Almeda Fire Aftermath OR 99 September 25, 2020. Source: ODOT

Almeda Fire Aftermath: OR 99 Looking South, September 2020, ODOT

In September 2020 Oregon experienced the worst wildfire season in its history, with more than 1,000,000 acres burned. While past major fires largely affected less populated areas, these wildfires had a devastating impact on a number of Oregon’s small cities and rural communities, with thousands of homes and dozens of businesses destroyed, and 11 people killed. After the fires were extinguished, cleanup and support efforts by FEMA, state and local governments, and non-profits got underway to help communities take care of immediate needs.

To support longer term planning in the heavily impacted communities, members of OAPA’s Education and Outreach Committee formed a task force to assist in wildfire recovery planning efforts, establishing connections across the state and with individuals in fire-affected areas of California and Colorado to determine planning work needed to help Oregon’s hard-hit communities.

Working closely with FEMA’s Community Planning and Capacity Building team, State agencies, local jurisdictions, and other partners, volunteer planning professionals are providing services and resources to support communities as they plan to rebuild for resiliency and to jump start long-term recovery planning and projects to come.

Planning Best Practices: Wildfire Recovery and Rebuilding

Best practices of actions to take for wildfire preparedness and recovery, Washington State Fire Adapted Communities Network (, accessed July 2021.

A variety of resources are available to inform current and future wildfire recovery, rebuilding, and resilience planning efforts.

Planning Best Practices: Wildfire Recovery and Rebuilding (PDF) – Experiences from post-disaster planning efforts in other communities can be valuable for moving forward with recovery and rebuilding, and for ensuring resiliency to preclude, minimize risk of, and rebound from similar events in the future. Best practices are loosely organized by type of user - governments, community-based partners, and households or property owners - with brief descriptions, web-links, and names of authors / publishing organizations. Compiled by CAPP volunteers in August 2021.

Additionally, the following more general resources may be of interest to planners:

Oregon Wildfire Recovery Resources and Partnerships – A list of resources, financial & technical assistance, and health services to help communities recover and rebuild in the aftermath of the 2020 Oregon wildfires, compiled by Willamette Partnership.

Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Community Preparedness – Steps organizations can take to be prepared, including preparing ahead of time, what to do during and immediately after the event, and how to recover.

Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan – Planning-related volumes include:

  • Volume I: Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan – Identifies natural hazards and vulnerabilities in Oregon, proposes a strategy to mitigate risk and address recurring disasters and repetitive losses.

Volume IV: State Recovery Plan – Describes the organization used by the State to assist communities recovering from disasters. State support to recovery operations is divided into seven State Recovery Functions (SRFs). Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development is the coordinating agency for SRF 1, Community Planning and Capacity Building.

FEMA Community Recovery Management Toolkit – Designed to help communities manage long-term recovery. The toolkit guides you through a three-step process of organizing, planning, and managing recovery.

FEMA Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation and Disaster Recovery Greensheet (PDF) – Provides guidance on FEMA’s environmental and historic preservation review process.

FEMA National Disaster Recovery Framework – The National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) enables effective recovery support to disaster-impacted states, tribes, territorial, and local jurisdictions.

The NDRF identifies Recovery Support Functions (RSF) that provide a structure to facilitate problem solving, improve access to resources, and foster coordination among state and federal agencies, tribes, territories, nongovernmental partners and stakeholders. Each RSF has coordinating and primary federal agencies and supporting organizations that operate together with local, State and Tribal government officials, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and private sector partners.

FEMA coordinates the Community Planning and Capacity Building Recovery Support Function (PDF), one of six RSFs established under the NDRF. Other RSFs include Housing, Economic, Health and Social Services, Natural and Cultural Resources, and Infrastructure Systems.

FEMA Planning Guides, including Comprehensive Preparedness Guides and the following Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guides:

Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments (PDF), 2017

Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Tribal Governments (PDF), 2019 

Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for State Governments (PDF), 2016