Updated wildfire risk reduction guidelines that contribute to making homes safer during a wildfire are now available in a tri-fold brochure printed in both English and Spanish. The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA™ program’s newest resource, How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfires includes information that highlights the practices residents should implement within their individual property’s Home Ignition Zones; along with details about the importance of fire resistive construction materials.
From vegetation management guidance, to personal preparedness tips, the brochure is a great resource that will be of assistance to residents living in wildfire risk areas. The Home Safety Checklist included in the brochure includes simple steps from roof to foundation that contribute to making a home safer from embers and radiant heat.
Order the brochure for your next resident meeting, or share with stakeholders at upcoming outreach events! They're a great tool to start a conversation with neighbors about the importance of doing collaborative risk reduction activities that can impact structure-to structure ignitions during a wildfire.
Become a volunteer resident leader and get your neighbors involved in the national Firewise USA™ recognition program.
“It was great to have a product from UK Wildfires Conference 2017 in the form of a small booklet." said Andy. “The delegates formed three habitat based groups and answered six questions over two workshops and the booklet is a summary of their discussion and comments.”
He went onto explain that, “It is certainly not an authoritative statement on Wildfire Mitigation in the UK, but it is a great starting place for a meaningful discussion. In the UK, current legislation requires the Fire Authority to agree to Wildfire Mitigation measures when a landowner wishes to claim grant aid to manage certain habitat types or when they create open habitats from forestry plantations, etc.”
To help that effort, Andy shared that, “It is hoped that the booklet will be used by anybody that has a need to consider wildfire resilience in these circumstances or when creating a new Firewise® Community. The illustrations by Auralab add an element of fun, but also illustrate the key points in a very memorable and visual way.”
At the conference, I served as the facilitator for the “Forestry” habitat workshop and found both hour-long group discussions to be fascinating. About 50 attendees a piece represented fire service, land management, forestry, planning, and policy prospectives.
The open discussions explored what resiliency means across landscapes and what is uniquely needed in each to advance wildfire risk understanding. Far from the usual topics, NFPA was happy to be a part of a conversation that identified socio-economic, forest industry, cultural prospectives, and even urban-forestry exposures.
A great new post-holiday tradition can be, working together with fellow neighbors, and reaching out to potential agency, as well as local potential business partners to assess your area’s wildfire risks and create a project plan to increase your wildfire safety. These projects can all be a part of your participation in the fifth annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day made possible with generous funding from State Farm.
We can all have an important part to play and can work together to be a part of this important campaign to raise wildfire safety awareness and increase risk reduction activity. It is a great way for you to get to know your neighbors, (including other residents, local businesses, and local agencies). You might even make new friends working together and develop some lasting relationships that can be mutually beneficial. This year get outside, get involved and be a part of something big! Use the attached downloadable PDF postcard to help get the word out!
The webinar will be sharing the results of a survey that was designed and taken by US Forest Service employees who have direct or indirect responsibility for ordering suppression resources. The survey tried to ask questions that would help identify how fire managers distinguish between suppression resource importance, scarcity and sustainability during times of elevated wildfire risk. They will also discuss topics relating to firefighter risk, exposure, and risk transfer themes. You can register today to participate in this free webinar opportunity.
According to the FLASH Newsroom, “We are bringing together some of the best minds in our movement at this critical time to rethink the way we approach disasters in the United States,” said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “Together, we must identify ways to overcome these extraordinary challenges and profoundly improve disaster outcomes. At the end of the conference, we will outline a statement of priorities to mitigate the deaths, injuries, and destruction unfolding all too often in communities across the country.”
Some of the speakers included Craig Fugate formerly with FEMA, Lt. General Russel L. Honore US Army retired, and Rick Knabb Ph.D., hurricane and tropical program manager with the Weather Channel. They presented about a variety of topics on a host of natural disasters including hurricanes, tornados, and floods. Some of the topics discussed were resilience in the workplace, building with new emerging products and technologies, and of particular interest was how to partner with traditional media to tell a new story about how to be more resilient in the event of a disaster.
