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As the Firewise concept gains acceptance throughout the country, more and more folks want to share their experiences and tell about their successes. The program’s quarterly How To Newsletter features these stories and we are always looking for more. I was delighted to receive a story – with photos and news clippings -  from Bill Troost of Lakeshore Park at Bass Lake, a small subdivision just 11 miles from Yosemite National Park in central California that recently earned Firewise Communities/USA recognition. 

Local paper Sierra Star  covered the success of this small community in initiating a grassroots project to reduce wildfire fuels and protect homes. Reporter Brian Wilkinson noted that the project is the fruition of five years of work within the community, and a collaborative effort with federal and state agencies who manage surrounding lands. According to Bill Troost, “The area was overgrown and the families involved realized the possible fire danger this could cause. We were determined to do everything possible to protect our homes and property.”

Through consultations with agency staff, a local Fire Safe Council, the volunteer fire department, and the public utility company, as well as with assistance from a private forestry expert, community residents were able to develop and act on a plan to increase their safety from wildfire while protecting forest health and other values. While some community funds were used for professional tree removal, the majority of the work was conducted by residents representing four generations of Lakeshore Park dwellers. Congratulations to one of the latest communities to earn national Firewise recognition!

--Michele Steinberg


 

ryan.quinn

Firewise FUN!

Posted by ryan.quinn Employee Oct 21, 2010

http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0133f53e6f4d970b-pi

I had the opportunity last week to attend the first-ever Wildland Fire Canada (2010) conference [http://www.wildlandfirecanada.ca/] in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario.  My mission was to gain a better understanding of Canada’s FireSmart initiative  (the Canadian counterpart to Firewise), and to learn about the latest wildfire mitigation research emerging from our northern neighbors.

One presentation in particular is worth highlighting.  Rob Harris, Information Officer for Alberta’s Sustainable Resource Development group [http://srd.alberta.ca/], enlightened the audience with creative ways to enhance wildfire mitigation efforts by changing social behavior.  Rob gave us an example of how tweaking the message delivery can achieve the results we intended – in other words, get people to do what we want.  CaIMG_3086_jpgse in point: Washington DC got National Mall tourists to increase their recycling habits by working with local mall vendors.  Whenever a tourist would purchase ahttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134885e4bb4970c-pi  recyclable product (e.g. glass or aluminum can), the vendor would remind them that they could recycle this at one of the many bins throughout the mall.  Prior to this intervention, tourists were indiscriminately throwing away their cans and bottles into any garbage bin, and vendors were not engaged in the recycling effort at all.  By asking folks to recycle at the time of sale, people were paying attention to the product rather than getting distracted by the tourist sites.  The efforts paid off – recycling tripled and vendors benefited from the recycling program’s profits. 

http://nfpa.typepad.com/firewise/2010/10/finding-attention-windows-to-communicate-the-firewise-message.htmlhttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0133f538674c970b-piLast week, I blogged about finding unique opportunities to educate folks about Firewise when we have their attention.  I invited readers to consider successful examples, and I also want to share one from a recent trip to Michigan that highlights a creative approach to delivering the Firewise message.http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134885e5068970c-pi http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134885e511e970c-popup IMG_3086_jpg

In 2009, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) received a grant from the United States Forest Service (USFS) to create Firewise gardens at rest areas – that is, gardens which feature Firewise-friendly plants and employ other Firewise landscaping principles.  With the help of Michigan State University Extension (MSUE), three Firewise gardens were planted at rest areas in locations with high wildfire risk.  In fact, one rest area near Grayling experienced a wildfire last spring, underscoring the area’s flammability.  http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0133f53e7b19970b-popup http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0134885e5467970c-popup

The Firewise rest area gardens target seasonal homeowners traveling to their weekend retreats.  Each garden wraps around the rest area building, and contains professional signage about the project’s significance. Firewise plants are clearly labeled, and other firewise landscaping principles are apparent, such as the rock border surrounding the building and the use of cocoa beans as a Firewise-friendly mulch. http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef013488584758970c-pi

The gardens are a wonderful example of capturing the public’s attention to educate them about wildfire hazard in their environment, and displaying Firewise solutions. The Firewise gardens also protect these structures from future wildfire damage.

-Molly Mowery

The Lake Plymouth Community Association, a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site, was recently
honored with a wildfire protection sign from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. The community is in the northwest corner of the state, bordering the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. As part of Lake Plymouth's wildfire safety efforts, residents partnered with the national lands staff to remove dead trees and other potential fire fuels from the boundary of the community. John Torregrossa, Lake Plymouth's Firewise leader, sent this great photo of the sign and the state staff who came to set it up.

Further south, the Florida Division of Forestry urges vigilance this fall and winter as predictive weather services indicate a continuation of dry weather - and high fire danger - through early 2011. According to the Panama City News Herald, state meteorologists have used historic records of "La Nina" winters - typically warm and dry -- to demonstrate the high fire activity typical of such weather patterns. The National Weather Service has issued numerous red flag warnings in recent weeks, indicative of this trend. No better time to become Firewise!

I had the opportunity last week to attend the first-ever Wildland Fire Canada (2010) conference in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario.  My mission was to gain a better understanding of Canada’s FireSmart initiative  (the Canadian counterpart to Firewise), and to learn about the latest wildfire mitigation research emerging from our northern neighbors.

One presentation in particular is worth highlighting.  Rob Harris, Information Officer for Alberta’s Sustainable Resource Development group, enlightened the audience with creative ways to enhance wildfire mitigation efforts by changing social behavior. 

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