As of 8/4/2023: For information relevant to Round 2 of the CWDG application process (opened July 31st, 2023), visit the Forest Service CWDG site here.

Post last updated for Round 1 applications 8/16/2022


Editor’s note: This post is designed to help communities navigate the first round of applications for the new Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) Program. This post will be updated with links and instructions as new information is released. As always, the best source of information for any federal grant program is the Notice of Funding Opportunity available from the program itself. We provide links to the Notice of Funding Opportunity for each region below so you can make sure you have the most current information possible. 


What are Community Wildfire Defense Grants?

The Community Wildfire Defense Grants (CWDG) are intended to help at-risk local communities and Tribes plan and reduce the risk against wildfire. The program prioritizes at-risk communities in an area identified as having high or very high wildfire hazard potential, are low-income, and/or have been impacted by a severe disaster.

There are two primary project types for which the grant provides funding:

  • The development and revision of Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
  • The implementation of projects described in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan that is less than ten years old.


Should I apply?

Before proceeding with this grant opportunity, determine if the program is the right fit for your community. Make sure your application will come from a local government, Tribe, non-profit organization (including Homeowners Associations), State forestry agency, or Alaska Native Corporation. Project work must occur on non-federally administered land.  Work may occur on lands held in trust for Native American Tribes and individuals. The decision tree below can help you identify opportunities as can the Notice of Funding Opportunity (links below) for your region.


How do I know what region I am in?

Your region will determine the steps you need to take to apply for CWDG funds. Note: Tribes have a separate Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) which they may (but do not have to) use.  Tribes may choose to use either the Notice of Funding Opportunity specific to Tribes or the NOFO for their region. 

Map of CWDG regions.


Where should I start?

All applicants should read the NOFO available for their region or application type. To view the NOFO, click on the link below for your region, select “Related Documents” from the available tabs, and then select the “Notice of Funding Opportunity Instructions.” 

This decision tree can also help you navigate the CWDG program. Note that clicking on the image will bring up a PDF that includes active hyperlinks.

Decision tree to help communities determine eligibility, potential funding opportunities, and the correct Notice of Funding Opportunity. Clicking on the image above will open a PDF with live hyperlinks.


How do I apply?

Register with if you have not done so in the past. Note this can take some time to complete, so REGISTER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. NOTE: DUNS numbers are no longer required to register in New entities (those who have not registered with will receive a unique entity ID from upon registration. These two videos from the General Services Administration cover getting a unique entity ID and completing entity registration

Register to attend an informational webinar about the program. You will need to create a separate log-in for the Wildland Fire Learning Portal to register. Detailed instructions can be found here. Once you are logged-in, you can search for CWDG webinars by selecting “Find Learning” and then “Courses” from the menu bar and then by typing “CWDG” into the search field.

EITHER register with or visit if you are in the Western Region. This short video provides a quick overview of the site. Additional application steps can be found in Appendix I of your NOFO.  Applicants in the Western Region will need to identify their state point of contact to acquire log-in information for See the Points of Contact listed below.  Western Region applicants can also access a fillable PDF and other application resources to help prepare your application here (NOTE: The fillable PDF cannot be submitted, but can be used to help prepare your application). 


When are applications due?

Applications are due Oct. 7, 2022.


Is there a process to waive the match requirements?

Matching funds must come from non-federal sources and are 10% for CWPP development/update projects and 25% for CWPP implementation projects. Communities meeting the definition of underserved may request a waiver of the match by providing documentation. Acceptable documentation can be provided by EITHER of the two methods shown below. Clicking on the CDC Social Vulnerability Index image at left will open an external data source.  Clicking on the Income image at right will download a spreadsheet from the Wildfire Risk to Communities team which can also be used to determine waiver eligibility. 








Pacific Island communities (Territory of American Samoa, Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Territory of Guam, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands) requesting less than $500,000 in project funds do not have to provide matching funds.


Who is my Point of Contact?

State, territory, and program points of contact. Clicking on the image will open a PDF for print or download.


Which applications will have priority?

Priority will be given to projects which are located in an area having a high or very high wildfire hazard potential, benefit a low-income community, or are located in a community impacted by severe disaster within the previous 10 years. Applicants will have to provide supporting documentation. Links and potential data sources are provided below.  It is recommended you verify your status in all three categories with your state point of contact PRIOR TO COMPLETING THE APPLICATION.

Data sources are available for your use. Click on the above image to open a PDF will active hyperlinks.


I am using the data tools provided and my community is not showing as “at-risk,” “high or very high wildfire hazard potential,” and/or as impacted by a “severe disaster.”  What options do I have?

The data tools linked throughout this post for “at-risk,” “high or very high wildfire hazard potential” and impacted by “severe disaster” are possible sources, not the only sources, of data to support your application.   Applicants should refer to the Notice of Funding Opportunity for clarification of other options if you feel the provided data sources do not accurately reflect your community.   In many cases, the data provided in this post are drawn from national datasets but county, regional, or state data may also meet the requirements of the Notice of Funding Opportunity.  As a general rule, if the data provided here shows you are eligible and have priority, you can use it to support your application.  If the data here does not show you as eligible or having priority, you may still be able to meet those thresholds by finding different datasets which better represent your community.  If you choose to use alternative datasets, you are STRONGLY ADVISED to work with your State Point of Contact prior to completing your application (both to verify sources and to clearly document them in your application).

NOTE:  For waiver requests, you MUST use either of the methods/data sources (CDC SVI Index or Income as defined by the Notice of Funding Opportunity) identified in the “Is there a process to waive the match requirement?” section above.


My community doesn’t have a roofing ordinance in place but the application asks for that information.  Will I be penalized or lose points?

No. The presence or absence of roofing codes/ordinances DOES NOT determine your eligibility or contribute to your application score.


What options exist for determining our project’s GIS coordinates?

Applicants will need to provide project location as either a single reference point (with acreage) or boundary points. The preferred format is lat/long entered as follows: 39.000, -104.300. Google Earth is a free mapping application which can help you identify the lat/long of your project if you don’t have access to an existing platform. If you are updating or developing a CWPP, you will need to provide description of the planning area and type (e.g. municipality boundary, fire response district, township, etc.).


What if this program isn’t a good fit for my community?

Other federal grant programs exist which may be a better match for your community. Review this list for potential options.


What support can FAC Net provide?

CWDG is a new federal funding program and we know practitioners will have important insights and questions as more details become available. As always, FAC Net is committed to connecting practitioners with resources and information. We will share any feedback or questions you have with the federal funding partners leading the CWDG program. Your experience, questions, and concerns are important data points for the people leading this work.


Additional links and resources:

The official USDA Forest Service Community Wildfire Defense Grants webpage:

Documentation of data sources and methodology from the Wildfire Risk to Communities team:

Community Wildfire Defense Grants information (including fillable PDF form) for the Western Region:

System for Award Management (

CDC Social Vulnerability Map:

Information on Community Wildfire Protection Plans: