Neighborhoods in 40 states earn recognition for wildfire safety action
May 17, 2013 ― The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise® Communities Program reached a milestone and announced the 900th community to earn recognition as a Firewise Communities/USA® site. The city of Lakeway in Travis County, Texas is the latest neighborhood to take action to improve residents’ safety from threats posed by brush, grass and forest fires.
According to Lakeway Firewise Committee President, Bob Kirmse, the Bastrop, Spicewood and Steiner Ranch fires spurred their decision to begin working on mitigation activities. Along with Carrie Burns, a local forester and “Firewise sparkplug” for the community, the Committee developed an action plan that included conducting a Firewise Day event where residents cleared brush and dead plant debris in Sailfish Park.
Initiated in 2002 with 12 pilot neighborhoods, the national Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program now boasts active member communities in 40 states, as well as a participation retention rate of 80 percent over the past decade. The program, aimed at homeowners, encourages local solutions for safety by encouraging residents to take individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Such preparedness actions include removing brush and debris from their yards, cleaning up neighborhood common areas and disposing of green waste.
“Our volunteer Firewise Communities/USA program helps communities get started and find direction for their wildfire safety efforts,” said Michele Steinberg, manager of the NFPA Firewise Communities Program. “The process provides people with real steps they can use to reduce potential damage.”
According to Steinberg, taking steps to reduce the risk of damage from fire also helps people feel safer in their environment and in their homes, and provides an important opportunity for neighbors to help neighbors toward a common safety goal.
In addition to Lakeway, more than 160 new Firewise communities have been added in the past year nationwide. Find a complete list of Firewise recognized communities and their success stories on our website.
A Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program checklist is also available to download and takes homeowners step-by-step through the recognition process. A separate online Firewise tips checklist provides simple yet effective steps homeowners can take around their homes now to help minimize damage and loss from the future threat of wildfire.
For more information about the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program, visit the Firewise website at www.firewise.org or contact NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division.
The Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Firewise is a key component of Fire Adapted Communities – a collaborative approach that connects all those who play a role in wildfire education, planning and action with comprehensive resources to help reduce risk. The Firewise Communities Program and Fire Adapted Communities are sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and USDA Forest Service.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
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