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JimPauley150The NFPA Board of Directors voted unanimously to name Jim Pauley of Lexington, Kentucky as the next president of NFPA. Pauley is currently senior vice president of External Affairs and Government Relations for Schneider Electric and will assume his new role in July.

Pauley has served in a number of codes and standards-related activities including chairman of the board for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), chairman of NFPA’s Standards Council and chair of the High Performance Building Council for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).

Read more on the NFPA Today blog. 

The Walden neighborhood in Clayton, NC contains all of the elements of an idyllic community, complete with vast expanses of forests and rustic homes placed snugly between the trees. Living in a forested community brings with it the tranquility that comes with having nature as an integral part of the neighborhood. However, with a wooded environment also comes the increased risk of wildfire.

To address growing concerns over wildfires and their potential for disastrous effects within the community, Walden, with the assistance of the Clayton Fire Department, the North Carolina Forest Service, the USDA-Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), has taken the steps to become nationally recognized as a Firewise community. Throughout their Firewise process, the Walden community created several projects and community outreach programs, such as hosting a Firewise Community Day, where the entire neighborhood was invited to a day of fire education and information sharing. Thanks to their efforts, Walden is now the first community in Johnston County to achieve the honor of being recognized as a Firewise community.

To learn more about Walden’s Firewise efforts, read the full press release here

Walden firewise award presentation


NFPA multimedia manager Bob Finn introduces a new app for mobile devices. The app is a valuable tool that will help you stay current on all the latest news, information and resources from the National Fire Protection Association.

Download it at iTunes or Google Play.

Children, technology, Lego® and one of the Fire Adapted Learning Network hubs in Leavenworth, Washington [Chumstick Wildfire Stewardship Coalition] converge to create a wonderful three minute YouTube video "Hey Guys, Be Firewise".  The Val's Robotic Club from the Valley Academy of Learning are participating in this years First Lego League competition. Enjoy!


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Harry Campbell for NFPA Journal

There's apparently more to social media than merely posting and receiving mundane status updates. Take Superstorm Sandy and the 2010 Haiti earthquake, for example, when crucial information from victims and emergency agencies was found on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels.


As the public increasingly turns to social media during emergencies, actions and conversations are taking place that aim to bolster the use of these tools. The latest cover story in +NFPA Journal+ highlights these efforts, including major endeavors by the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and NFPA. For instance, an NFPA task group comprised of committee members from NFPA 1600, +Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs+, is attempting to develop language on social media use for the standard's 2016 edition.

"If social media is able to push out emergency information to critical audiences, we have to be able to use all of these tools," says Jo Robertson, chair of the NFPA 1600 task group. "Social media use is a reality. We all have to get past the notion that this is something we can ignore."


Get more details in the latest edition of +NFPA Journal,+ which includes tips on social media use during all stages of an emergency and incidents of social media informing and misinforming. Also, add comments to a LinkedIn group discussing how the public and private sector are using social media.<br /></p>


In Firewise communities across the nation, residents continue to work hard at reducing their wildfire risk. !|src=|alt=Toasting pic|style=margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;|title=Toasting pic|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a3fc8b59bc970b img-responsive!By joining the Firewise program or renewing their recognition status in 2013, these communities have played a critical role in the National Fire Protection Association’s &#0160;campaign to create 1,000 safer places from wildfire. Now, the NFPA wishes to celebrate this success with all of the Firewise communities across the country with a national salute on March 1st


To learn more about the “A Salute to the National Firewise Family” event check out the information on the Firewise website. We look forward to celebrating with you!




Black Forest Video snippet - Jan 2014

Soon after the June 2013 Black Forest Fire (the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history) took two lives, destroyed 486 homes and burned more than 14,000 acres of ponderosa pine forest, area stakeholders began work on a collaborative visual learning tool for residents in their combined jurisdictions.  The video’s objective was to visually communicate the need for increased and continuous wildfire mitigation that reduces the risk from future fires.

