NFPA honors 10th anniversary of Firewise pilot communities

Published on August 5, 2011
Communities celebrated for achieving national recognition for wildland fire mitigation success

Firewise Commnities/USAAugust 5, 2011 The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program is celebrating its 10th anniversary and honoring nine original pilot sites for their continued participation and successes in reducing wildfire risks. The nine sites being honored were among the first to become involved in this volunteer community action model. The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program was born out of the Firewise Communities program in 2001 to give communities the opportunity to work together toward wildland fire preparedness to save lives, property and natural resources. The Firewise Communities Program was developed in the 1980’s in response to the severe property losses from brush, grass and forest fires across the country.

The following “founding” communities are celebrating their 10-year anniversaries of active participation as Firewise Communities/USA sites:

  • Timber Ridge in Prescott, Arizona
  • Genesee Foundation in Golden, Colorado
  • Perry Park Municipal District in Larkspur, Colorado
  • Wedgefield in Orlando, Florida
  • Wilderness Ranch in Boise, Idaho
  • Greater Eastern Jemez WUI Corridor in Jemez, New Mexico
  • Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Sundance, Utah
  • River Bluff Ranch in Spokane, Washington

“We’re proud of these trailblazers – individuals and communities who were among the first to recognize the positive impact of collective actions to prevent wildfire damage and do something about it,” said Dave Nuss, Wildland Fire Operations Division manager for the NFPA. “This extraordinary group, by their early adoption of Firewise principles, has helped save lives, property and natural resources and are good examples to others.” Today, there are more than 700 communities in the recognition program.

In addition to featuring their success stories on the Firewise website, community representatives will be honored with a special award at NFPA’s wildland fire education conference, Backyards and Beyond, in October.

Some examples of these communities’ pioneering efforts include:

  • The neighborhood of Timber Ridge, Arizona, is adjacent to the Prescott National Forest. Pine needle cleanups and home inspections helped prevent wildfire damage. Lot thinning was key to helping mitigate wildfire damage. A subsequent wildfire burned right up to the city’s perimeter, yet no homes were lost.
  • Sundance, Utah, located in the Provo Canyon, conducted a Fire Forum of national, state and local fire experts as well as homeowners. Pursuant to the forum, a safety advisory council was formed to implement fire mitigation activities. Among many other activities, Sundance created educational materials for homeowners, conducted spring and fall clean-out days and has established an early-warning phone tree and installed emergency sirens.
  • River Bluff Ranch in north Spokane, Washington, was designed to be Firewise. Extensive work was performed, including removal of storm-damaged trees and other hazardous fire fuels, evaluation and enhancement of forest roads and firebreaks, and the creation of water storage and safety plans. The community was designed to include significant evacuation routes, underground facilities and codes for roofing, defensible space and vegetation maintenance.

“We encourage every community across the country, particularly those at greatest risk of wildfire, to follow the lead of these trailblazing communities. We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and each other from the devastating effects of brush, grass and forest fires. By working together and acting now we can save lives and protect property,” said Michele Steinberg, manager of the NFPA Firewise Communities program.

To learn more about these and other successful Firewise Communities/USA sites, visit the Firewise website. To register for NPFA’s premier wildland fire education conference, slated for Denver, Colorado, October 27-29, visit www.nfpa.org/backyardsandbeyond.

About Firewise
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, +1 617 984-7275
Program Contact: Michele Steinberg, + 1 617-984-7487

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