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2014

Logo with year and TM - Feb 2014
Final preparations for this Saturday’s inaugural nationwide Wildfire Community Preparedness Day are taking place in neighborhoods, towns and counties everywhere. Here's just a sampling of three that demonstrate the diversity, energy, empowerment and grassroots efforts occurring May 3: 

  • The Quincy High School S Club in northeastern California will be helping elderly residents prepare their properties for wildfires.  Steven Ross is organizing the teens and says, “We have already had several small fires around Plumas County.  Community wildfire preparedness day will have young members of our community involved in helping seniors and at the same time providing a safer environment for firefighters to work, if a wildfire were to happen.” 
  • In the picturesque City of Durango in southwestern Colorado, a fuels-reduction project will take place in a city open space area through a collaborative partnership that includes the city, La Plata County, Fire Smart (a Wildfire Mitigation Professionals Association) and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.  A hands-on demonstration will show how to effectively reduce hazardous fuels and provide an opportunity for volunteers to participate in the project.  Mitigation contractors will demonstrate how-to limb a tree, stack a slash pile and provide safety information for using a chipper. 
  • The Austin Texas Fire Department in partnership with the Joint Wildfire Task Force is planning a five-hour event at the Big Tex Auditorium that will connect residents with subject matter experts for a series of interactive workshops and opportunities to help local residents in their fight against wildfire.

It’s not too late to plan a project for Saturday - activities can be done at an individual home, in a neighborhood, or throughout a community.  A list of easily accomplishable project ideas can be found on the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day site and don't forget to add your activity to the “Put Your Project on the Map” feature to help visually demonstrate the efforts being done nationwide to make communities better prepared for a future wildfire, or reduce impacts from a recent fire.  Share your project photos at facebook.com/firewise and use the hashtag #WildfirePrepDay to encourage others and to highlight accomplishments.

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While the upcoming 2014 NFPA Conference & Expo has over 150 informative sessions related to the fire and life safety industries, this year’s event will also feature presentations related to wildfire safety that can improve your understanding of wildfire issues and even provide some helpful tips and ideas for expanding your community’s Firewise and Fire Adapted capabilities.  For example, NFPA’s very own Ryan Depew will present “NFPA Wildland Standards Development: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going,” along with other staff experts who will touch on such topics as creating community wildfire protection plans and evaluating the vulnerability of vents to the entry of embers during wildfires. These wildfire sessions are something you don’t want to miss during your time at the conference.

For more information about the upcoming wildfire presentations and the Conference & Expo, check out the newest edition of the Firewise How-To Newsletter!

To view the full lineup of presentations being offered at this year’s Conference & Expo, visit the conference’s main page!

As a great many of you know, to help residents across the U.S. prepare for the possibility of wildfire and help reduce the risk of damage to homes and neighborhoods, NFPA, with generous support from State Farm, is sponsoring the first national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Much has been done to promote Preparedness Day but one of the most exciting outreach projects NFPA has engaged in includes a radio media tour organized with the help of Lyons PR, a broadcast PR firm in Maryland. The tour promoted NFPA’s key wildfire messages, including the role homeowners can play in wildfire safety efforts and what they can do to join the cause on May 3.  IMG_1399

Cathy Prudhomme, in NFPA’s Denver office, took the lead in the radio tour, participating in 21 interviews over four days. The interviews included national, statewide and regional networks and local outlets. The most notable included ABC Radio News, MarketWatch Radio Network, Texas State Network and Oklahoma News Network.

Kudos to Cathy for spreading the word about wildfire safety and preparedness, and drumming up even more excitement about our May 3 event!

Take a listen (below) to one of the live interviews Cathy participated in:  It's from the morning news show on WKFBK in Sacramento, CA. Additional interviews will go live on May 3!

NFPA is celebrating Mother Earth throughout the month of April, and today, we are setting our sights on Earth Day with our Earth Smart Checklist. Earth

The checklist, developed by NFPA’s public education and wildfire divisions, is a great resource for kids and families and includes tasks everyone can do together. By implementing the action items on the list, you’ll not only stay safer from wildfire, but you will be helping protect animals, trees, plants and your home.

Check out the Earth Smarts “cool-to-do” section of Sparky’s website to download the checklist and get more tips and ideas to “stay green” this year!

