Firewise USA Reaches New Milestones in 2022
Like many of you, I’m looking forward to what 2023 will bring. It’s going to be a busy year for those living in wildfire prone areas and for the practitioners who support them. But before shutting the door on 2022, I wanted to take a moment to share the outstanding achievements of communities participating in the Firewise USA® program. Hopefully, others are as inspired as I am by the dedication of these people to acknowledge the risk in their communities and to take wildfire safety into their own hands.
Overall, it was a very busy and productive year for Firewise USA participants and supporters. California achieved multiple milestones, reaching 500 communities early in the year and ending the year with over 600. Minnesota, a longstanding supporter of the program, invested in new government employees, including a state liaison who has worked to re-engage with communities that left the Firewise USA program in 2021. We also saw a push in Nevada with a new state liaison who helped bring on 22 new communities in 2022. Across the country, we saw new and existing participants embrace wildfire risk reduction as a way of living.
2022 Participation by the Numbers
- Total number of active Firewise USA sites at the end of 2022: 2,076 (our first time above 2,000!)
- Number of new Firewise sites in 2022: 285 (the largest number of new sites in one year so far!)
- Top states for growth: California, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona rounded out the top-five states for growth in 2022. In the past five years, California, in particular, has more than quadrupled its site number, from 137 in 2017 to 624 in 2022.
- Total number of volunteer hours worked: 2.2 million, with almost 75 percent of those hours worked at the home and home-ignition-zone levels. Focusing on these areas is critical to reducing home vulnerability to embers from a fire.
- Total funds invested: Over $90 million was spent on chippers, contractors, home improvement costs, and more in 2022.
Combined, the volunteer hours and money spent equals over $154 million invested in making these communities more resilient to wildfires. This is amazing!
We at NFPA thank all of you and your local supporting partners for your acknowledgement of the role you play in wildfire preparedness and commitment you show to being a part of the solution. Congratulations on your continued forward progress. We cannot wait to see what you accomplish in 2023!
Is your community ready to take the next step on its wildfire journey? Visit firewise.org to learn how you can become a Firewise USA site.