The bonus issue of NFPA Journal this year is all about wildfire. One of the features in that issue, written by Michele Steinberg, details the Firewise program, at the leading edge of NFPA’s wildfire efforts, which marks its tenth year of helping communities prepare for fire.
Damaging wildfires have dominated U.S. news headlines since the beginning of the year, as stories have tumbled, domino-like, out of Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona, then back to Texas and the Southeast. What’s really news for NFPA, however, among the reports of crisis and disaster, are the mentions of Firewise®. In the first six months of 2011, well over 100 stories have made it into major market media outlets talking about how communities are using Firewise to actively prepare to face the wildfire threat.
Firewise is a term coined by NFPA and its partners in 1993 to describe a vision of communities and homes where residents have learned how to build, design, and maintain neighborhoods that can survive compatibly with the natural phenomena of brush, grass, and forest fires. NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program has developed tools and techniques based on wildland fire science to advise and inform homeowners, builders, firefighters, and community leaders on the most effective ways to prepare homes to resist ignition from wildland fire. Its national recognition program, Firewise Communities/USA®, was launched in 2002 to provide a simple action template for neighbors to work together for greater wildfire safety.