Community Mitigation Assistance Team

Now Virtual!

Community Mitigation Assistance Teams (CMAT) are now available virtually. In addition, Mitigation Mentors are also available to work hand in hand with local community partnerships to further on-the-ground mitigation and build local capacity. To request a virtual CMAT please fill in the application form and submit it to Karen Curtiss, Acting Forest Service CMAT Coordinator. To request a Mitigation Mentor contact Jon Bruno.

What is CMAT?

The Community Mitigation Assistance Team (CMAT) program grew from a desire to change the status quo and make a difference in places affected by fire. The team, for which Jonathan Bruno acts as team lead, perfectly complemented his desire to make a larger impact. All of the experiences that Jonathan has gained through the creation of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP)  forestry program are embedded within the CMAT concept. CMAT harnessed the breadth of knowledge within a multidisciplinary team of mitigation professionals to embed themselves within a community, listen, learn, and guide positive action.

CMAT assesses the local conditions, reviews the barriers, and dives in feet first. We review what works and what does not. The team helps the local community make the necessary connections it needs to succeed and leaves it with the tools it needs to move forward. Like Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc. (COCO), CMAT does not do the work for a community; instead, we facilitate the positive actions.

What A CMAT Provides

  • CMAT works closely with Incident Management Teams, the Forest Service or other land management agencies and community residents and leaders to identify mitigation opportunities before a fire impacts the community.
  • CMAT works with local partners to identify and help them resolve mitigation challenges and build long-term mitigation efforts using best practices.
  • The team uses SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, one-on-one interviews, mentoring, best community risk reduction practices, mini-workshops, Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), risk and fire occurrence maps, home assessments, pertinent research, demographics, their experience, and close community collaboration to help communities move mitigation forward.
  • Every assignment is different and dictated by individual community needs.

When Can CMAT Help?

  • The community is at medium to high risk of wildfire and has an identified mitigation challenge.
  • There is an existing wildfire mitigation organization/coalition including local, state, and federal land management partners.
  • Pertinent local, state, and federal partners have the capacity and desire to work closely with the team during the assignment and to implement resulting recommendations including follow-up reporting of accomplishments.
  • Scope of the project should provide a good return on investment (long and short term) to justify cost to deploy a team.
  • The ordering authority must provide a working location, internet access, and support for the CMAT during deployment.

Ordering a CMAT

Any community that meets the conditions described above may request a CMAT through the local National Forest, Incident Command Team, or other federal land manager. Requests are vetted by the National CMAT Lead based on enabling conditions, need and likelihood of success.

To order a CMAT, please coordinate with your partners to complete this request form. Upon completion, please submit to the National CMAT Lead, Jonathan Bruno and Acting Forest Service CMAT Coordinator, Karen Curtiss.

Want to be a CMAT Member?

  • Team members are highly proficient wildland urban interface mitigation specialists with extensive experience in community mitigation best practices and skills in analytical thinking, problem solving, wildfire behavior, collaboration, communication, and teamwork. Must be familiar with incident command.
  • Assignments are usually 7-14 days/12-14 hour days; laptops, cell phones, and personal credit cards are required (expenses are reimbursed).
  • Team members are ordered through ROSS following interagency incident business management practices and are paid based on ROSS status (agency employee, AD, or cooperator/partnership agreement) and reimbursed for travel and per diem per policy.
  • Team members report to the team lead who functions as the liaison with the local Forest and community.

CMAT Assignments

Lake County, California (2021): Lake County – Aligning to Action, Healing the Land, Healing the People

Greater Santa Fe, New Mexico (2021): Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition: A Path Forward

Teller County, Colorado (2020): Teller County Wildfire Council

Alpine, Wyoming (2019): CMAT Report Alpine Area

Dollar Ridge Fire (2018): Crossing Boundaries for Collaboration

Spring Creek Fire (2018):  Mitigating Mountains

Montana Wildfires (2018): Missoula County

Pisgah National Forest (2017): New Insights, New Partners

Chetco Bar (2017): Ideas to Action 

Bridger Teton National Forest (2016): Moving Mitigation Forward: Opportunities for TAWPC

Pike San Isabel National Forest (2016):  A Blueprint for Mitigation

The Chelan Complex – Leavenworth (2015):  Executive Summary

Additional Resources