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The July edition of NFPA Journal is out and in its Wildfire column, Michele Steinberg reflects on how NFPA had to pivot its wildfire preparedness messages as people coped with how to stay safe from other immediate health risks at the same time. 

 

As states enforced COVID-19-related lockdows in May, advocates working on Wildfire Awareness Month campaigns, the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, and even local "Firewise Days" had to think of new ways to engage with residents. 

 

Michele explores how they maintained relevancy, even during a pandemic.  

 

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog and you can also follow me on twitter @LucianNFPA for more international wildfire and policy related topics.

A late June wildfire in Utah that burned 467 acres and forced the evacuation of over 100 residents from 42 homes has been linked to teens playing with a Roman candle firework that ignited a hillside before spreading in high winds.  As the July 4th Independence Day Weekend approaches, we are all reminded that mishandled fireworks pose a great threat to landscapes and communities at risk to wildfire, especially in summer-time dry conditions. 

 

Michele Steinberg, NFPA’s Wildfire Division Director shares that amateurs who set off fireworks caused an estimated 19,500 fires and generated around 9,000 emergency room visits over the entire year in the U.S. in 2018.  NFPA’s Brush, Grass and Forest Fires 2018 report also highlights that the Fourth of July was the peak day for wildfires started by fireworks, followed by July 5th. Annually, local fire departments responded to an average of 4,430 brush, grass, and forest fires on July 4th, more than five times the daily average of 840. An average of 2,550 fires on July 5th was three times the daily average.

 

With public fireworks events around the country being canceled this year due to COVID-19 related restrictions on large gatherings, NFPA is vigorously discouraging individuals’ use of consumer fireworks for both personal safety and fire service response considerations.

 

Amplifying this message, a joint safety call-to-action released by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, the Insurance Information Institute, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, and NFPA stresses that fireworks pose wildfire risks when they are in the wrong hands. 

 

While the Utah, Traverse Fire, was brought under control early this past week without structural loss, 7,500 homes and businesses lost electricity during the height of the event.  Firework use is banned in the area around where the fire ignited due to wildfire landscape risks and Utah restricts the use of legal fireworks in the days around the July 4th holiday and the state’s Pioneer Day at the end of July.  Six other wildfires forced evacuations in Utah in late June and the status of those fires are available here

 

Learn more about firework safety from these tip sheets, videos, social media cards, and infographic resources.  Have a safe July 4th holiday with family and friends and share the safety message with them that mishandled fireworks can become the ember that threatens your home and community. 


As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog and you can also follow me on twitter @LucianNFPA for more international wildfire and policy related topics.

 

During May of this year NFPA partnered with insurance industry experts to share tips and resources on how to financially and physically prepare for wildfires. Recordings of the webinars are now available and easily accessed - all you need is a free NFPA Xchange account.

 

If you already have an account, skip down for direct links to the webinars. If you need to set one up, follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to https://www.nfpa.org/Login
  2. Click "Create a Profile" - highlighted in yellow below
  3. Fill out the information and click "Register"

 

Once your profile is established you can access the webinars!

 

Wildfire and Insurance: Learn How to Prepare Financially. Listen as Janet Ruiz from the Insurance Information Institute and Nicole Mahrt-Ganley from the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, address questions about protecting yourself and your property, including important home insurance tips such as how to do an insurance check-up to prevent underinsurance and the right way to make a home inventory. https://community.nfpa.org/community/xchange-exclusives/blog/2020/05/14/full-webinar-wildfires-and-insurance-learn-how-to-prepare-financially


Wildfires and Insurance: How to Protect Your Property From Wildfire. Bob Roper from the Western Fire Chief's Association paints the picture of challenges and options for fire suppression this year and highlights the importance of work done by residents. Daniel Gorham and Faraz Hedayati with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) share how reducing your risk from wildfire can be affordable and practical. https://community.nfpa.org/community/xchange-exclusives/blog/2020/06/15/full-webinar-how-to-protect-your-property-from-wildfire


Each webinar is about 60 minutes long - a perfect reason to stay inside during a hot afternoon or for settling down in the evening. Share the webinars with your friends and neighbors and take the opportunity to apply what you learn.

