Author(s): Jesse Roman. Published on March 2, 2015.

ABOUT 45 MILLION homes in 72,000 communities across the U.S. are threatened by wildfire, and this spring residents will come together to do something about it.

The second annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, on May 2, is an opportunity for communities to decrease the risk of fire damaging their homes. With help from a grant from State Farm, NFPA is awarding 65 communities with $500 each to help complete various wildfire projects.

Communities were invited in early February to submit project proposals that would raise wildfire awareness and/or help protect their neighborhoods from wildfire. The winners will be announced on March 12.

During last year’s inaugural preparedness day event, dozens of wildfire education and mitigation projects took place across the nation. Residents in Hemlock Farms, Pennsylvania, handed out educational materials, and in Quincy, California, high school students removed 12 pickup loads of brush and other materials from property belonging to local senior citizens.

This year’s proposals have been just as wide ranging, from creating a local wildfire informational video to helping disabled senior citizens with wildfire fuel mitigation work on their property.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the combination of drought, mild temperatures, high winds, and an excess of dried vegetation in forests and grasslands has made fire seasons progressively worse over the past 50 years. The NIFC reports that 2013 saw more than four million acres burned.

Vist the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day section of the NFPA website to learn more about the national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event.

JESSE ROMAN is staff writer at NFPA.