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2013

In December 2012, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm was badly burned while preparing to cook dinner for her children. After wind blew out the flame, propane gas pooled on her grill and became an explosive fireball when Storm attempted to re-ignite it. Only the instinct to close her eyes upon seeing the flame saved her corneas, but her face, neck, chest and hands suffered first- and second-degree burns.

As Super Bowl Sunday draws near, Ms. Storm and NFPA have teamed up to remind consumers about using their outdoor grills safely. Download NFPA’s grilling safety tips sheet and watch Hannah’s recently released video below.

 

February 3 marks not only the Super Bowl, but also the first day of Burn Awareness Week 2013. The week is an opportunity for all burn, fire and life safety educators to spread a message of fire safety throughout local communities. The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is the only national organization helping burn survivors everywhere get back to living with the support, education, and tools needed to thrive again.

Learn more about the great work the Phoenix Society is doing and for more home fire safety tips, check out NFPA's consumer safety page that provides checklists on a number of important fire safety topics.

 


Very few people can lay claim
to having a miniature nature preserve in their backyard. There's the local wild
bird population; the privacy afforded by tall, thick brambles; the lack of
grass that needs mowing; and, of course, the clear and present threat of a fire
fueled by a highly flammable layer of shrubs and close proximity to a
5,000-acre natural area that had not seen a wildland fire in 60 years.


Joanne and Dick Bierschenk,
residents of seven-year Firewise community Cragsmoor, NY, had that precise
situation on their  property. Their home was selected as a Firewise
“demonstration” house. 


 

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The Bierschenks’ home before the demo project


 

To learn about the

demonstration home process, and to see the finished result, visit the 2012 Winter How-to newsletter. 



Backyards and Beyond
Registration for NFPA's 5th Backyards & Beyond® Wildland Fire Education Conference is now available online. The conference will be held November 14 – 16 in Salt Lake City, Utah where experts and stakeholders will gather to discuss wildfire safety issues and best practices for reducing risks.

With more than 50 breakout sessions in five educational tracks, the Backyards and Beyond conference offers leading wildland fire experts, community planners, civic leaders, homeowners and residents, insurance professionals, landscape architects, and physical and social researchers and scientists an opportunity to build relationships and explore answers to important wildland fire safety questions that can be taken back to communities and the workplace. 

A pre-conference workshop, Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone, will be held on November 12-13. The two-day workshop provides important information about fire behavior and structure ignition from wildfires, and helps identify measures residents can take to reduce wildfire risks to their homes.

More information about the conference, workshop, accommodations and transportation can be found on the Firewise website. Registration for both the two-day workshop and the conference is available online, through the mail or by phone. Visit NFPA’s registration page for details. A discounted conference rate is available for those who register before October 11, 2013.

Winter treeAs much as we all like to see frost-covered branches in the winter, especially at Christmas time, ice and snow are not welcome guests when it comes to the safety of your trees. Unfortunately, the trees at the greatest risk are the fast-growing ones that homeowners covet most.  These tend to be brittle, and they easily split apart at weak V-shaped crotches.

Yet, other species of trees are causes for concern as well. Multiple leader, upright evergreens or clump trees (such as juniper and birch) are very susceptible to snow and ice damage, so the smaller members need to be wrapped, while their larger members with wide-spreading leaders benefit from being cabled.

Some tips to keep in mind when dealing with trees vulnerable to winter weather are: Make annual pruning a habit from the time trees are young, plant only strong trees, and make “conical formed” trees a mainstay of your landscaping as they have less branch surface area to encourage snow-buildup.

For more tips, and lists of the best and worst trees to plant in snowy areas, check out the full article in ourwinter 2012 How-To newsletter.

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Australian researcher Dr. Briony Towers shared a story with us this week about 9-year-old Darcy and his mom Fiona's story of survival during a bushfire.  Dr. Towers had recently returned from Tasmania where she interviewed people in fire affected areas, including Darcy and his family. 

Read their story at the Save the Children - Australia site. The details highlight the importance of including children in the planning process so they know their role during evacuation and to take special care with them during the post-fire recovery phase. 