In response to recent wildfires that have devastated California communities, Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West hosted the 2020 Big Earth Hackathon that brought university students together from multiple disciplines to tackle wildfire’s challenges of equity and fairness, prediction and analysis, and mitigation.  Students worked in teams to develop actionable solutions and compete for over $10,000 in continuing research grants. 

Dave Shew, NFPA’s Wildfire Field Representative, provided an online presentation to the students focused on the history of wildfire evolution and suppression management practices in California.  Dave relayed that these factors – along with climate change – have led to the current state of catastrophic wildfires, massive structure losses, and unfortunately many fatalities as a result. 

After speaking to several of the teams individually to provide additional information, Dave was asked to help score the submitted projects from the student teams.  These projects included new ideas for evacuation apps, early wildfire detection, defensible space inspections, damage assessment, community recovery, carbon output, and even a new methodology to assess potential success of ballot measures to improve funding for wildfire mitigation. 

You can review the various submitted projects and see how they tackled wildfire challenges on the hackathon web page. 

Dave shared with me his appreciation of the student work, saying, "To say these projects were visionary and pushed the boundaries of our “normal” way of doing business is an understatement!"

Dave further explained that, "These insightful students – none of whom had any connection to the fire service – clearly listened to the problems as presented, and tackled them without the restrictions of the status quo or the more commonly heard reprise of, "That’s not the way we do things around here".  The innovation was astounding, insightful, and filled with the promise that new ideas from outside the fire service may be one of the best ways to solve some of its’ biggest problems.  The future looks bright and promising indeed!"  

Learn more about the hackathon and the student submissions for a future better prepared for wildfire

Photo credit: Stanford Big Earth Hackathon Wildland fire Challenge web screenshot, pulled 26 June 2020

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog and you can also follow me on twitter @LucianNFPA for more international wildfire and policy related topics.

Landscaping photo - bark mulch up again rocks that are used to create a barrier between the mulch and other ground surfacesA handful of mulch fires in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island,  has led the Office of the Fire Marshal to educate residents about where to place mulch, how to maintain it, and how to keep it from igniting in dry weather. The heightened fire-safety awareness comes after mulch-ignited fires separately destroyed an apartment building and a hotel in the province last summer.  

Laura King, NFPA’s public-education representative in Canada shared with me that "Canadians have been at home and doing lots of gardening as COVID-19 restricts movement. So much so that many retailers have sold out of mulch or are low on stock.” Laura further explained “While mulch makes our gardens look lovely, homeowners should avoid putting it immediately adjacent to structures – homes, sheds or even wooden fences – and keep it free of debris. More importantly, smoking material should never be discarded in mulch, which can be highly combustible.”

While mulch has many positive attributes - it reduces the water requirements of plants, cools the soil temperature, controls weeds and soil erosion, and visually enhances the landscape - a major drawback is that many types of mulch can be combustible, which presents a huge problem in fire prone areas. Embers from an approaching wildfire can ignite areas where mulch is used. If these areas are adjacent to the home, it could be wind up to be a disastrous mix. Previous research on mulch combustibility provides guidance on placement and proper maintenance to reduce fire risk. 

As many localities across the US and Canada have learned, a smoldering wildfire ember bringing flame and heat to a combustible material can also be as simple as a carelessly discarded cigarette under the right weather conditions. The town of Harrisonburg, VA,in 2015 banned combustible landscape materials from within 18 inches of apartment blocks, businesses, and industrial buildings that have combustible siding.  

To advance your own fire safety messaging around mulch risks this summer, NFPA has 
valuable messaging focused on risks from cigarettes and their proper disposal in and around buildings.  The NFPA Educational Messages Desk Reference also shares vetted and concise social behavioral change language you can use in your outreach.  This includes language highlighting:

  • The proper disposal of cigarettes around landscaping (Chapter 11, page 23); and
  • The ignition risk to mulch and appropriate distancing of combustible materials form the edges of structures (Chapter 17, page 28)

While mulch can be used around your property, consider using gravel, stones, low-flammability and well-maintained plants, or other non-combustible decorative accents for your ground cover in that 0-5 foot zone (1-2 meters) around structures so possible flames do not touch. Moreover, make sure to keep this area clean of seasonal debris.  

