Honor recognizes communities’ longevity, success in minimizing wildfire risk factors
May 9, 2013 – The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program is honoring 34 official Firewise communities from 17 states as they each celebrate a 10-year anniversary of continued participation and successes in reducing wildfire risks. The communities were nationally recognized in 2004, and were among the earliest adopters of the Firewise Communities/USA process.
The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program, launched in 2002, was born out of the Firewise Communities Program to give communities the opportunity to work together toward wildland fire preparedness to save lives, property and natural resources. NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program was developed in the 1980s in response to severe property losses from brush, grass and forest fires across the country.
The following communities are celebrating their 10-year anniversaries of active participation as Firewise Communities/USA sites:
- Forest Highlands, Arizona
- Summerhaven, Arizona
- Cherry Hill, Arkansas
- Hartman, Arkansas
- Hunt, Arkansas
- Inspiration Point, Arkansas
- Norphlet, Arkansas
- Strickler, ArkansasWindcliff, Colorado
- Cypress Knoll, Florida
- Pioneer Plantation, Florida
- RiverCamps on Crooked Creek, Florida
- Randall Creek Farms, Georgia
- Kohala By The Sea, Hawaii
- Johnny Creek Subdivision, Idaho
- Hardwick Township, New Jersey
- Fall River Estates, Oregon
- Hickory Run Land & Homeowners Association, Pennsylvania
- Roaring Creek Forest Preserve, Pennsylvania
- Savannah Lakes Village, South Carolina
- Lead, South Dakota
- Eagle Landing, Texas
- Eagle's Wings Retreat Center, Texas
- Meadow Mountain, Texas
- Saddleridge, Texas
- Solana Ranch, Texas
- Castle Valley, Utah
- Alaska Place, Washington
- Cattle Point Estates, Washington
- Mitchell Point, Washington
- Roche Harbor, Washington
- Sudden Valley, Washington
- Coolfont Mountainside Association, West Virginia
- Crystal Lake Club, Wisconsin
“We’re proud of these 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, NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division manager. “Communities all across the U.S. -- from Pennsylvania to Texas, Washington to Florida -- are a part of this extraordinary group of communities whose early adoption of Firewise principles has helped save lives, property and natural resources.”
Some examples of these pioneering communities’ efforts include:
- Hardwick Township, New Jersey, is a rural town in the wildland/urban interface that had seen several large wildfires over the 20 years before becoming Firewise. The community members, together with neighboring fire departments, have worked on improving emergency access to far-flung residences, while hosting annual mitigation days.
- Sudden Valley, Washington, overlooks the shores of Lake Whatcom, and possesses a network of community-maintained roads that can be steep, narrow and winding in an area with thick forests and dense brush. They established their Firewise Committee in 2004, and have held annual community clean-up weekends and conducted strategic mitigation efforts.
- Hartman, Arkansas, is a small city situated between the Ozark Mountains and the Ouachita Mountains. After organizing its Firewise Board in 2003, the community has completed yearly mitigation projects, including cleaning up abandoned and commercial property that poses fire risks to the neighborhood.
“We are indebted to these early adopters for taking the lead in wildfire safety, and for persevering in Firewise activities for the past decade,” said Michele Steinberg, manager of NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program. “Their dedicated fire and safety professionals and motivated residents have truly helped minimize wildfire risk factors, and their hard work surely has paid off.”
Each community will receive a special award item in honor of their long-term commitment to community wildfire safety.
NFPA’s announcement comes at the start of the 2013 wildfire season, which experts predict will continue to be challenging for firefighters and citizens throughout the country. More information about the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program and a complete list of official Firewise Communities/USA sites can be found on the Firewise website.
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 one element of the Fire Adapted Communities initiative – a national effort that engages homeowners, firefighters, civic leaders and land managers to reduce wildfire risk in communities throughout the United States. The Firewise Communities Program and the Fire Adapted Communities initiative 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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