The immense power and importance of community-wide mitigation is highlighted and reiterated throughout the thirteen minute video "Protecting Our Homes, Our Firefighters and Our Forests." Firefighters, homeowners and wildfire risk reduction advocates provide moving testimonials and success stories that will resonate with WUI residents everywhere. The video will be used by fire departments in the Black Forest and surrounding areas to educate and motivate residents about the importance of proactive mitigation in making the places where they live safer for both residents and responding firefighters; along with the benefits and value it provides as a means for preserving a wildland-urban lifestyle, the environment and their financial investment.

This video has relevancy for everyone that lives in an area with a wildfire risk and provides vivid examples that reinforce the importance and need for community members at all levels to work together in reducing their risk.  The video is short and impactful and makes an excellent addition to presentations from fire departments, homeowner associations,  insurance companies and elected officials.

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

  • Find a link to a documentary produced by the Weather Channel that highlights the Yarnell Hill Fire and the state of wildfire in the U.S. today.
  • Read about the keynote speaker at NFPA’s 2013 Backyards and Beyond conference, Faith Ann Heinsch, who talks about climate change and the impact it will have on future wildfire activity.
  • Learn about the importance of creating “defensible space” in neighborhoods and how NFPA’s home ignition zone workshops provide training for assessing wildfire risk around homes and property.
  • Get the news about NFPA’s “toast” to our 2013 recognized Firewise communities hosted on Facebook.

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

The Austin Fire Department (AFD) is demonstrating great leadership in proactively assisting neighborhoods in Austin.  Justice Jones (Senior Environmental Compliance Specialist, AFD) forwarded me this news clip demonstrating some of this great work. Over the past 2 years the AFD has taken progressive steps to create and establish a Wildfire Mitigation Management Division.  Prior to this Division, elements of the wildfire mitigation activities were shared assignments, with little corporate knowledge or cooperation.  This new development brings purpose and focus to this emerging Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) issue and addresses it from the City government perspective. 

 According to Justice prior to the Austin City project discussed in the video, the recognized Firewise Communities/USA® neighborhood of Jester Estates in northwest Austin organized a clean-up day that resulted in 79 tons of woody material being removed from the Home Ignition Zones of this community.  Truly a remarkable effort in reducing the structure ignition potential within this community. 

The highly praised report Lessons from Waldo Canyon and its companion video, Creating Fire Adapted Communities: A Case Study from Colorado Springs and the Waldo Canyon Fire is now available on DVD!  

The report and video are based on interviews, field visits and tours of the City’s most affected neighborhoods conducted by the FAC Coalition’s assessment team during a three day visit to the area in July 2012.  These resources share the post-fire field investigation, and stress the importance of communities becoming fire adapted.

Visit's resource page to request your free copy or watch the video below:



When it comes to spreading Firewise &#0160;awareness, sometimes it just takes a dedicated community to show how effective Firewise techniques can be. &#0160;In the case of Itasca County (pronounced “Eye-taskuh”), Minnesota, a number of communities have been working on various wildfire mitigation projects for years due to the increased risk of wildfires in the area, particularly during the peak summer months. In doing so, not only have wildfires been prevented, but other communities in the state are&#0160;beginning to catch on as well. Through 2012, 11 Itasca County communities became recognized as Firewise, with another four being added in 2013. Through their efforts, the number of Firewise neighborhoods in Minnesota is sure to grow.


Read more about the Itasca County Firewise efforts and their growth in the Winter 2013/14 Firewise How-To Newsletter!



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!|src=|alt=FW_Thermometer_Handlink|style=margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;|title=FW_Thermometer_Handlink|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a510eeb0ee970c!It&#39;s January 2014 and the Firewise Challenge has officially come to a close! Thanks to all of the communities who renewed their status and welcome to the communities that are new to the program in 2013.


We know everyone is excited to learn who won the challenge so stay tuned for the official announcement &#0160;the week of February 3. The announcement will be made on our Fire Break blog, on the web and through social media.


While the official cut-off date for the renewals for the Challenge was December 31, NFPA will still be accepting applications through February 15...but remember, the applications and renewals we receive after December 31 will not count towards the Firewise Challenge. &#0160;However, your Firewise Communities/USA recognition status will be valid through 2014. &#0160;Login and renew your Firewise status here .