Visit NFPA’s 
Preparing Homes for Wildfire resources page to learn more about this “immediate zone” around structures and how you can keep them safe from any materials that can spread a flame.

Photo Credit: Megan Fitzgerald-McGowan, NFPA

 

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog and you can also follow me on twitter @LucianNFPA for more international wildfire and policy related topics.

Wildfire Red Flag Warning

With recent dry weather bringing Red Flag Warnings to communities across the Southwest and Western United States, it’s important to understand what triggers a “Red Flag Warning, what those conditions mean, and what you can do when one is announced in your area to make your home and community safer from wildfire. 

You will see in weather reports on the news that Red Flag Warnings begin as a Fire Weather Watch.  A Fire Weather Watch means that weather conditions are predicted to occur that can support rapid wildfire growth and rates of spread 24-72 hours from when the watch is issued. 

When those conditions are predicted to occur within 24 hours, or are already happening, a Red Flag Warning is then issued.  

So, what are the conditions that combine to create such risk?  In the broad sense, they are:

  • High temperatures,
  • High surface winds,
  • Low relative humidity, and
  • Persistence of dry air and low fuel moisture that creates dry vegetation. 

 

Red Flag Warning criteria varies state to state, mainly concerning relative humidity and fuel moisture.   For example, relative humidity of less than 30% in the humid Southeastern U.S. can trigger a Red Flag Warning, while this would not be a threshold in the arid Western U.S. where critical relative humidity is often in the single digits.  The same goes for fuel moisture values. 

 

It’s important to remember that the combination of conditions cause Red Flag Warnings to be issued and they are locally specific.  Your local fire authority will have more information on how these are issued and guidance for local action on what activities are restricted during such periods. 

When a Red Flag Warning is announced, there are steps you can take.  Check out this brief video sharing 2 steps for immediate action to make your home and community safer from wildfire.

Photo Credit: NIFC Photo Library

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog and you can also follow me on twitter @LucianNFPA for more international wildfire and policy related topics.

scrabble tiles spelling out "keywords"

The Firewise USA program greatly values its participants and partners, and looks for opportunities to share and learn from them.  Through the Sites of Excellence Pilot program, we've been using a more focused approach to learn about why sites are successful and what steps they can take to be even more engaged.

 

We know that engaging neighbors in conversations can be difficult, and sometimes one wrong word will put someone on edge.  How do we overcome these hurdles?  Bill Santner of Crystal Lake Club (Sites of Excellence participant) shares how changing one phrase broke down a wall and got folks to open up and work together.

 

Crystal Lake Club

National Sites Of Excellence

Wautoma, Wisconsin

 

Words Do Matter

 

In August of 2019, our Firewise committee along with our Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator and County Forester with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the manager of the Denver field office at National Fire Protection Association met to go over the results of our initial efforts to have every household have a Home Ignition Zone (HIZ) Assessment completed. At that point approximately 45% of the properties agreed to have an assessment.

 

Our task at this meeting was to analyze the feedback we received during the assessment timeframe and then go back to the remaining membership to promote having an assessment done during the remainder of 2019. The main discovery during our discussion was that many members had a feeling that “assessment” meant judgement, punishment and accountability. They were cautious to have a government official come on their property and tell them what they had to do to make their properties safer from wildfires. Some even reported that neighbors were telling them that their homeowners’ insurance companies would be given the results and they could lose their insurance coverage if they did not follow the assessment report findings.

 

During our meeting one of the Crystal Lake Club Firewise committee members offered the idea that we should change the name of the assessments from HIZ to “Fire Safety Check-Up.” Everyone agreed that this title was more descriptive for the public and was non-threatening to the homeowner. We put out a revised invitation with that message and promoted the Check-Ups at our next Club meeting. The results proved effective. We ended the year with 65% of our member households having a Fire Safety Check-Up by the end of 2019.

We believe this proves that Words Do Matter.

 

Thank you so much Bill for sharing this lesson learned!  To read more about what words can make difference, check out our Community Conversations blog from a couple of years ago or download our findings.

 

Is your community ready to take the next step on its wildfire journey?  Visit Firewise.org to learn how you can get organized and become a Firewise USA site.

