Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Northeast Region
2145 Key Wallace Dr
Cambridge, MD 21613
(410) 228-2677

National Fire Plan

Each year wildland fires burn millions of acres across the United States. After the extensive fires of 2000, Congress developed specialized funding initiatives through the federal land management agencies to address this issue. Blackwater NWR has participated in several of these programs in Dorchester County.

Rural Fire Department Assistance Grant Program

One of the National Fire Plan programs at Blackwater NWR is the Rural Fire Assistance Grant Program. Volunteer Fire Departments (VFDs) with protection responsibility for 10,000 people or less adjacent to federal lands are given the opportunity to apply for grants for assistance. The funds may be used for wildland fire in the form of training, equipment, supplies, education, and prevention. In a cost share program, the federal government provides 90% of the funds and the VFD provides 10%. Each year beginning in 2001 several Dorchester County VFDs have been awarded grants.

Communities at Risk

Another National Fire Plan program at Blackwater NWR is the Communities at Risk program. Communities at risk were identified by the state of Maryland and are listed on a national list in the Federal Register. Four communities in Dorchester County are Communities at Risk: Robbins / Shorters Wharf, Bishops Head / Crocheron, Madison / Smithville Road, and Maple Dam Road / Bucktown Road / Key Wallace Drive.

Wildland Urban Interface Projects

The final National Fire plan project at Blackwater NWR is the Wildland Urban Interface Project (WUI). Projects can be on federal or private lands adjacent to a community at risk. Five WUI projects have been accomplished at Blackwater NWR:

  • Robbins/Shorters Wharf, 400 acres treated with controlled burns
  • Madison/Smithville Rd, 50 acres treated with thinning
  • Bishops Head/Crocheron, 10 acres treated with thinning and controlled burning
  • Bucktown/Greenbriar, 115 acres treated with controlled burning
  • Maple Dam, 177 acres treated with controlled burning

One of the WUI projects proved successful on April 26, 2002. A wildfire started by fireworks threatened 9 residences on Shorters Wharf. These residences were protected from the fire because of the WUI project that was accomplished earlier in the year.

Fire Program Fire Management Fire Plan Fire Study Equipment Crew

Last updated: September 30, 2010