January Fire BreakThe January issue of Fire Break, NFPA’s wildland fire newsletter, is now available for viewing. In this issue, you’ll find:

  • Information about our exciting new Firewise Challenge!
  • A recap of a recent Congressional Briefing regarding the impact climate change is having on wildfire activity
  • A link to Molly Mowery’s column that explores the hidden costs of wildfire and what the numbers mean for preparedness and suppression activities in the future
  • Information about a children’s art contest in California that has encouraged families to work together on wildfire safety projects at home 

… And lots more! We want to continue to share all of this great information with you so don’t miss an issue! So subscribe today. It’s free! Just click here to add your e-mail address to our newsletter list.

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This is the final post in our five part series on NFPA’s recent Wildland Fire Operations Division's report that examines the need and importance of middle and high school age students having a role in reducing community wildfire risks.

Following last summer's six youth community outreach workshops, National Firewise Program staff wanted to also get input from middle and high school teachers in areas recently impacted by a wildfire.  We wanted insight into what the student's had shared about their experiences at school since a large percentage said they received very limited information at school about wildfire preparedness, prevention and mitigation; both before and after their local wildfire.    

An electronic questionnaire was used to get the teacher's input - they were asked about the informational resources they used following the fire; who they look to for wildland fire educational information, if they incorporated wildfire related information into lesson plans, and the best places for students to receive wildland fire information.  It was distributed via email to teachers in four communities. The fires in two of those four communities occurred during the scheduled school year and the other two happened during the summer of 2012.

Teachers were asked if they provided classroom time for a discussion on wildland fire related topics when the students returned to the classroom (shortly after the fire or when the school year resumed), and 38% said they did, but the information shared was very basic. Almost two-thirds said they did not search for grade appropriate wildland fire classroom resources/materials following the fire.

With all the constraints today on a teacher’s time we wanted to know if the classroom isn’t the best place for students to receive wildfire education and awareness information where should it come from (teachers could select multiple choices); and 71% of the respondents said it should come from their local fire department; and another 55% felt it should come from the student’s parents.  Only a third of the responding teachers said there is both time and opportunity for schools in high risk wildfire areas to provide awareness and education information to students. Additional findings are available in the Engaging Youth in Reducing Wildfire Risk - Community Conversation Workshop Findings and Research report. 

The past five blogs have included a small sampling of the information collected at the six community conversation workshops, the extensive literature search and questionnaire to teachers.  I encourage you to take the time to read the report in its entirety and learn why it is important for the youth demographic in areas with a wildfire risk to know the importance of mitigation and general preparedness.  Programs targeted to middle and high school students provide benefits beyond the students themselves, as they have the capacity and ability to impact individuals, neighborhoods, and entire communities.

Empowering youth with life-long knowledge about the importance of mitigation and preparedness impacts both current and future wildland/urban interface land and homeowners; and moves forward the goal of reducing the losses and long-term recovery impacts caused by wildfires each year.

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During the discovery process of researching how to effectively connect with youth about the topics of wildfire safety, prevention and mitigation; Firewise Program staff knew the target audience had to become a large piece of the project and they implemented the don’t do anything about me, without me, concept discussed in yesteryday's blog. 

Connecting with middle and high school students through six wildfire community conversation workshops produced input that was consistent and forthright - and participants voiced what needed to be incorporated to make it impactful.  Attendees adamantly stressed that wildfire safety messages need to be delivered by peers who'd been personally impacted by a wildfire; and if possible include an entire family to make the messages even stronger.  They felt it's important to learn from real people that can make the topic relatable – not actors, celebrities, government officials or politicians. Firefighters were another acceptable delivery mechanism for wildfire messages; but they felt if a teacher was used in that role, they prefer it be one that was (you guessed it) also impacted by a wildfire. Who they want to hear from was loud and clear, but they also want the information to be realistic; not scary, but definitely honest and straightforward.

They believe human-to-human information sharing is much more effective than advertisements in any form. One group adamantly stressed that, “if you want us to pay attention – the messages need to get our attention!”

This demographic expects and demands information that's real without any sugar-coating.  They want to know what's at stake and what they could lose.  Pets and animals of all kinds are very important to them and they want to know how wildfire could impact them.

They might be entrenched in texting, email and Facebook, but the teens we talked with said their most common source of wildfire information is traditional media sources; and tied for the second most frequent source of information was parents and school, followed by the Internet. 

School may have been cited as a common source for information; but the majority of participants said extremely limited information was shared with them at school before or after the fire in their communities; even though all the fires that impacted attendees occurred during months that school was in session.  