 

Sign up for NFPA Networkto stay up to date with the latest news and information on key wildfire issues. You can also follow me on twitter @meganfitz34 more wildfire-related topics.

  

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Wildfire research and technology has advanced significantly over the last few years. Several new tools have been released to help communities and neighborhoods understand, explore, and reduce their wildfire risk; and several of these tools are now live on the interactive Firewise USA map.

 

Wildfire Risk to Communities – Wildfirerisk.org

 

 

Launched in April by the USDA Forest Service and the Rocky Mountain Research Station’s Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, Wildfire Risk to Communities is the first tool ever to map wildfire risk nationwide. It's designed for wildfire professionals and communities alike and will help you understand your community’s risk.  It also allows you to compare the risk of communities around you. In addition to its interactive maps and charts, it offers great solutions-oriented resources to start reducing your community's risk.

 

Two New Updated Layers on the Firewise USA Map - Firewise.org

USA Current Wildfires
On the Firewise map, the point and perimeter data set for active wildfires has been updated because of the shutdown of the Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination's data feeds. The new data sources come directly from Integrated Reporting of Wildland-Fire Information (IRWIN) and the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). This new layer should perform better than the previous version and is updated every 15 minutes.

You can view this layer on the Firewise USA map the same way you viewed the old USA Current Wildfires layer.  Simply zoom the map to the extent of a State, or closer.

 

New Thermal Hotspot and Wildfire Detection from VIIRS
Previously, NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) could detect and monitor active fire and burned areas, but its successor, the Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), is here and is now live on the Firewise map. VIIRS has several advantages over MODIS when it comes to wildfire detection. It has a higher degree of spatial resolution (375m vs 1km per pixel), greater sensitivity, and updates more frequently.

You can now view the VIIRS Thermal Hotspot and Fire Activity by zooming into the city or county level of an active wildfire on the Firewise USA map.

These new digital resources will help wildfire professionals and communities alike understand their risk and its context. Learn more from these and, of course, review Firewise's home ignition zone resources to put your stronger understanding into local action.

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

 

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog . 

 

Wind-blown embers igniting dry vegetation and threatening homes sounds like a wildfire. Yet, this summer that source of embers may well be your own patio fire pit or backyard campfire.  Recently, Summit County, Colorado, amended their fire code to require permits for these types of backyard fires out of an abundance of caution to reduce wildfire threats and educate residents on safe fire management practices. 

 

These free permits are good for a year and involve a brief visit by a local department fire inspector – practicing appropriate social distancing, of course – to review and explain the minimum requirements.  These steps are positive fire safety behavior and can be successfully employed by others, wherever they may live.

 

According to the article in the Summit Daily newspaper, “backyard recreational fires must be:

  • Kept under three feet in diameter and two feet high, and
  • Confined to a permanent outdoor fire ring, a portable outdoor fireplace, or a commercially-designed chiminea.
  • Residents are also required to install a screen to prevent embers from escaping, and
  • have a garden hose, fire extinguisher, or five-gallon bucket of water nearby.

The fire pit’s location is important, with a part of the fire inspection visit suggesting other locations if the fire pit is under low hanging branches or the overhanging eaves of a house, or too near other structures. 

 

Fires are prohibited during times of high fire danger ratings and on “red flag” days that bring high winds to dry landscapes.  

 

It is important to remember that embers blowing from a backyard fire pose the same threat to your home as if they are from a wildfire.  Start with these simple steps to reduce the ignition risk, like:

  • Cleaning out gutters of seasonal debris,
  • Clearing away leaves and needles in the 0-5 foot “immediate zone” around the house,
  • Moving any flammable material away from wall exteriors, like mulch, flammable plants, firewood piles, and
  • Removing anything flammable stored underneath decks or porches. 

Most of all, safely enjoy your patio fire pit or backyard campfire and keep blowing embers that come from any source from threatening your home this summer.  Make sure to check in with your local fire authority to see if backyard fires are allowed and if burn bans are in place due to weather. 

 

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog and you can also follow me on twitter @LucianNFPA for more international wildfire and policy related topics.