The November fact sheet outlines the use of coatings and includes: product types, application requirements and performance limitations.
Given the current performance limitations of coatings, the research recommends other proven mitigation strategies to reduce vulnerabilities of homes to wildfire, such as using ember-resistant design features and creating and maintaining the home ignition zones.
If you missed the earlier editions in the fact sheets series, they’re a must-read on the latest research topics which include: Roofing; Decks; Fencing and Attic and Crawl Space Vents.
Forestry agencies and fire departments can utilize the fact sheets in their educational outreach efforts by customizing them with their agency/department logo.
This past year, the NFPA worked with curriculum developers and instructors to revise the Assessing Structure Ignition Potential from Wildfire (HIZ) course. These revisions were based on scientific experiments and post fire evaluations that examined how homes burned during a wildfire.
As we’ve shared in previous blogs and resources, embers and small flames from low intensity surface fires continue to be the primary sources of ignition. What has changed is what we call the focus areas within the HIZ, where they are located, and the emphasis on the HOME as the most important component to address.
Instead, of numbered areas, the names are focused areas for ignition potential:
Immediate: home and 0-5 feet
Intermediate: 5-30 feet
Extended: 30-100 feet, possibly out to 200'
These focus areas correspond to the priorities of how homes should be assessed for ignition potential, working from the home out to the property line.
If you are thinking about what activities you and your family, friends, and neighbors would like to do to improve your wildfire preparedness capabilities, consider participating in next year’s Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 5, 2018. This is a great opportunity to work together to address your risk with actions that can improve your community’s resilience.
Create your plan and get ready to apply next year from January 8, through March 2, 2018, for one of 150 funding awards, with generous support from State Farm that will be given to help with project implementation. Participate on this day to be a part of helping to create safer, more resilient communities across the nation.
This is an opportunity to promote the successes of our Firewise USA™ participants in the northeast region and it helps NE RSC get the message out about how becoming fire adapted via Firewise is beneficial to communities.
In September, Faith Berry highlighted how Cook County, Minnesota residents have learned about the value of collaborating to successfully protect their communities from wildfire loss. Each resident and agency partner accepted their responsibility and embraced their part to identify and lessen their risk of loss.
The research fact sheet details how fencing placed within five feet of a building (the Immediate Zone) should be constructed of noncombustible materials. Using noncombustible fencing where it attaches to the building reduces the opportunity of a burning fence igniting the exterior of the structure.
Each fact sheet in the series provides residents living in areas with wildfire risks with important research findings that can be implemented at the individual parcel level. They also provide forestry agencies and fire departments with an educational outreach tool that can be customized with an agency/department logo.
The final 2017 edition of the fact sheet series will be released in November and the topic is scheduled to be Coatings.
If you’ve been stressing about getting a nomination submitted for that risk reduction "superhero" that you know, you now have a little extra time! The deadline has been extended to November 10, and that gives you an extra ten days to get them nominated.
The 2018 national Wildfire Mitigation Awards are for an outstanding individual, group or organization that continuously demonstrates exceptional wildfire risk reduction achievements. They are the highest honor for outstanding work and significant impacts in wildfire preparedness and mitigation. The program was established in 2014 in response to an overwhelming number of exceptional wildfire risk reduction efforts occurring throughout the U.S.
Jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS), the nomination deadline closes Friday, November 10.
Awards will be presented at the Reno, Nevada Wildland Urban-Interface Conference on February 28, 2018.
The news is full of horrifying and sad stories, especially in the aftermath of the California wildfires. So much tragedy, it is heartbreaking. When I was in New Mexico connecting with residents, Krys Nystrom, project manager for the Wildfire Network, introduced me to a very positive story about New Mexico young adults. It was a group of five young adults who are making an incredible difference in the wildfire safety of their community while at the same time are learning basic forestry skills.
