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Wildfire Mitigation Projects – Public comment now open for environmental impacts

aerial view of a burned out area with a cabin that appears to have survived the fire

FEMA is conducting an assessment of various projects that can help save lives and property during a wildfire. Some of these projects have the potential to affect the environment.

Want to skip to FEMA’s assessment? It’s here.

FEMA website

The legal public notice is here.

Utah Public Meeting Notice website

Below is some language we are required to post, but first, here’s a summary of potential projects before a fire.

  • Creating defensible space
  • Reducing fuels/cutting down trees and shrubs that burn within 2 miles of structures that would have a fire risk.

After a fire, there are various projects that help in recovery:

  • Soil stabilization
  • Flood reduction
  • Erosion control
  • Reforestation/reseeding projects

Here’s the legal stuff we need to post:

Notice of Availability for Public Review of a Programmatic Environmental Assessment for Wildfire Mitigation Projects in the State of Utah

Public notification is hereby given by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that a draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) is available for public review. The PEA evaluates wildfire hazard mitigation projects throughout the State of Utah. This notification is provided pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Executive Order (EO) 11988 – Floodplain Management, EO 11990 – Wetland Protection, and agency implementation procedures, including 44 CFR Part 9 and FEMA Directive 108-1. The PEA has been prepared to evaluate the potential impact of the proposed project on the human and natural environment in accordance with NEPA.

The purpose of this action is to fund activities that reduce the wildfire hazard in urban interface communities and reduce hazards that may occur in areas that have experienced a wildfire. Pre-fire hazard mitigation activities typically include the creation of defensible space and hazardous fuels reduction and are typically located within 2 miles of at-risk structures. Post-fire hazard mitigation activities typically occur within, or adjacent to, a burn scar. Post-fire hazard mitigation includes a variety of activities that may generally be categorized as soil stabilization, flood reduction, erosion control, or reforestation/reseeding projects. Wildfire hazard mitigation activities are funded under FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) and other programs, as authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended (Stafford Act).

FEMA has determined that the hazard mitigation activities could result in short-term impacts on soils and topography, air quality, visual quality and aesthetics, water quality and water resources, floodplains, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers, vegetation, fish and wildlife, threatened and endangered species, cultural resources, public health and safety, noise, traffic and transportation, public services and utilities, and hazardous materials. Appropriate mitigation measures for the impacts have been described in the PEA and will be implemented in accordance with federal and state law. In the long-term, the hazard mitigation activities would provide benefits to the identified resources by reducing the risk of wildfires and post-fire impacts such as flash flooding, mudslides, and erosion.

The draft PEA will be available electronically at the following web site:


A public comment period related to the Proposed Action will remain open for 30 days following publication of this notice. Interested parties may submit comments or request additional information by contacting:

Daniel Jones
Environmental Specialist
FEMA Region VIII DFC Building 710,
P.O. Box 25267
Denver, Colorado 80225-0267
Email: Daniel.Jones5@fema.dhs.gov

Posted by Joe Dougherty, public information officer for the Utah Division of Emergency Management. jdougherty@utah.gov

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