In preparation for Earth Day tomorrow, April 22, Switchyard Media has summarized the recent UN report on the effects of climate change in an informative and interesting infographic shown below.

It just so happens that Faith Ann Heinsch, PhD, a physical scientist at the USDA Forest Service, spoke about the effect that climate change has on wildfire to a rapt audience at NFPA's 2013 Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference, Read our conference blog post to learn about Ms. Heinsch's latest research and check out the infographic below. What will you be doing on Earth Day to help protect our home and beloved planet?

Infographic

  Photo Individual and Community Preparedness Awards - April 2014                                Photo:  Montana Mitigation Bus Tour

Thousands of communities nationwide have implemented wildfire preparedness efforts that make them outstanding applicants for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Awards.  At NFPA, we hear amazing success stories about outstanding efforts implemented by participants in the Firewise Communities/USA Program and about communities implementing Fire Adapted Communities initiatives.

The awards highlight innovative local practices and achievements by recognizing individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions toward making their communities safer, stronger and better prepared. Acknowledge the work you or someone you know has done to build a more resilient nation. 

To be considered for this year’s awards, applications must be received by May 30, 2014 and need to feature program activities that took place from January 1, 2013 to May 30, 2014. These awards are an opportunity to recognize the individual and organizations working hard at making where they live a safer place.

Award categories include:

  • Community Preparedness Heroes
  • Outstanding Youth Preparedness Initiatives
  • Awareness to Action
  • Preparing the Whole Community

Winners will be announced during fall 2014 and will be FEMA’s honored guests at a community preparedness roundtable event.

We encourage communities to apply today!

MissouriHIZ

Earn valuable Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and expand your knowledge about effective wildfire hazard mitigation techniques at the upcoming 2-day workshop on May 31-June 1 sponsored by the Southwest Missouri Resource Conservation & Development Council and the Missouri Department of Conservation's Forestry Division.

When adequately prepared, a home or structure may be able to withstand a wildland fire without the intervention of the fire service. In fact, a house and its surrounding community can be safe and compatible with the area’s ecosystem. Applying Firewise principles enables communities in all parts of the United States to achieve a high level of protection against wildland/urban interface fire as well as a sustainable ecosystem balance.

Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone is designed for wildland/urban interface coordinators, fire service professionals, urban and state foresters, developers, community planners, insurance professionals, and others who will benefit from understanding how to reduce losses from wildfire.

Download the conference brochure from Firewise Missouri, and contact conference coordinator Bill Altman at Bill.Altman954@gmail.com to register before May 23.

FW BYB Call Banner 2015
The loss of lives, homes and businesses in recent wildfires across the country serves as a sobering reminder of a fire's destructive effects. It is not a matter of "if" a wildfires strikes an area but when, and many residents are looking for more information about what they can do to reduce their risk before the next wildfire burns.

Now, we may be a wee-bit biased, but we think NFPA’s bi-annual Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference is the premier place for wildfire safety and preparedness education! Community leaders, researchers, insurance professionals, emergency responders, homeowners and others involved in wildfire issues can share their knowledge and best practices on key topics that they can then take back to their communities and workplaces.

That's why it's our pleasure to announce the 2015 Backyards & Beyond conference date and location is confirmed:

October 22-24, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Mark your calendars now and save the date!

Do you have a great story, experience or case study you would like to share at the 2015 conference? Submit your session proposals through NFPA's webpage. The deadline is Friday, August 29, 2014.

New to the world of Backyards & Beyond? Check out our website that provides videos, blogs, presentations and more from our 2013 conference in Salt Lake City. We think you'll find there's lots of great information there!

As we get more information about the 2015 conference including sessions and speakers, and all the great things you can do while visiting Myrtle Beach, we'll post it on the conference web page. Be sure to check back often. We look forward to seeing you there!

Big rock

Located on the northeast side of Valentine, Nebraska, the Big Rock Rim neighborhood is one of the newest members to join the ranks of recognized Firewise communities. After a wildfire destroyed a dozen homes in 2006, local fire specialists approached members of the Big Rock Rim community and introduced the idea of becoming a Firewise community. Having already put some Firewise tactics into practice and seen the damage wildfires can cause firsthand, the group ultimately decided it was worthwhile to become a Firewise community.

To read more about the Big Rock Rim community and their past and future Firewise efforts, read the full story in the newest edition of the Firewise How-To Newsletter!