To celebrate your achievements of 2013 please join us for a Firewise Toast on March 1, 2014. &#0160;

!|src=|alt=|style=padding: 0; margin: 0; border: 0; display: block; width: 80px; max-width: 100%;!Join the Firewise Challenge and get recognized!

Stay or goAn intense wildfire near the Australian city of Perth has claimed the life of a 62-year-old man who was trying to save his house.

The Associated Press reports that the man collapsed and died on the roof of his home while hosing it down in an attempt to shield it from burning embers. The house itself wasn't damaged, but 49 others were destroyed from the wildfire.

Australia does have a "Stay and Defend or Leave Early" policy, which was highlighted in an NFPA Journal feature story. NFPA hasn't taken a formal position on this policy but does provide important safety information on actions people should take during wildfires. Get additional emergency preparedness tips here.


The California Fire Science Consortium is sponsoring its latest "WUI Module" webinar this Thursday, January 16 at 11 am Pacific. Join Molly Mowery, president of Wildfire Planning International, as she discusses actions and strategies that local communities are initiating across the country to be a Fire Adapted Community.  

This webinar discusses tangible and innovative methods in which national Fire Adapted Communities (FAC’s) are moving forward.  Over the last few years, many have been introduced to the term Fire Adapted Communities through national policy and programs.  Many communities have embraced FAC concepts and are displaying positive results on the ground.  What do these efforts look like?  Who is engaged with moving them forward? This presentation will quickly recap FAC’s history, but focus primarily on how ideas are transformed into actions through both national pilot communities and local activities.  Specific examples will be highlighted from the FAC Learning Network, Cohesive Strategy, and other programs.

Free and easy registration at Sign up soon as space is limited.

Alert Fire Break reader Dick Mangan of Missoula, Montana, contacted us about the December issue in which he pointed out the significant difference between annual wildfires reported to NIFC (see "Wildfire drop but don't stop in 2013") in the top article, and immediately following, NFPA's Brush, Grass & Forest Fires study with numbers derived through NFIRS (the National Fire Incident Reporting System). At first glance, these numbers do look "crazy," as Dick pointed out in his email. 

There's a reason that NIFC's average number of wildfires from 2007-2011 is about 77,900, and NFIRS estimates are showing more than 334,000 annual brush, grass and forest fires. Definitions are part of it, but one of the major factors is who is reporting the fires and through what system. NIFC's data comes from situation reports on individual incidents from state and federal firefighting agencies. The NFIRS data is derived from annual reports from more than 23,000 US fire departments. Analysis of this large database (the world's largest national annual database of fire incidents) requires the use of estimates in reporting.

NFPA's study provides a good explanation of the differences between the two systems, and notes that "an unknown portion of the fires included in their [NIFC's} statistics were also handled by local fire departments and are also counted in NFPA’s estimates. At present, the different data collections systems are independent and it is not possible to confidently connect them."

One of the interesting things about NFPA's study is that it tells the non-federal lands side of the wildfire story that also is, largely, a story about fires outside the Western states. Thousands of fires are occurring annually on lands where local fire departments are the first (and often only) responders. They might be small fires and they might not burn down homes every time, but significant local resources are applied to responding and fighting these fires. 

NFPA has been working over the last couple of years to engage with all of the interested parties in the important work of more accurate and integrated wildfire data collection and reporting. There have been great collaborative efforts among federal, state and local partners thus far. NFPA's Hylton Haynes is exploring how NFPA might help improve the NFIRS framework through such means as updating its standard for incident reporting and fire protection data (see 

For more about how NFPA crunches the NFIRS numbers, see the study's Appendix C or feel free to contact NFPA's Fire Analysis & Research Division.

One of NFPA's most popular wildland fire safety resources is its "Getting Started with Firewise" kit. We're happy to announce that the latest edition is now available through our online catalog.

Blog"Getting Started" provides resources and information for residents who want to raise awareness of their community's wildfire risk, and it provides guidance on the kinds of mitigation activities neighbors can work on together to help reduce the threat of wildfire damage to homes and property.

The information contained in the kit is perfect for homeowners, Firewise state liaisons, wildland fire mitigation specialists, insurance professionals and the fire service. 

Check it out today!