The full report on our conversations with youth includes in-depth information on how they want to be reached and the topics they prioritize as important.  In our next blog, we examine the results of a questionnaire distributed to teachers in four communities that recently experienced a wildfire.

http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef017c35f7fef5970b-piSD_chiefSan Diego City Fire Department Fire Prevention Supervisor Eddie Villavicencio graciously met with me to discuss how San Diego neighborhoods can work toward being recognized as Firewise Communities.  We discussed the importance of residents taking responsibility for making their homes and neighborhoods safer with the support of the San Diego City Fire inspectors who go door to door working with residents.  It was a unique experience to be talking about wildfires among the San Diego City Skyscrapers but who would have thought that a wildfire would destroy homes within a city limits.  So wherever you live make sure that you have protected perhaps one of the biggest investments of your lifetime, your home!

It is important to note, that during the 2003 Cedar Fire in San Diego, California over 300 homes were lost in Scripps Ranch.  The map below shows where some homes were destroyed in this neighborhood.  These homes were located within the City of San Diego’s City Limits.

Map_SD
Image 1: Scripps Ranch aerial imagery where red dot represent homes that were destroyed.  Blue dots represent homes that were not burned. (Source: San Diego State University Department of Geography).

SD-2007_1Only four years later during the 2007 fires almost 500,000 San Diego residents were evacuated from 346,000 homes.   200,000 of those evacuated were within the San Diego City limits. This was the largest evacuation in the region’s history.  At the height of the fire, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department had 73 engines, 7 trucks and 420 people deployed.  According to the 2009 National Institute of  Standards and Technology (US Department of Commerce), “Case Study of a Community Affected by the Witch and Guejito Fires”, the neighborhood of Rancho Bernardo a community of 274 residences saw the complete destruction of 74 homes and 16 others were damaged.

As we make resolutions for change, residents in the city and rural areas abutting the wildland urban interface (WUI) can take action before the next years fire season to make changes to their home and surrounding landscape to make their property and families safer during a wildfire event.  There are many simple modifications that can be made to make your home safer such as:

  1. Cleaning gutters of leaves and debris.
  2. Moving woodpiles at least 30 feet away from homes.
  3. Make sure that the area under your deck is free of debris and vegetation.
  4. Make sure that fences and other attachments to the home are fire resistive.  Remember if it is attached to the house it is part of the house.
  5. Make sure that the area around the home itself is well watered especially within the first 30 feet.
  6. Remove all dead vegetation from around the home.  Rake up leaves and remove them.
  7. Trim back tree branches overhanging the roof.
  8. Check your vents to make sure that the screens are cleaned of debris and install ember resistive vents.
  9. Make sure that you have spark arrestors properly installed on your chimney.

For more firewise tips to keep your home safe check out the Firewise Toolkit

Rain 2
NFPA’sHome Ignition Zone Assessment forms are now available on new Rite in the Rain® paper, a special “weather-proof” material that repels rain, sleet and snow. Now, mitigation specialists, fire and emergency professionals, Firewise state liaisons and insurance professionals can conduct home property assessments even in inclement weather. Write with pencil or pen; your notes won't run or smear. These free forms come 50 to a pad; six pads to a package.

Check out our catalog and order yours today!

I recently spoke to Fran Santagata about some of the success stories her community of Roxborough Park has been working on.  Roxborough Park has been a recognized Firewise Communities/USA® site since 2007.  More than 200 thousand dollars have been invested in wildland fire mitigation activities over this period in this community.  This includes grants, in-kind volunteer hours and other funding sources.  The community is home to 3,000 residents and located in Douglas County Colorado. 

Fran as a member of the Roxborough Fire Mitigation Committee pointed me to this wonderful YouTube™ clip that their committee published last year. The mini-documentary is about their Firewise Evacuation Exercise.  All the components of this documentary speak to the idea of a Fire Adapted Community where a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP); Evacuation planning (Ready-Set-Go!); fuel reduction treatments; cooperative fire agreements; local capacity and the Firewise Communites/USA® regognition program is discussed. Enjoy!


 

High School Group - Magnolia, TX
In the Australian study, Children's Knowledge of Bushfire Risk, the authors recognize that to develop bushfire education programs that accommodate the knowledge and perspective of kids - they must be given an opportunity to voice their views.  And in the book, The Power of Positive Deviance - How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World's Toughest Problems, the authors provide the principles needed to achieve a successful social paradigm shift; which includes involving stakeholders and going to improbable places and to unlikely people to find solutions; letting community members provide culturally appropriate expertise; and the concept of don't do anything about me, without me.   