As the COVID-19 pandemic reached all parts of the globe earlier this year, necessitating strict social distancing and hygiene requirements, first responders were some of the first groups to have to rethink how to safely serve the public and achieve their missions. Among these groups are wildland firefighters, land managers, and others who work in wildfire around the world. As potential impacts became clear to the wildland fire management community, a team of researchers jumped into action to compile all the different types of strategies and advice in this arena, by reviewing existing materials and conducting a worldwide survey.

 

A collaborative effort spearheaded by Dr. Cathelijne Stoof of Wageningen University in the Netherlands along with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the American Wildfire Experience, and the International Association of Wildland Fire published the first in an expected series of briefs based on their review of materials and the global survey. Findings range from firefighter health and safety concerns to the issue of safely evacuating and temporarily housing residential populations, to the need to reduce wildfire starts through prevention activities.

 

Nearly 350 people filled out the survey in just over two weeks, with the majority (45%) from the United States but also representing 25 other nations. They represented a variety of jurisdictional levels and functions, though most worked at national or state/provincial agencies. Lessons learned already appear in the materials and survey, as wildfires have already necessitated management and response in Western Europe and North America.

 

The easy-to-read brief is free to access at Wageningen University’s website as a PDF document. The continuing study will issue more briefs over the coming weeks.

With more and more amazing wildfire risk reduction and preparedness happening across the country, it’s only fitting that the partners establishing the Wildfire Mitigation Awards are opening the nominations process early! Starting today, June 1, you can nominate an outstanding individual, group, or organization that continuously demonstrates exceptional wildfire risk reduction achievements to receive this honor in 2021.


Established in 2014, in response to an overwhelming number of great wildfire mitigation program efforts across the nation, the national Wildfire Mitigation Awards program recognizes outstanding work and significaWFMA logont program impact in wildfire preparedness and mitigation.

 

The Wildfire Mitigation Awards are 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.

 

These awards are designed to recognize effective community wildfire adaptation and risk reduction efforts by individuals and organizations. A wide range of efforts are recognized, such as the creation of local mitigation coalitions, community wildfire protection plans, community-wide risk assessments, reducing home ignition risks, hazardous fuel treatments, fire department engagement in wildfire risk reduction, and use of codes and ordinances. The award sponsors seek to increase public recognition and awareness of the value of wildfire mitigation efforts.

 4Logos

Submit a nomination and view the nomination guidelines and selection criteria here on NASF’s website. The criteria are also attached to this blog post.

 

 

Have questions? Please contact Meghan Marklewitz at meghan@iafc.org or (703) 896-4839.

Beginning on June 3rd, the European Union funded PyroLife Research Program will host a series of insightful webinars every Wednesday through July 22nd.  Each webinar will explore themes of global challenges from wildfire, how communities are adapting, the experiences from traditionally and non-traditionally wildfire prone countries in Europe, and the impact of wildfire in its societal context. 

 

For US audiences, these webinars are in the mid-morning eastern-time, are presented in English, and are free with registration.   The individual Wednesday webinars will include two speakers presenting on different topics, with question and answer periods following each presentation.  You can sign up for the them on the PyroLife events page and please consider attending them all. 

 

The kick-off webinar in the series will be on Wednesday, June 3, at 10am ET / 4pm CET.  Learn more about the topics and speakers for this and the other webinars.

 

PyroLife is the first large scale and integrated doctoral training program focused on wildfires, globally.  NFPA is engaged in this effort, providing structural risk reduction information and knowledge and will host some of the program’s PhD’s to further their wildfire structural risk research from the American wildland urban interface context.  

 

NFPA’s Director of Applied Research, Birgitte Messerschmidt, highlighted the start of this program’s work in the March NFPA Journal Research column.  PyroLife shares that it is, “…an Innovative Training Network bringing together universities, research institutes, forest centers, laboratories, public companies, SMEs, emergency services and NGOs across the world to train researchers to doctorate level.”

 

Photo Credit: PyroLife webinar series banner image, pulled 29 May 2020

 

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog and you can also follow me on twitter @LucianNFPA for more international wildfire and policy related topics.

As summer brings the threat of uncontrolled wildfire to many US states, the just released edition of NFPA Journal explores the challenge of fighting wildfires while also deterring coronavirus outbreaks in both operational camps and local evacuee shelters.