I've yet to meet someone who's list of wildfire mitigation projects has sufficient funding to implement all the activities they need to get accomplished. At every level from a small neighborhood, to rural county and large municipality, the funding for chippers, a slash site, or the personnel to do assessments is often difficult to secure. 

Lack of financial resources is frequently a barrier to wildfire risk reduction actions, and funding resources are an important component in bringing the fire adapted community concept to fruition.  Although opportunities are not abundant, and long-range planning is often needed to be successful in gaining financial support; assistance does exist from many sources on the federal, regional, state, county and local levels. The most commonly found resources are often targeted to states or local jurisdictions, and others solely to fire departments; but with perseverance, diligence and a collaborative mindset, there could be an opportunity out there that matches your present, or future project’s needs.

To assist with your funding search, a resource section and state-by-state directory has been added to  Check out the page today and come back frequently for updated information.  If there’s a grant or other funding opportunity that you'd like to share with others, let us know and we’ll get it added.

According to the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, the state agency is now accepting applications for a second round of grants under the Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program. This phase will provide $5.8 million in grants to reduce the risk of wildfire in areas where human development and forested lands overlap, areas often called the wildland-urban interface. 

The program, created under Senate Bill 13-269 and passed last year by the Colorado General Assembly, is focused on projects that reduce the risk for damage to property, infrastructure, and water supplies, and those that limit the likelihood of wildfires spreading into populated areas. Funds will be directed to non-federal lands within Colorado. 

The first round of grants, totaling just over $4 million, was awarded to 25 recipients in 16 counties in August.

Eligible applicants include community groups, local governments, utilities, state agencies and non-profit groups. Applicants must contribute 100 percent matching funds, which can include in-kind resources, for a 50-50 grant-to-match ratio. Applicants must also identify plans to make use of the woody material resulting from the projects. Those plans can include using the materials for biomass energy and/or traditional forest products. 

Examples of projects considered for funding include:

  • Creation of defensible space around homes and structures, based on Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) guidelines.
  • Construction of fuel breaks, based on CSFS guidelines.
  • Fuels reduction beyond defensible space, designed to protect water supplies and/or reduce fire intensity.

The application deadline is March 13, 2014, with awards anticipated in early May. Visit for details and application forms.

If you haven't seen it, the Denver Post posted recently a special documentary called, "The Fire Line: Wildfire in Colorado" highlighting the recent wildfires in Colorado and their impact on residents and the environment.

Part of the documentary focused on the Waldo Canyon Fire and highlighted scenes from the FAC coalition's 2013 video, Creating Fire Adapted Communities: A Case Study from Colorado Springs and the Waldo Canyon Fire.” If you haven't seen it, make it a point to. The video tells an important story about the City of Colorado Springs and its decade-long effort to prepare for wildfire. 

A companion report, "Lessons Learned from Waldo Canyon" is also available. Both the FAC coalition video and report were created in an effort to share the post-fire field investigation (of Waldo Canyon) and stress the importance of communities becoming fire adapted.

NFPA News appStay connected with NFPA wherever you go! Our NFPA News mobile app, available for donwloading from both iTunes and Google Play, provides the latest happening in the fire, electrical and life safety industry. This application allows users to access all of the breaking news, code developments, public safety, social media updates, and multimedia in one easy to use to package.

“We created this app as a way to provide useful information and updates that will contribute to fire safety at every level,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “The app is a great source for safety information and serves as a quick reference guide for anyone dealing with fire, electrical and life safety codes and standards.”  

The free NFPA News mobile app provides instantly updated news releases, fire prevention research, blogs, videos, social media posts, and links to journal articles at your fingertips.

It's hard to believe that NFPA's Backyards & Beyond conference was two months ago, but the good news is, all of the great learning you acquired there doesn't have to be a memory. Now you can find many of these presentations online on our conference website! The materials are in PDF form and available to download.

BybAnd while you're at it, don't forget to visit our Backyards & Beyond conference blog. There you'll find videos, photos and blog posts of your favorite moments during the event. It's a great way to relive all of the fun you had and the relationships you built in the heart of Salt Lake City.

Thanks to everyone who attended. We look forward to seeing you (and a whole host of new faces) in 2015! Stay tuned for more information on that .... soon!

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