Incorporating those ideas along with input from other successful disaster preparedness programs, NFPA's Firewise Program staff conducted a series of six interactive workshops in Colorado and Texas during the summer of 2012.  The workshops were an opportunity to talk with middle and high school students and their parents that had been recently impacted by a wildland fire. 

In those sessions, the youth we met with shared what they know and don't know about wildfire, the areas they want to learn about, and the best ways to reach and motivate them to undertake actions that will contribute to reducing wildfire risk now and in the future.

At the six two-hour sessions, Firewise staff had the opportunity to talk with 105 students and parents.  Invaluable insight was gained on how to target this demographic and what they want in future programs.  This age group has voluminous potential to motivate both their peers and adults to implement mitigation actions that will make their communities better prepared for a wildfire.

In my next blog I'll share some of what we learned from the students open and honest comments about how to connect and engage with them.  The full Engaging Youth in Reducing Wildfire Risk - Community Conversation Workshop Findings and Research can be accessed on the Youth and Families tab on the Firewise site. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently published the 2012 annual wildfire report.  According to the report this past year was the worst on record over the last 13 years, if  one considers the average wildfire size.  The average  wildfire was more than 85 acres per incident and reinforces the idea that the size of the wildfires is increasing over time and therefore increasing the overall fire burden on our nation.

NOAA

Graph 1: US Annual Wildfire Activity 2000-2012

It is important to note that this report was based only on data collected by the National Interagency Fire Center and does not acccount for all wildfires.  Many of the wildfires handled at the local or county level are recorded in another data base known as the National Fire Incident Reporting system that is managed by the US Fire Administration.

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In yesterday's blog on NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations Division's report Engaging Youth in Reducing Wildfire Risk I provided a quick look at the virtually nonexistence of wildfire programs for youth that focus on prevention, preparedness, mitigation and the science of the home ignition zone.  In this segment we'll focus on the topic's existing research.

During the summer of 2010, FEMA published Bringing Youth Preparedness Education to the Forefront:  A LIterature Review and Recommendations.  Their report found children can play a special role in communicating preparedness information to friends and family members, and children are seen as a trusted source of information, as well as good messengers.

Prior to the reports below (published 2008-2012), there was basically no research available on wildfire education programs for youth.  Authors of the Evolution of Smokey Bear report published in 2012, found the majority of programs for older children don't include personal and home safety information; and fail to address the science of home ignition.  The topic of wildfire is often wrapped into other curriculm, and is frequently a subtopic to a larger theme; while programs created by agencies and brought into schools are very difficult to fund, sustain and replicate.  None of the youth programs reviewed addressed the issue of children's needs when wildfire has impacted their homes and community.

Research on youth and wildfire education programs reviewed for the Firewise Program report include those listed below.  I highly recommend you read these excellent studies:

After finding a lack of information on what youth believe they want and need regarding wildfire safety, information and resources; Firewise Communities Program staff engaged teens and parents in six interactive conversational workshops on the topic. Tomorrow we'll share what we learned from those groups in part three of this series.


 

In 2006, wildfire practitioners from South Africa (now known as the Forest Fire Association Non Profit Company , or FFA NPC) met NFPA’s Firewise staff at a Backyards and Beyond conference.  The South African representatives learned about the Firewise Communities Program in the U.S. and received Firewise information for potential application in South Africa. 


Since that time, FFA NPC has built their Firewise program by adapting Firewise concepts to suit African and other developing country situations.  These efforts are encouraging broad-based dissemination and ownership of the concepts in poor, deep rural and urban communities.


 

When NFPA and FFA NPC staff met again in 2011 at the th 5<sup>th </sup>International Wildland Fire Conference  in Sun City, South Africa, it became clear that there were many opportunities for renewed collaboration on Firewise and other wildfire outreach efforts.&#0160; As a result, the two organizations recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to acknowledge their existing relationship, formalize a pathway for sharing lessons learned, promote the Firewise program within each organization’s country, and continue support of international relationships that tackle global wildfire mitigation issues.&#0160;


 

This MOU reinforces NFPA’s commitment to international outreach with wildfire partners across the globe.&#0160; In 2011, NFPA also signed an MOU with the Canadian non-profit association, Partners in Protection . That MOU has proven to be an active instrument for both organizations to openly share research, best practices and lessons learned related to wildfire science and mitigation.


