known for a long time, but responding has become more urgent in the last decade due to warmer winters and longer summers that have reduced snowpack, lengthened fire seasons and impacted natural ecosystems. At the same time, Multnomah County has had significant population growth, with more community members living alongside wildfire risk, and more people vulnerable to the health effects of smoke.
Dangerous fire conditions have led to recent disasters. The Eagle Creek Fire in 2017 burned nearly 50,000 acres in Eastern Multnomah County, destroying structures and requiring extensive evacuations. The 2020 Labor Day windstorm fanned fires across Oregon that blanketed Multnomah County in smoke and having some of the worst air quality in the world for days.
Why is the plan being updated now?
- 10 years have passed since the last plan.
- Recent experience from fire and smoke events could be used to re-evaluate priorities.
- Improved mapping and data became available through the United States Forest Service and hosted by Oregon Department of Forestry.
- A desire to add wildfire smoke as a hazard (not included in 2011 plan).
- A need to refresh coordination between stakeholders and maintain lasting relationships.
- Goal to make a more equitable plan - one that considers how risks from fire and smoke disproportionately impact County residents.
- Post-Disaster FEMA grant money from the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire became available.
What is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)?
A CWPP is a mitigation plan, and mitigation is work that happens before an event occurs, as compared to responding or recovering after a disaster. Agencies come together to identify risks and prioritize strategies to try to make future events less damaging. A CWPP does not have specific about how to respond to a fire or smoke event, but instead identifies the gaps in current planning and preparation.
Wildfire Mitigation Resources
- Oregon Explorer - Wildfire Risk - Access a comprehensive collection of wildfire data and make custom maps and reports with the Wildfire Explorer tool. Access videos about making your home and property more wildfire proof.
- Northwest Interagency Coordination Center - Outlooks for upcoming fire risk, based on weather and moisture.
- National Fire Protection Association - Preparing Homes for Wildfire. Tips on protecting homes, defining the 'home ignition zone', and brochures in English and Spanish.
- Multnomah County Evacuation Levels Explained - Information about Ready! (Evacuation Level 1), Set! (Evacuation Level 2), and Go! (Evacuation Level 3). Tips on packing a Go Kit, and what to do in emergencies.
- Multnomah County Emergency Notifications - Sign up here for Public Alerts, which allows Emergency Management agencies to contact you by text, call, or email when emergencies occur.
- Firewise USA - A program for community members to join together to reduce the risk of wildfire in their neighborhoods.
Wildfire Smoke Mitigation Resources
- Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) - Air quality monitor data, updated hourly.
- Oregon Smoke Blog/Información sobre el humo de Oregon - Also from Oregon DEQ. More detailed information about wildfire smoke, in English and Spanish
- Smoke Sense App - Mobile app from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with local smoke information and health protection information.
- Multnomah County Smoke and Wildfire Preparation - Information about how to prepare for a smoke event.
The 2011 Multnomah County CWPP
- Promote public awareness, understanding, and actions to reduce risk.
- Reduce risk to people, property and environment.
- Maintain a comprehensive, countywide risk assessment.
- Support a disaster resilient economy.
- Develop and maintain collaborative partnerships and funding strategies for implementing the MCWPP.
The 2011 CWPP is linked below. If you have any questions about the 2011 CWPP, please email David Lentzner at david.lentzner @ multco.us or call 503-988-7563.