This year has demonstrated the trend that wildfires are burning larger than ever, and NFPA's Firewise Communities Program is urging homeowners to take action to reduce the risk of losing their homes and property to wildfires.
September 2012 marks the first anniversary of the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. The Bastrop County Complex Fire destroyed more than 1,600 homes before it was extinguished in October 2011. While this record-breaking wildfire left lasting effects on the state, the Steiner Ranch neighborhood is a shining example of resilience and progress, as residents have come together to start anew – rebuilding using Firewise guidelines for home construction and landscape design and maintenance. This included taking part in a community fuel reduction day in which flammable brush and debris were removed and adequate space between trees and homes was created.
As September is National Preparedness Month, now is the time for millions of residents across the country to prepare themselves and protect their homes from the continued risk of wildfire. Contrary to common perception, a wildfire does not have to burn everything in its path. In fact, clearing property of debris and maintaining landscaping are important, yet simple, first steps for homeowners.
Residents can take certain actions to reduce the risk of home and property becoming fuel for a wildfire – actions that have saved communities such as Cedar Heights in Colorado Springs earlier this year. A comprehensive Firewise tips checklist for homeowners is available on the Firewise website.