On July 31, 2023, Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the opening of the second round of the Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) program. The grant process will be open for applications until October 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. 

This funding opportunity provides grants to at-risk communities to develop or revise a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and to carry out projects described in a CWPP that is less than 10 years old. CWDG prioritizes at-risk communities that are 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.  

Several changes were made for this round to reflect feedback provided after the conclusion of the first round. Some changes include the creation of informative resources (i.e., frequently asked questions, examples of low and high-scoring questions, etc.) and helpful tools such as the wildfirerisk.org/cwdg-tool. This new tool is a great starting point for compiling the information needed to verify elements for a project. 

Additional changes include the use of two separate scoring rubrics based on the project type, prioritization of CWPPs, and the usage of community-level data for low-income in addition to county-level data. 

If you are interested in the CWDG program, please read through the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on grants.gov and contact your state/island/territory point of contact.

The USDA Forest Service will also be holding office hours every other week starting on August 30. These office hours are an opportunity for potential applicants to drop in on the virtual meeting to ask questions live. Questions can also be directed to the CWDG email at SM.FS.usfs_cwdg@usda.gov. You can find more information and register for these applicant office hours on the Forest Service webpage. Recordings of the applicant informational webinars can also be found there or on the CWSF website.