Over 1,000 communities across the country have worked tirelessly and passionately to earn the honor of being able to call themselves “Firewise”. But even after they get the recognition, they need to work just as hard to retain the title.
One of the requirements is having to host an annual “Firewise Day”. The Firewise Day is essentially one day that is set aside to hold events with the intention of educating neighbors about being Firewise, building community spirit and improving their current wildfire readiness strategy.
Every community has an underlying common factor in that they have all taken the necessary steps to be Firewise. But each community is different, with different needs based on their geographic location, climate, so their respective Firewise Board has complete freedom in deciding what, where and when their Firewise Day is.
Over the years, communities have hosted state fair exhibits or community clean-up days. An event that is quite popular is planning a “chipper day” in which volunteers gather equipment and chip up brush and limbs to make the area less of a fire threat.
In this season’s Firewise How-To Newsletter, we talk to Sheila Doughty, Arkansas Firewise Information Officer with the Arkansas Forestry Commission, for insights on planning a fun, educational Firewise Day. With 139 recognized Firewise communities in Arkansas, she has experienced a lot of various Firewise Days.
One event Doughty particularly enjoys is when an Arkansas community combines their Firewise Day with their Halloween program at a local school. Everyone in the community who trick-or-treats receives Firewise handouts and candy, and is registered to win a prize.
There are many other events people have held to fulfill their Firewise Day activity requirement and if you want to read all about them, check out our Fall Firewise How-To Newsletter where Doughty highlights them all!