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Click on the above image to learn more.  Additionally, here are two other resources available to the public: http://www.fireadapted.org/ http://facnetwork.org/

BYB 2015 call for pres
Do you have a great story, experience or case study you would like to share at the 2015 Backyards & Beyond Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina? Learn more about how to submit your session proposals. Deadline is Friday, August 29, 2014.

NFPA’s bi-annual Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference is a great place for community leaders, researchers, insurance professionals, emergency responders, homeowners and others involved in wildfire safety and preparedness to share their knowledge and best practices on key wildfire issues that they can then take back to their communities and workplace.

At the NFPA’s 2013 "Backyards & Beyond" conference in Salt Lake City, nearly 300 participants attended more than 50 breakout sessions in five different tracks that touched on everything from defensible space and volunteerism to community planning and evacuation. Some of the top names in the industry also provided insight into many of the most talked about wildfire issues today including climate change, wildfire policies and practices, insurance and the environment.

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Chile
Since early this morning, some 5,000 firefighters, police, forest rangers, soldiers, sailors and civil defense workers have been fighting wildfires in the hilltop towns of Valparaiso, a picturesque port city in Chile.

According to news reports, an estimated 11,000 people are reported homeless and more than 2,500 homes destroyed. As of yesterday, the death toll has risen to 15. Another 700 or more people are on stand-by, ready to evacuate due to shifting winds that threaten the area. Flames, according to fire officials, first erupted in a forested ravine on the outskirts of Valparaiso. Flying embers have since quickly spread into the hills due to strong winds.

Fire officials have also reported that the fires have been so hot they have created their own fierce winds, spreading flames that have consumed a few neighborhoods. Elsewhere, homes stand untouched but remain in danger from still more flying embers.

The staff at NFPA knows that wildfire is not just a U.S. issue but a global one. That’s why we are committed to partnering and working with countries all around the world to share the lessons we’ve each learned, as well our resources and information, all in an effort to help build, together, safer, more fire adapted communities.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the residents of Valparaiso …

While this time of year may have many thinking about the value of their tax dollars, the Firewise program staff are thinking about the value of volunteers. Every April, the Independent Sector website publishes a new annual estimate of the value of a volunteer hour. The new rate is $22.55, based on 2013 data.

The success of local Firewise Communities/USA efforts can be measured in many ways, but often the most important contributions are made by local volunteers. For communities working on Firewise activities in 2014, it’s important to remember that the time spent by volunteers in making your community safer from wildfire represents an invaluable quantity that can greatly aid your application (or renewal) for recognition status. While it’s important to track expenses and record grant funding, it is the measure of human effort put in by your volunteers that will help you demonstrate the minimum investment of at least $2 per resident that will vastly help in reaping recognition rewards.

The investment criteria is the one thing in the Firewise program that seems to worry most communities when they get started. The good news is, thanks to the valuation of volunteer time, it is very easy to meet the $2 per capita requirement, even without major grants for wildfire mitigation.

Now that you know what your volunteer hours are worth, you can use this information to track investment for different activities. For example, for a Firewise Day, keep a count of how many people are volunteering and for how many hours during that event. The time spent by volunteers to organize, set up, and clean up later also counts. If you have residents who have agreed to do work on their own property at a certain period, you can ask them to estimate their hours and may also count that time for each person doing the work.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly local volunteer efforts add up. For example, 12 volunteers putting in just 4 hours of their time at a single event each year represents more than $1,000 of investment in Firewise work – enough to meet the minimum investment for a community of 500 residents. Forms to help you track volunteer time and services are available on the Firewise Communities/USA web page at www.firewise.org/usa.  

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By truly “valuing” your volunteers, you will be better able to achieve recognition or renewal status. And by recognizing the value of your volunteers, whether through a special event or presentation of awards, you’ll go a long way toward assuring momentum for your ongoing Firewise efforts.  Check out www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time for more details on how the volunteer hour value is determined and used.

Image roofing realities blog postThe roof of a home is arguably one of the most important parts of a house, protecting those inside from rain, snow, and even extreme temperatures. Despite being one of the major lines of defense against the forces of nature, the roof can also be one of the most vulnerable pieces of a home in a wildfire situation because of its general horizontal design that ultimately acts as a receptacle for flying firebrands- a major source of home ignitions during a wildfire event.

