May 14, 2012 – Now at the height of wildfire season (March to June), Arizona is battling several brush, grass and forest fires, including the Gladiator and Sunflower Fires, which continue to threaten communities in Yavapai County, north and west of Phoenix, and to the east in Tonto National Forest. The fires have burned roughly 2,700 acres and have prompted evacuation orders around Crown King, near Prescott.
In 2011, Arizona experienced its worst year for wildfires with nearly 2,000 fires that scorched more than one million acres across the state. June 2011 will particularly be remembered for two of the largest wildfires in the state’s history: the Wallow Fire, which burned more than 522,000 acres and displaced 10,000 people, and the Monument Fire, in the southern part of the state, which saw over 30,000 acres scorched and more than 70 homes and businesses destroyed.
But many Arizona residents have already taken steps to reduce their wildfire risk. Using proven principles for wildfire safety, 44 Arizona communities have participated for several years in the national Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program, which emphasizes community involvement and helps residents learn how to do their part to keep their homes and property safer from wildfire.
In addition to the many participating communities in Yavapai County, including Timber Ridge near Prescott, one of the first neighborhoods in the nation to be recognized as a Firewise community, Arizona’s commitment to local wildfire safety stretches from Continental near Flagstaff, all the way south to Patagonia. A list of all Arizona Firewise-recognized sites can be found on the Firewise website.
The Firewise program provides a number of resources to help residents get started on wildfire safety mitigation activities. Complimentary brochures, booklets, pamphlets, videos and much more can be found on the “information and resources” page of the website and ordered online through the Firewise catalog.
Wildfire doesn’t have to burn everything in its path. In fact, cleaning your property of debris and maintaining your landscaping are important first steps. Below are additional actions you can take to reduce the risk of your home and property becoming fuel for a wildfire:
Learn more about how to keep your family safe and reduce your home’s risk for wildfire damage at www.firewise.org.
The Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters and others in creating fire-adapted communities – places where people and property are safer from the risk of brush, grass and forest fires. Firewise is a program of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior and the National Association of State Foresters.
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.
Media Contact: Lorraine Carli: email@example.com, +1 617 984-7275
Editor’s Note: Michele Steinberg, NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program Manager, is available for interviews. Please contact the Public Affairs office to make arrangements.