NFPA staff are excited to have these opportunities to reach across borders and work with communities and organizations from all corners of the planet in an effort to keep communities safer from wildfire. Stay tuned for continued information about our international outreach and collaboration with organizations in South Africa, Canada, and other countries.

 

JOF_COVERA recent research article in the latest Society of American Foresters Journal of Forestry, December 2012 discusses the importance of community wildfire protection planning in engaging residents and other stakeholders in efforts to address their mutual concern about wildland fire management, hazardous fuel and forest health project prioritization.  It was interesting to note that of the 13 Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) that were studied 7 of these communities have one or more recognized Firewise Communities/USA® sites located within the geographical bounds of the CWPP planning area .  Since the inception of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act in 2003 there have been literally thousands of CWPP’s written across the nation.  My hope is that one of the outcomes of all of this hard work is that more and more communities take the opportunity commit to the Firewise Communities/USA recognition program.  The benefits of this voluntary approach results in community action in a critical area that the government agencies do not have domain - the private landowner/homeowner site and the shared common spaces that exist within these critical areas where life and property are most at risk.

Some of the more salient best management practices that were identified by the article include:

  1. Paying attention to framing the problem
  2. Choosing the correct scale where participants can make things happen
  3. Taking steps to facilitate implementation and long-term success

All three of those points are also relevant and should be a part of the conversation when a community, neighborhood or sub-division is trying to become a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site.  The beauty of the Firewise Communities/USA program is that it is voluntary, flexible, provides a planning and organizational template with the commitment and understanding that there will be an annual wildland fire mitigation investment, annual Firewise day and renewal process.  The net result of this recognition is tangible, sustainable action and awareness in the most critical area within the wildland-urban interface – your family, your home, your neighbors.

http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138994834Fire_Safe_councile_1

Register for the 'free' upcoming California Fire Safe Council Wildfire Prevention and Education Conference on January 30, 2013 at the Gaia Hotel & Conference Center in Anderson, California.  Details included in the registration link provided.

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After a year of travelling around the country discussing and promoting the Firewise Communities/USA® recognition program, I have often had to answer the following question:  ‘Where does the Firewise Communities/USA program fit in the grand scheme of things?’

After thinking about this question for some time I decided to create a simple diagram (see image 1) that would help provide some context and enhance my response when trying to explain the Firewise Communities/USA®recognition program to the audience that I serve. 

Conceptually the term I use to describe the diagram is the ‘WUI decision-making continuum’.  WUI administration at various scales spans the 'continuum'.  The left representing the community at large including the surrounding landscape (forest, grassland, and watershed) and the right focused solely on the individual building. As one scales up the WUI problem set the more complex the decision making becomes and vice versa; as one scales down the WUI problem set the less complex the decision making becomes resulting in the need for different ‘decision-making’ approaches that are designed to fit a specific WUI administration scale. The more right one goes along this continuum a more mechanistic decision-making approach to the WUI problem is appropriate; and the more left one goes a more holistic decision-making approach is appropriate. 

WUI DM_continuum
Image 1: WUI decison-making continuum: Fire Adapted Communities™; Firewise Communities/USA®; Firewise Principles; Fire Resistive Materials

In essence the Firewise Communities/USA® recognition program is designed to affect the decision-making process at the neighborhood or subdivision scale on through to the individual building scale and results in voluntary community action. 

The Fire Adapted Communities™ outreach initiative is broader in context and includes the whole ‘WUI decision-making continuum’. It is designed to not only encompass the Firewise Communities/USA® recognition strategy, but a whole host of other strategies like: Community Wildfire Protection Plans, Ready, Set, Go!, cooperative fire agreements, codes and ordinances, land management, local capacity building and fire prevention and education.

Although seemingly complicated all these strategies work together with one purpose in mind - to reduce the wildland fire burden across the United States.

Firefighter stressors
In what may come as no surprise to members of the fire service, a new report from CareerCast.com, a job database that also offers career advice for employees, ranked firefighting as the third most stressful job in the U.S. for 2013. Topping the list were enlisted military personnel, followed by military generals. (By comparison, university professors have the least amount of job stressors, according to the report.)

