Fire Break - September 06, 2023

California Designates its 700th Firewise USA Community

Upper Mark West Fire Safe Council in Sonoma County, California, was recently designated a Firewise USA® community, representing the 700th Firewise community to be recognized in the state. According to Chief Daniel Berlant, deputy director of CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Community Wildfire Preparedness and Mitigation Division, reaching the 700th community came just eight months after celebrating the 600th community milestone.


The Upper Mark West community is extremely active, regularly hosting hands-on fire prevention workshops, community work parties, and gatherings to promote fire safety education materials. They also put out a regular newsletter. In addition, the community has been successful in its grant writing efforts. They are currently in the middle of completing a CAL FIRE planning grant, which addresses large-scale fuel reduction projects, along with a county grant to do roadside fuel reduction project.

RELATEDNFPA Urges Action to Mitigate Wildfire Risks Amid Unprecedented Destruction


It’s incredibly exciting to see the momentum around Firewise continue to build and grow throughout California, which holds more than 30 percent of all Firewise USA communities nationwide.


The efforts of Upper Mark West in coordination with the other hundreds of Firewise communities throughout the state will collectively help reduce the potentially devastating impact of future wildfires. I hope this momentum and enthusiasm will motivate not only more communities in California to participate, but also those in the many other states that face the real threat of wildfire. Most recently, the devastation that occurred in Maui reinforces just how important it is to be as prepared as possible. Firewise can play a critical role in those efforts. 


The Firewise USA recognition program is administered by NFPA. Individuals and communities participate on a voluntary basis and are recognized as a Firewise community upon the completion of certain tasks, including forming a committee of residents and other wildfire stakeholders, obtaining a written risk assessment form, developing a 3-year action plan for the community, hosting an outreach event, and ultimately completing their application to become a Firewise community. 


To learn the steps and begin the process of becoming a Firewise community, visit

Sign up for the NFPA Network Newsletter
Michele Steinberg
Director, Wildfire Division, Disaster safety educator, land use planning advocate. Believes we can end home destruction from wildfires.

Related Articles