 

Dave Shew, with the NFPA Wildfire Division, co-authored the piece and shared with me that, "It's been less than two years since our experience with the mass evacuation in the Camp Fire in Butte County.  We know what happened with the norovirus outbreaks in local shelters, and we need to factor that knowledge into our preparedness for the upcoming wildfire season."

 

Learn more from the article about how wildland firefighting agencies and public health agencies at every level of government will need to work collaboratively over this summer and fall through a difficult economic environment to protect firefighters and the public from both threats. 

 

If you are looking for additional guidance on what you can do around your home now to help wildland firefighters in the event of a fire, check out the second half of this recent Fire Break blog.  

 

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

Follow NFPA’s FireBreak blog and you can also follow me on twitter @LucianNFPA for more international wildfire and policy related topics.

When we look at completing fire safe actions in the home ignition zone, it can mean different things to different people.  Concerns we hear from people who are looking to get started include "I don't want a moonscape" or "I moved here for the trees" or "this is my favorite plant."  Practitioners often speak about the science verses the art of managing vegetation in the home ignition zone.  Just because you live in a wildfire area doesn't mean you can't have plants, but when they are near the home, you have to treat them the same way - make sure they are in good condition, perform annual maintenance, and give them space.

 To illustrate this, I thought I would share an example from my family's yard.  The different shrubs and trees were planted by the previous owners, but are valued for their beauty, smell (honeysuckle and lilac), and shade they help provide during the heat of the day.  Admittedly, we have not done a good job at caring for them during the almost three years we've lived here.  As you can see in the photo, they are:

  • Overgrown oak leaf and pine needle litter at the base of plant and between it and nearby honeysuckle
  • Have leaf and needle litter around the base and mixed in
  • Dead branches
  • Bark mulch underneath

 As they are in the 0-5 foot space from our deck, we really need to do a better job.  Some positive things we have going for us:

  • Not highly flammable plants
  • Water system in place to keep them green and healthy throughout our typical fire season

 With all of that I mind, I set out to work.  Armed with a pair of gloves, loppers, rake, and a bag, an hour saw things looking much better.  The most valued plant by the family is the honeysuckle.  Here I focused on removing all litter debris, pulling out the runners that were going under the deck, and giving it space from the other plants in the area.

Before and after picture of shrub and honeysuckle showing removal of vegetative debris and pruning

 The others plants were treated the same:

  • Pruned limbs that were touching or reaching under the deck
  • Removed debris from the base of the plants and all around under the deck

We made progress but there's still more.  The next steps for us are bringing in rock to replace the mulch, continue to keep up our maintenance, and screen in the deck.

 For more tips on how to improve your safety, visit our Preparing Homes for Wildfires page.  You can also learn more the importance of the 0-5 foot space around you home by checking out our fact sheet Immediate (Noncombustible) Zone.

Sign up for NFPA Networkto stay up to date with the latest news and information on key wildfire issues. You can also follow me on twitter @meganfitz34 more wildfire-related topics.

  

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

 With the 2020 wildfire year well underway, it is important to remember that preparing for wildfires is a year-round endeavor. To assist with your wildfire preparedness journey, NFPA is excited to present the second part of our webinar series with experts, Wildfires and Insurance: How to Protect Your Home From Wildfire.

 

Join us Wednesday, May 20th at 11:00 am MDT (1 pm Eastern) as we speak with Bob Roper from the Western Fire Chief's Association, and Daniel Gorham and Faraz Hedayati, researchers with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).

 

Bob will help paint the picture of challenges and options for this wildfire year as we enter an era that most fire service professionals and residents have never encountered before. Reinforcing the importance of the work done by residents done to protect homes.

 

Daniel and Faraz will share how reducing your risk can be affordable and practical. Research from IBHS shows a variety of low-cost, do-it-yourself actions can reduce common structural vulnerabilities and increase the chances of a home or business surviving a wildfire.

 

Register today and get this date added to your calendar to ensure you are a part of this informative webinar (advance registration is required). NFPA recommends registering even if you cannot participate in person, so you will receive notice when the recorded webinar is available.

 

Sign up for NFPA Networkto stay up to date with the latest news and information on key wildfire issues. You can also follow me on twitter @meganfitz34 more wildfire-related topics.

  

As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

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