The rankings were determined by analyzing 200 different professions, measuring work environment, job competitiveness, and job risks. The report cites an NFPA analysis linking the stress of firefighting with heart attacks or other sudden cardiac events.

Provisions in NFPA 1500, Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, address the harmful effects of job-related stress through the  development of a Critical Incident Stress Program. Focusing on incidents  affecting firefighters’ psychological and physical well-being, the  program deals with fatalities involving children, mass casualties, and  injuries involving colleagues.

For more information on the most and least stressful job professions, read the CareerCast.com report.

-Fred Durso

Every year, the USDA Forest Service spends an extraordinary amount of money fighting wildfires. The budget for these activities in 2012 was nearly $2 billion dollars, the bulk of which went to fire suppression costs — aviation, engines, firefighting crews, agency personnel, and more — to protect threatened communities, people and property. Soon, the federal government will announce its 2013 budget for wildfire management activities, and the price tag, no doubt, won't be any less than it was last year.

According to Molly Mowery in her latest Wildfire Watch column in the January/February 2013 issue of NFPA Journal, one of the problems associated with this very large number is that it’s often interpreted as the “cost” of wildfire, when in fact it’s more like the tip of the iceberg of what wildfire actually costs.

In an era that strives to be more fiscally responsible, Molly says decision makers must understand that costly wildfire disasters and long-term budget draining recoveries can be pre-empted by effective planning and pre-fire measures.

Read the full article (and check out Molly's video below) to learn more about these costs, and why knowing the true amount can ultimately help wildfire prevention efforts across the country.

 

January 2013 artwork

Long regarded as a progressive leader in community-based wildfire awareness efforts, the Napa Firewise Program in northern California developed a children's art contest around the theme Wildfire Hurts Everyone.  The goal of the contest was to capture and share through art the dangers of wildfire as visualized by young artists. Roger Archey with Napa Firewisedescribed the artwork as, "Sincere and very sobering."

Once a month over the next year we'll highlight one of the contest's young artists in our Fire Break Blog. This month's featured artist is 8 year-old Aurora Schueler.

Sharing the artwork monthly provides multiple opportunities to remind parents about the importance of having family conversations about projects they can all do together to reduce wildfire risks, what causes a wildfire, and the importance of everyone knowing the family's evacuation plan.

Our thanks to Napa Firewise a non-profit foundation dedicated to wildfire prevention and awareness for sharing their project with NFPA's Firewise Communities Program. We're looking forward to introducing you to eleven more pieces of artwork created by these wonderful young artists!

Challenge

 It’s time to give wildfire disasters the one-two punch!

 You’ve heard us say this before:  Wildfires happen. It’s not a matter of if, but when. The National Fire Protection Association asks, are you prepared? Join us in our mission to create: 1,000 Safer Places: The Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program Challenge.

What’s the Challenge, you ask? NFPA is asking community residents across the U.S. to develop an action plan and participate in wildfire mitigation activities to help reduce their neighborhoods’ risk of a wildfire threat.

But what about those of us who are already engaged in wildfire mitigation safety or are an official Firewise site, you ask? We say, all the better! By continuing to follow the steps outlined by the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program and submitting a final application by the end of the year, your community will keep its official status as a Firewise Communities/USA site, and it will automatically be entered into the Challenge.

For new communities that are not a part of the recognition program or have not engaged in wildfire safety mitigation efforts before but want to be, we also encourage you to participate in the Challenge. Gather your neighbors together and follow the same steps outlined in the Program, submit a final application by the end of the year, and your community will be on its way to receiving the national recognition it deserves! Like the communities who renew their recognition status, once you’ve submitted your application, your community will be automatically entered into the Challenge.

But wait, there’s more! Not only is the mitigation work you do important for keeping your home and community safer from wildfire, five communities will also receive the grand prize of $5,000 each to be used for contracting services or equipment rental to help you continue your mitigation activities throughout the year including chipping of brush, removal of vegetative material, noxious weed remediation and similar activities. Five additional communities will receive the “runner-up prize” of a wildfire mitigation package with loppers, gloves, safety glasses, and more that will help you work on reducing wildfire hazards in the community!

The Challenge runs from January 1 – December 31, 2013.

 Check out the Firewise website for more detailed information, rules and guidelines and the resources you need to start participating in the Challenge today. 

Now’s the time to get recognized. What are you waiting for? 

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