Fortunately, the newest edition of the Firewise  How-To Newsletter features extensive coverage of how to recognize safety issues on your roof, along with several general roof maintenance and design tips to help keep your home safe in the event of a wildfire. Be sure to read the article in order to learn more!  

National Strategy reportThe National Strategy: The Final Phase of the Development of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy policy document was released late last week.  This effort represents the culmination of a collaborative effort by Federal, state, local and tribal governments, non-governmental partners and public stakeholders. This report provides the strategic direction necessary to achieve the vision for the next century – To safely and effectively extinguish fire when needed; use fire where allowable; manage our natural resources; and as a Nation, live with wildland fire.

This policy document includes a set of guidelines that address the following priorities:

Priority # 1: Safe and effective response to wildfires including enhanced wildfire response preparedness with emphasis on both structural protection and wildfire prevention to maximize the effectiveness of initial response.

Priority # 2: Vegetation and fuels management through design and prioritization.  Including the increased use of wildland fire to meet resource management objectives and expanding methods to improve forest and rangeland resiliency.

Priority #3: Homeowner and community engagement to take proactive measures prior to a wildfire event.

Priority #4: Utilizing programs tailored to local needs which seek to prevent human-caused ignitions.

Beyond these general guidelines, four national maps have been developed to help with strategic prioritization of effort across the nation.  Throughout the rest of the week, I plan to explore these spatial tools and their relevance to the above listed priorities.

The Firewise Communities Map has been updated with the latest active Firewise Communities [1028] and Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network pilot sites [18].  Ready, Set, Go! data will be made available within the next couple of weeks.


View Larger Map

Please contact me (hhaynes@nfpa.org or 617-984-7449) if you are having difficulty finding your community, or if your community location needs to be adjusted.  Visit this webpage to learn more about how to use this map.

Hawaii blog post

During a special ceremony held on December 3, 2013, the Firewise committee of Kohala by the Sea (KBTS), a homeowners association, on the Big Island of Hawaii received a crystal recognition award for maintaining their Firewise Communities/USA recognition status for 10 years. In 2013, only 34 communities were able to earn this esteemed honor. Denise Laitinen, the Firewise Communities Coordinator for Hawaii, presented the award to the proud and well-deserving members of the KBTS.

To read more about the KBTS and their award, read the full story in the 2014 spring edition of the Firewise How-To Newsletter!

As you work on neighborhood mitigation projects and engage with other like-minded communities, you’ll find Firewise pic there are many ways to learn and share information about wildfire safety. A useful way to inform others about your successes and gain knowledge from the achievements of other communities is to utilize social media.
Check out the Firewise Facebook page, follow our Twitter feed, or join the conversation on NFPA’s LinkedIn interest group for tips, resources, and loads of other great information on wildfire safety. Keep up to date with all kinds of Firewise and other related news and information by joining today!

Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 49,300 fires involving people playing with fire were reported to U.S. municipal fire departments per year, according to NFPA’s latest “Playing with Fire” report. Most of these fires were started by children, and caused annual averages of 80 civilian deaths, 860 civilian injuries, and $235 million in property damage.

What is striking for those of us in the wildfire safety industry, and according to the report, is, of the total Firenumber of these fires, 11 percent began outside and in places like tunnels, bridges, vacant lots, etc., and were started by older children and teenagers. It’s important to consider that most wildland fires begin from lightning strikes or human error. With hotter temperatures predicted this year, along with increased dried vegetation and high winds, wildfires can ignite at anytime, anywhere.

Keep yourself, your family and your community safer from wildfire this season. Read the full report and find fact sheets and safety tips on NFPA’s website. There are many great resources you can use to help start discussions with your children about the importance of fire safety. 

Additional information about how families can work together to reduce their wildfire risk can be found on the Firewise website. Find interactive modules, games and quizzes everyone can participate in.


View Larger Map 

Put your community event on the map.  Share your community project by visiting this webpage.

Once you’ve completed your Firewise project or activity (on May 3 or any time before or after then) you’ll want to report it to receive your renewal status. Now, doing so couldn’t be easier than clicking on our video tutorial link!

