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All Places > Fire Break > Blog > 2011 > March

I’m really pleased to announce NFPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian wildland association, Partners in Protection.  Our two organizations have been independently involved with wildland fire safety issues over the past several decades.  By formally collaborating, we will be sharing resources and lessons learned, and supporting each other’s mission to protect people and property at risk from wildland fire. This is an exciting step forward for North American wildland fire safety! Check out our media release and video marking this new relationship. 


And while I’m here in Edmonton this week, I’ll be sure to give a shout out on Twitter with the latest from Canada.


Saw a great article today entitled, “Fire Marshal: Blaze was 'perfect storm'” out of Silver City, NM.

The article quotes Gary Benavidez, Grant County’s fire management officer, who mentions how important it is for residents to adopt Firewise principles before a wildfire threatens their area.  In light of an early wildfire season combined with a shortage of volunteer firefighters, Benavidez emphasizes, "If you live in a wildland/urban interface, you need to take it seriously.”  Here’s a link to the full article which offers some good advice for residents, and a clearer understanding of the problems New Mexico faces. Silver city wildfire media coverage 3  

According to Benavidez, what is most evident from this recent fire is that "defensible space" - clearing or reducing combustible vegetation from around a house - works. He goes on to say, "We aren't telling people to do this just so they will clean up their yards This is going to save their homes…Mow the grass. Prune the bushes. Do it, now. We can't predict when the next fire is going to happen."

Well said.  The photos certainly tell the picture of what’s happening down there.

We’d love to hear your thoughts!


Firewise Car Show

As part of the application and renewal process to become a recognized Firewise Community, communities hold an annual “Firewise Day”.   Annual Firewise days are an opportunity for neighbors to work together on their Firewise goals, such as clearing brush and debris from common areas.  They also may invite participation from the local fire and forestry community professionals, and many times Smokey Bear or the local fire truck will make a guest appearance.

On occasion, we see a very creative Firewise Day come along, and I thought I’d share one recent example on our blog.  On March 26, the Wedgefield Firewise community will hold a “Wedgefield Firewise Annual Car Show” in Orlando, Florida.  This is the 3rd annual car show organized by Wedgefield Firewise, a non-profit corporation.  All proceeds from the car show go to providing educational programs to assist Florida residents in protecting their property against wildfires by landscaping, reduction of fuels and accessibility for emergency crews.  This is a unique and effective way to increase visibility of the Wedgefield community’s Firewise efforts, and is a good reminder how fun this event can be.

Other creative Firewise Days activities have included: selling Firewise plants grown by local school groups, volunteering to clean up elderly neighbors’ yards, organizing a Firewise BBQ, inviting CERT to help perform Firewise assessments, conducting a Firewise open house and prescribed burn demonstration with local officials, holding a Firewise information day with educational exhibits, and hosting a Firewise speakers series over breakfast or dinner.

Please feel free to share other Firewise Day activities that your community has done!


Today, there is a new voice heard throughout the firefighting community – and it begins with a WOOF! In honor of Sparky the Fire Dog’s® 60th birthday, Barry Brickey, the public education officer for Kingsport Fire Department in Kingsport, Tenn., has been selected to be the next “Voice of Sparky,” the official mascot of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Barry, who submitted a video to the NFPA in a nationwide competition among the firefighting community, was chosen as one of three finalists out of 25 entries by a panel of NFPA judges. The public cast their votes once a day between February 21 and 28, and Brickey’s supporters came out in full force.

Watch Barry's winning entry:

For additional information on the “Voice of Sparky” contest and other Sparky birthday celebrations throughout the year, visit NFPA’s website at

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