“It’s important to have homeowners who understand that they have a role to play and that taking action is extremely helpful to reducing the overall wildfire exposure risk for their community,” says Mark Goeller, State Fire Management Chief for Oklahoma Forestry Services. Goeller, who was interviewed in the most recent issue of the Firewise “How To” newsletter, discussed the changes in wildfire awareness and management in his state, and the benefits of the Firewise program, drawing knowledge from his more than 25 years of experience in the field. Oklahoma, which has risen to 9th in the nation with the Firewise Communities Program, has seen an increase in wildfire activity in recent years. Last August the state lost 580 homes in the first weekend of the month alone due to drought. But according to Goeller, “even small actions taken by the homeowner matter.”
Mark Goeller, State Fire Management Chief for Oklahoma Forestry Services
Goeller says one of the strengths of the Firewise Communities Program is its emphasis on personal responsibility. “The bottom line is, when a wildfire strikes, we don’t have enough resources to allocate and defend every single house that is exposed. Taking personal responsibility for wildfire preparedness around the home and maintaining defensible space matters.”
To find out more about the development of the Firewise program in Oklahoma and to read Goeller’s mitigation tips, check out the Fall 2013 issue of the Firewise “How To” newsletter.