This group of five Santa Fe Youthworks participants were working on a project to reduce fuel loading at the Santa Fe Institute. The project is funded by the City of Santa Fe’s Verde grant. This project is the result of collaborative efforts by ten partners consisting of the Santa Fe Youthworks (lead), Wildfire Network, Reunity Resources, the Food Depot, Dashing Delivery, MoGro, All Trees Firewood Inc, Proscape Landscaping, Adelante Program for Homeless Student Services, and Santa Fe Community College.
The project provides assistance for fuels reduction and healthy forest restoration projects. The students were working on reducing fuels and making necessary erosion control steps that they received guidance with from an environmental professional.
Photo submitted by Krys Nystrom
The students are not only helping their community but also growing in personal qualifications through on the job training and coursework provided. According to Krys, “They have done some fixed plot monitoring training, brown's transects for fuel loading measures, and we're learning how to participate in the Land-Potential Knowledge System by adding soil data to that world-wide database.” They will get an NWCG S130/190, basic firefighting class and hope to participate on some prescribed fire projects. They will also be interfacing with private landowners to get some people skills, and doing a community presentation at some point early next year to get some public speaking experience.
António Patrão, Forest Engineer and Fire Prevention Specialist in Portugal, shared his thoughts on the current loss of life and the future of preparedness outreach in Portugal for this blog. His words help us to understand the scope of challenge, the impact of fire on the people of Portugal, and what can be done going forward by everyone.
“Portugal faced the most devastating wildfire season ever. Massive, very fast and severe wildfires destroyed lives, goods, landscapes, natural heritage and cultural values. It has been a firework on hell, under extreme dry [conditions], gigantic fuel accumulation, and unprepared communities. The perfect storm.
Since January until October , mostly in a few days of June and October, 106 people died. Hundreds were injured. Thousands of pets and livestock died. Thousands homes and industrial facilities and others were affected and destroyed. 500,000 ha [1,235,526 acres] were burned. This represent 50% of the total burned area in Europe. It should be noted that 90% of those 500,000 ha were caused only by 1% of the total ignitions.
We are now living a moment of uncertainty when wildfires easily become urban and industrial ones.
National wildfire management and civil protection systems collapsed. People, most of them old, were abandon to their luck, trapped in smoke and flames, alone and unprepared. All society is morally affected, in pain and tears. People are feeling hopeless, angry with fire, with the state and with the government, and questioning themselves. It will be hard to recover.
Wildfires in Portugal are now clearly being assumed as a social problem. They have human causes, they provoke human losses, and solutions are in human hands.
Solutions? Answers? Let’s go back to the basics on forest management and work close with people. Portugal needs to develop and implement community educational programs on fire. Community collaborative work on fire prevention and response represents one anchor to prepare people and to build resilient wildfire communities. This demands long term policies and outreach by multidisciplinary teams, home by home, street by street, village by village, and community by community. The road is hard but we should take the first step on Firewise.”
NFPA has partnered with the Compact and the Commission to ensure the app is available for free unlimited downloads for one year. This timely information, provided from the convenience of a smartphone or tablet device, can help people not only prepare their homes and families before a wildfire, but also provide critical knowledge and resources to help them recover more quickly after a fire has occurred.
While the app contains regionally specific information for the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, it is rich with information on wildfire preparedness and post-fire recovery that can help residents throughout North America. The settings feature within the app allows users to set the language to English or Spanish.
Photo of App shared by Quickseries Publishing
According to NFPA Wildfire Division Manager Michele Steinberg, “The app is easy to navigate. It’s well organized with attractive graphics, quick tips, and links to all of the most important information people need to know to get prepared and be safer. It’s very well-aligned to the messages and information that NFPA provides on wildfire safety, and helps people in the U.S. find out how to engage in the Firewise USA™ Recognition Program, and those in Canada how to access FireSmart resources. As Californians cope with a major wildfire disaster unfolding during this Fire Prevention Week, it’s my hope that the recovery information, in particular, may be helpful to them.”
Fred Turck, Prevention Program Manager for the Virginia Department of Forestry, shared, "Education is one tool we have to help protect people, homes, and places from the threat and damages of wildfires. This new app is one of the best tools we have had in our educational toolbox for many years and I appreciate the collaboration between all those involved in making this available."