Chelan County is looking for volunteers to serve on a new steering committee that will assist in updating its Hazard Mitigation and Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

Lisa Dowling, a specialist with Chelan County Natural Resources says the plans are used to identify natural hazards and the risks they pose to the county.

"They help provide guidelines for how we might address hazards here in Chelan County from things like wildfire, flooding, and drought. Anything that might impact the county's people, property, and ecosystems are taken into consideration."

Dowling says both plans must be updated every five years per federal requirements, and that doing so keeps the county eligible for federal emergency funding.

"When we have a plan in place it makes us eligible for funding through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Act). For example, the plan that we currently have, which was drafted in 2019, has allowed us to bring in over six-million dollars through FEMA in the last five years that were connected to those plans."

The County is partnering with its Flood Control Zone District, as well as Cascadia Conservation District, local fire districts, and the Cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Entiat, and Chelan to form the steering committee and draft the updated plans.

In the coming year, the county's citizens will also be asked to contribute to the planning process by providing their knowledge of any vulnerabilities to hazards based on past occurrences.

Public input opportunities will be provided through meetings, web-based information and surveys.

Once the steering committee is formed, it will meet six to eight times over the next year.

The County is expected to have the updated plans in place and approved by the end of 2024.

Those interested in serving on the steering committee can contact Dowling at Lisa.Dowling@co.chelan.wa.us.

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