Nevada communities commit to wildfire safety by becoming Firewise

Published on November 3, 2010
Eureka/Diamond Valley and Crescent Valley/Beowawe are first in state to earn distinction

November 3, 2010  Two Nevada communities have proactively taken steps to prepare their residents for wildfire protection by becoming Firewise Communities. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) voluntary initiative protects local residents, their property and natural resources from wildfires. The Firewise distinction was jointly earned by Eureka/Diamond Valley and Crescent Valley/Beowawe; the first communities in Nevada to join the program.

“Wildfire is a risk we can’t afford not to prepare for,” said Kathy Porter, Eureka Firewise board president.  “Nevadans know wildland and brush fires will happen, and we want to be as ready as possible to prevent damage to our buildings, resources and of course, our residents.” Porter and other local Firewise leaders are working to spur interest in Firewise in other Nevada communities with participation in wildland urban/interface conferences and holding Firewise information sessions. 

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, this year more than 376 wildland fires have burned more than 23,500 acres in Nevada, including the loss of 10 homes and five buildings in July in a 600 acre wildfire in Moapa. NFPA encourages other Nevada communities to adopt Firewise as part of their wildfire readiness programs.

The Crescent Valley/Beowawe Firewise Community announced their Firewise designation by a Fire Safe Day in Crescent Valley during Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week this past May. Newsletters were mailed to residents to provide fire safety tips, including Firewise construction and landscaping checklists with tips on clearing brush and selecting fire-ready building materials. Volunteer fire departments partnered with state and local government agencies to educate the community about defensible space by clearing flammable plants and materials from within 30’ of a structure. Organizers also distributed fire-resistant plants, and raffled herbicides, sprayers, and rakes.

The Eureka /Diamond Valley Firewise Community also held its Fire Safe Day during Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week as a joint effort of the Eureka Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) and local volunteer fire departments.  More than 200 residents participated, including Future Farmers of America (FFA) students from the local high school who sold fire-resistant plants grown in their school greenhouse. To demonstrate Firewise principles, education materials were given to attendees, and volunteers assisted in piling wood and pulling hazardous weeds for an elderly homeowner.

“Firewise continues to save lives and property because of communities like our first in Nevada,” said Michele Steinberg, manager of the NFPA Firewise Communities program. “The dedicated fire and safety professionals and motivated residents – including their young people – have truly helped minimize their wildfire risk factors, and their work should be applauded. I encourage their continued efforts.”

In order to become part of NFPA’s Firewise program, communities must meet the following requirements: 

  • Enlist a wildland/urban interface specialist to complete a community assessment and create a plan that identifies agreed-upon achievable solutions to be implemented by the community.
  • Sponsor a local Firewise Task Force Committee, Commission or Department which maintains the Firewise Communities/USA program and tracks its progress.
  • Observe a Firewise Communities/USA Day each year that is dedicated to a local Firewise project.
  • Invest a minimum of $2.00 per capita annually in local Firewise projects.
  • Submit an annual report to Firewise Communities/USA that documents continuing compliance with the program.

Visit the Firewise Communities/USA website to find out more about how your community can begin the assessment process.

About Firewise
The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire. The program is 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 providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization 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, +1 617 984-7275
Program Contact: Michele Steinberg, +1 617 984-7487