NFPA has made a short video tutorial demonstrating how to use the online renewal system. Using the system, you can easily post your event and add your investment information as soon as you’ve got the Firewise picinformation available. You can submit your renewal details as early in the year as you like and then be able to track your status. You can also add other events or more investment documentation at a later time and the system helps you to keep track. Your recordkeeping for renewal is right at your fingertips!

So, check out the video and then enter your current information to begin the renewal process!

For more ideas, check the Community Stories area!

Check out the newest edition of the How-To Newsletter to learn more about becoming a Firewise community and about how you can keep your home and property safe from wildfire!     

 !http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73da1e326970d-400wi|src=http://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73da1e326970d-400wi|alt=CO Wildfire Conference - April 2014|width=375|style=width: 353px;|title=CO Wildfire Conference - April 2014|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a00d8351b9f3453ef01a73da1e326970d img-responsive|height=217! 

Black Forest Fire, June 11, 2013 (Photo Credit: AP)


In less than two weeks community leaders, elected officials and fire agency leaders will gather in Glenwood Springs, CO from April 16 - 17 to explore the true cost of wildfires and the short and long-term impacts of a large wildland fire. 


Sessions will include discussions about Fire Adapted Communities (FAC), land-use planning, community wildfire protection plans, managing wildfire hazards, and success and failures in utilizing incentives, regulations and policies. Peter M. Brown, Director, Rocky Mountain Tree-Ring Research in Fort Collins, CO will be the keynote presenter.


“This conference is an absolute must for policymakers and practitioners interested in seeing the big picture related to wildland fire impacts. The presentations and discussions will elevate attendees understanding of economic, community, land use and policy implications of wildfires from the local and national perspectives and provide real-world solutions for preparing communities for the next wildfire threat,” says Molly Mowery, member of the Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) Learning Network Leadership Team.   


 

In addition to impactful presentations there will be invaluable opportunities to network with fire agency leaders, research scientists, elected officials, and NGO’s.  For more information and to register visit www.wildfire-colorado.com.


 

 

USFAThe U.S. Fire Adminstration recently published a wildland urban interface terminology sheet that includes the following helpful definitions:

Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Defensible Space, Fire-Adapted Communities, Hazard Reduction, Home Assessment, Preparedness, Wildland Fire and Wildland Urban Interface.

The community of Jester Estates, located in Austin, TX, was recently recognized for becoming a Firewise Community in 2013. Nick Harrison, Firewise Coordinator for the Texas A&M Forest Service made the presentation. The community was provided with the NFPA Firewise Communities Plaque, Firewise street signs and a framed Texas Firewise flag during their Annual Homeowners Association meeting in February, members of the Firewise Committee and the Austin Fire Department Wildfire Division staff and residents were in attendance.

Jester

Image: Jester Estates Firewise Rocognition Ceremony with members of their Firewise Committee, the Austin Fire Department Wildfire Division, and Texas A&M Forest Service.

The recognition ceremony was also held during Jester Estates Annual Weeklong “30-feet for Fire Safety – 2014” event. This event is designed to get homeowners involved in protecting their home from wildfire. In order to participate (and get their yard waste picked up during this special event) residents must register their property and get a Wildfire Preparedness Assessment Completed. Of the 900 homes in Jester Estates, the Firewise Committee has performed HIZ Assessments on over 150 homes.

Jester Estates has held two community cleanup events in the past year, including this event, resulting in the removal of over 100 tons of defensible space slash.  Several articles have been included in the neighborhood newsletter chronicling their community’s Firewise program since it began over a year ago.

Jester Estates has plans to participate in the Austin Firewise Alliance and is also supporting the May 3rd Wildfire Community Preparedness Day  Workshop that is currently being planned in support of existing and potential Firewise Communities in the area.

According to Jeff Shapiro, Firewise Chair, “Jester is a wonderful community that is surrounded by the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, which adds tremendous beauty to our neighborhood and which our residents greatly value.”  By becoming a Firewise community, we have acknowledged that:

  • We are partners with the Balcones preserve
  • We have an obligation to protect the preserve from fires that might start in our neighborhood
  • We have an obligation to protect our homes and properties from fires that might start in the preserve. 

“Becoming Firewise has also given us a unique and personal partnership with the City of Austin, and particularly the Austin Fire Department (AFD), the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS), and the agencies responsible for protecting the Balcones preserve”, commented Mr. Shapiro.

