BEMIDJI-The city of Bemidji has been named one of five new communities nationwide to receive technical assistance through a national program aimed at reducing wildfire risk and costs.

The Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire program offers support at the local level, the Bemidji Fire Department said in a release. Bemidji will collaborate with a team of consultants, including land use planners, foresters, and risk mapping experts, to develop wildfire planning and regulatory strategies.

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The fire department will work with the Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to reduce the risk and impact of wildfires.

CPAW is a partnership between the Wildfire Planning International and Headwaters Economics organizations.

"We believe the Bemidji is in an excellent position to benefit from CPAW due to the community's wildfire risk, future development pressures, anticipated planning updates, and strong leadership support for this opportunity," said Molly Mowery, president of Wildfire Planning International, in the release. "Too often communities have an interest in reducing wildfire risk through land use planning mechanisms but may lack the capacity or expertise. CPAW provides the assistance to work toward that outcome."

The CPAW program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and

private foundations. More information is available at