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FEMA Corps - Denver Parks April 30 2014                                   Photo Credit:  FEMA Region VIII

Denver, CO residents tend to think wildfire isn’t a risk they have to think about in their urban core, but the city is surrounded by parks and open space that's part of the city’s Parks and Recreation Mountain Division.  With 14,000 acres of recreational space located in areas at high risk and in close proximity to residential communities, the city is working to mitigate the hazard and create awareness. 

As part of FEMA’s nationwide community based America’s Preparathon (April 30) – a team of volunteers helped the Denver Mountain Parks forester clear brush. 

A group from FEMA Corps, a 1,600 member service corps that’s part of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) participated in the project.  Members are part of a division within AmeriCorps' National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) focusing on disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery activities.

FEMA Corps members serve a 10-month term, with an option to apply for a second 10-month term of service. NCCC- FEMA Corps is a full-time, team-based, residential service program for men and women, between the ages of 18 to 24, operated in the same campus structure as AmeriCorps NCCC. FEMA Corps members are assigned to one of five NCCC campuses, located in Denver, CO; Sacramento, CA; Perry Point, MD; Vicksburg, MS; and Vinton, IA. FEMA Corps members receive a living allowance of approximately $4,000 for the 10 months of service (about $200 every two weeks before taxes), housing, meals, limited medical benefits, up to $400 a month for childcare, if necessary, member uniforms, and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of the program.

FEMA Corps members are national service participants and will provide support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovery centers to sharing valuable disaster readiness and mitigation information with the public.

As we approach Wildfire Community Preparedness Day this Saturday, May 3, we send our thanks to youth everywhere helping to reduce the nation's wildfire risk!

From earthquakes and hurricanes to wildfires and flooding, natural disasters can strike anywhere and at any time, costing millions of dollars of property loss and human suffering. In light of this reality, NFPA has co-sponsored the National Building Museum’s multi-media exhibition titled, Designing for Disaster.  The exhibit is a call-to-action for citizen preparedness—from design professionals and local decision-makers to homeowners and school kids—investigating how and where to build communities that are safer and more disaster-resilient.

The exhibition opens May 11, 2014 and runs through August 2, 2015. NFPA joins several other co-sponsors including the Home Depot Foundation, American Red Cross, and The Nature Conservancy.

If you’re in Washington, D.C., check out the exhibit. It’s definitely not to be missed. In the meantime, take a look at the Designing for Disaster exhibition companion blog and outreach campaign called MitigationNation. It can be accessed at

More information about the National Building Museum’s Designing for Disaster exhibition and NFPA’s role in the campaign can be found on NFPA’s wildland fire web page.

Powerful winds with gusts of up to 80 mph has fueled a wildfire that has now burned more than 800 acres in the mountains near Rancho Cucamonga, some 40 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino National Forest, according to news reports. Powerful Santa Ana winds are largely responsible for the quick moving Etiwanda Fire that also forced the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes yesterday afternoon. Fire officials have since lifted the evacuation order.

The gusty winds combined with temperatures nearing 100 degrees prompted red flag warnings across much of this region on Wednesday. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), months of severe drought conditions across California has put the state at risk for one of its most severe fire seasons ever.

Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berland, in an interview with ABC News 10 says, “These drought conditions that we’re seeing are absolutely playing a huge factor in the size and the number of wildfires we’re responding to.” Berland went on to say that, “Northern California (also) has the above average potential for large and damaging wildfires.” Cal

Cal Fire has announced that since the start of the year, it has responded to nearly 900 wildfires that has burned close to 2,400 acres, nearly triple the average number and acreage for the same time period in years past.

In light of these wildfire events and the severity of the situation, the department has urged residents to take an active role in protecting their homes by creating defensible space around their property. Firewise has a number of resources to help residents do just that.

NFPA’s Firewise Tips Checklist for Homeowners walks you through the simple yet effective action items that help create this defensible space around your home. NFPA’s wildfire division has also created a safety tips sheet that lists the steps that you can do right now to reduce the risk of damage from impending wildfires. Looking for information on emergency planning and preparedness? NFPA's consumer safety pages provide a great number of resources and information to help you plan for an evacuation, create an emergency supply kit, and more. 

As the warm summer months approach and with hotter than normal temperatures, high winds and severe drought conditions affecting much of the country, it’s now more important than ever to take a stand for wildfire safety. Learn more about protecting your home and creating safer more fire adapted communities today. Because every little bit you do today makes a huge difference tomorrow ...

Photo: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times / April 30, 2014

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