Harry Evans, Chief of Staff, Austin Fire Department stated, “It is an honor to work with you (Jeff Shapiro and the Jester Estates Firewise Committee).  Because of your leadership, you have set the standard.  Jester is complicated because of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and habitat, in addition to the vegetation and terrain.  You have shown that in spite of all those challenges, a balance can be achieved to keep the environment and habitat, healthy and at the same time make your homes more ignition resistant.  Well done sir… “

“It was really great to have you all in attendance this evening.  Jester’s partnership with AFD and TFS is greatly valued by me personally and by the neighborhood as a whole. Celebrations don’t mean much unless there’s a group of friends to share it with, and having you all there made this a very memorable and special event,” said Jeff Shapiro, Jester Estates Firewise Chair.

Nick Harrison, (TFS) agrees, “Jester Estates has embraced the Firewise concept and has brought together a dynamic group to form its Firewise Committee and has rallied their residents to get involved to protect their homes and their community and also built cooperative partnerships with the preserve and wildland fire agencies.”

Story provided courtesy of Nick Harrison, Firewise Coordinator, Texas A&M Forest Service.

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Over the past five weeks, I watched as entries for the nationwide Wildfire Community Preparedness Day project funding awards grew to represent twenty five states ranging from Florida to Alaska.  Each project entry had the potential to become a recipient of $500 to be used for a preparedness related activity implemented on May 3, 2014 - with funding generously provided by State Farm.

Every single project submission had its own distinct merits and each would make a significant contribution in reducing the wildfire risk in their respective communities.  The diverse range and scope of entries made the selection process extremely difficult and trying to narrow it down to only twenty was daunting.

Winning project recipients come from 15 states and cover an extremely wide range of demographics, community sizes and wildland/urban interface descriptions. 

If I can please get a drum roll, let me say that on behalf of NFPA and State Farm, I am honored to share with you the 2014 Wildfire Preparedness Day funding award recipients:  Fallbrook, CA; Quincy, CA; Valley Center, CA; Durango, CO; Chickamauga, GA; Kamuela, HI; Manhattan, KS; Nye, MT; Newcomerstown, OH; Brent, OK; Grants Pass, OR; La Pine, OR; North Myrtle Beach, SC; Tallassee, TN; Austin TX; Georgetown, TX; Etlan, VA; Castle Valley, UT; Ronald, WA and Spokane, WA.

Huge congratulations to them all!

The nationwide grassroots efforts being coordinated for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day demonstrates the efforts thousands of communities are committed to making in reducing their wildfire risk, the impacts of a recent wildfire, or advancing preparedness efforts.

For many of us, April marks the start of the spring cleaning season and we all know what that means: swap out woolens and gloves for linens and t-shirts; clean out closets and store the skates and skis in the basement and make room in the garage for the rake and garden tools. 

SunFor the next few months, why not include some wildfire safety activities in your spring cleaning repetoire. Did you know that many of the simple tasks you'll do around your home in preparation for the warm months ahead, can also help keep your home safer from wildfire?

Consider the following:

* CLEARING leaves and other vegetative debris from roofs, gutters, porches and decks helps prevent embers from igniting your home.

KEEPING your lawn hydrated and maintained reduces fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.

SCREENING in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh prevents debris and combustible materials from accumulating.

Safety tips sheetNFPA has a number of helpful, easy tasks you and your family can undertake now and throughout the spring. Download our newest wildfire safety tips sheet and Firewise toolkit for the tips above and more, and start working on those projects today. Feeling ambitious? Our tips for creating more defensible space around your property is the perfect starting point for all that you need to accomplish. Check them all out!

And don't forget, the warm weather means we'll be spending more time outside. Take a moment to talk to you neighbors about how you can all work together to reduce wildfire risk in your neighborhood. The Firewise Communities Program website has plenty of resources, tools and materials to help you get started.

Once you've engaged your neighbors, reach out to others in your community. Learn how everyone plays a role in creating a safer and more fire adapted place to live. Firefighters and other first responders, planners, builders, landscapers and even community leaders all have a responsibility for helping protect their area. You can learn more about how to start a dialogue with members of your community by visiting the Fire Adapted Communities website.

If you're like me, I know you can't wait to finally get outside and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer. So take advantage of the warm, sunny weather to awaken your spirits, and at the same time, help keep you and your family wildfire safe! 

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