How does the Firewise USA® program work?
Create a board or committee of volunteers to represent your community, including residents and partners such as local forestry agencies or the fire department. Identify a resident leader who will be the program point of contact. The board or committee defines the boundaries of the site and determines the number of individual single family dwelling units.
Community size: Minimum of 8 dwelling units and a maximum of 2,500. Multiple Firewise USA sites can be located within a city/town or master-planned community/HOA.
The board or committee will collaborate with their local wildfire expert to complete a community wildfire risk assessment. The assessment should be a community-wide view that identifies areas of successful wildfire risk reduction and areas where improvements could be made. Emphasis should be on the general conditions of homes and related home ignition zones. The assessment is a living document and needs to be updated at a minimum every 5 years.
The board/committee will use the risk assessment to create a three-year action plan, broken down by year, that identifies and prioritizes actions to reduce ignition risk to homes. These can include communitywide investments along with suggested homeowner actions and education activities that participants will strive to complete annually, or over a period of multiple years. This document is required to be updated at least every three years. As circumstances change (e.g., completing activities, experiencing a fire or a natural disaster, new construction in community, etc.), the action plan may need to be updated more frequently
Each year, neighbors complete educational and risk reduction actions identified in the plan. These go towards your site's annual reporting efforts.
At a minimum, each site is required to annually invest the equivalent of one volunteer hour per dwelling unit in wildfire risk reduction actions. If your site has identified 100 homes within its boundary, than 100 hours of work or the monetary equivalent, based on the independent sector value of volunteer time, need to be completed for that year.
Tell us about it
When the above criteria have been met, the Resident Leader applies for recognition through the Firewise® Portal (portal.firewise.org), describing educational and mitigation work in the site. Each year, sites renew their status by reporting their activity.
Please note: Individual states can request additional application requirements.
What happens next?
State liaisons will approve applications, with final processing completed by the NFPA.
Number of active Firewise USA® sites by state
Reference our interactive map to see all active Firewise USA® sites.
Questions? Contact the Firewise® team.
The national Firewise USA® recognition program provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors in a geographic area get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community and to reduce wildfire risks at the local level. Any community that meets a set of voluntary criteria on an annual basis and retains an “In Good Standing Status” may identify itself as being a Firewise® Site.
The Firewise USA® program is administered by NFPA® and is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. While the NFPA® administers this program, individuals and communities participate on a voluntary basis. The NFPA® disclaims liability for any personal injury, property, or other damages of any nature whatsoever, whether special, indirect, consequential or compensatory, directly or indirectly resulting from participation in the Firewise USA® program. The NFPA® also makes no guaranty or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of program guidance.