Skip navigation
All Places > Fire Break > Blog > 2015 > July

Join the Firewise Program at 1:00pm EDT on Thursday, August 6, as wildfire and home safety myths and beliefs are put to the test.
FW Urban Legends Workshop Poster
Over 145 people from 25 states and international have registered so far. 

Wildfire expert Pat Durland will determine truth or hooey to questions we all have, drawing upon his long career as a smokejumper, wildland firefighter, policy maker, insurance consultant, and wildland fire planner and educator.

We’re been receiving additional questions that will be put to the test. Is a green shrub that much of a fire hazard?  Do all-wooden fences attached to the structure pose a fire risk?  How effective is defensible space in high wind situations? What about roof sprinkler systems?

If you have a question or theory you’ve heard of and always wanted to “Ask an Expert” about, submit it to and it will be put to the test!

Registration is open

6a00d8351b9f3453ef01b7c7b76179970b-300wi.jpgIf you saw a pillar of smoke rising from the forest or brush in your area, would you know what to do?  Would you know what information is needed for firefighters to get there and begin suppressing the fire?  If you spot smoke here’s what you need to know:


First – Keep yourself safe.  Depending on the size of the fire, it may not be wise to try to get a closer
look.  Get to a vantage point where you can gather valuable information.  Then call 911.  A 911 dispatcher will know what questions to ask, but here are some basics to be prepared to answer them.


Location, Location, Location.

-   If there is a close address, use that.  Intersections of roads or mile markers are also good.  If you can’t see any of those then look for landmarks.  Estimation of distance is difficult but give it a go.  You can give the dispatcher an estimated distance from your address or location and some sort of cardinal, (East, North, etc.) direction.


-          What is the color and amount of smoke that you see?  The lighter the smoke, the lighter the fuel
is that’s burning.  How much is there, a small pillar or a large plume?

What’s burning?

-   Is it grass, brush or trees?  Is it on the ground or  in the crowns of large brush or trees.

The need for speed.

-  How fast is it moving?  Fire folks use terms like smoldering, creeping, and running to describe fire behavior.  But saying its moving slow or fast is just fine.


-  Is it near or heading towards any structures?   This is important because it can change the type of dispatch that is issued and the resources that are ordered up.

The public is often the first eyes and ears on the scene.  With good information you can be a valuable resource for dispatchers and firefighters.

More info:

All photos: NIFC

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) has reported numerous large fires across the West.  The National preparedness level reported was a level 2.  Four new fires were reported in an updated web announcement on July 28th.

They also stated that they are still supporting fire suppression efforts in Canada and that several states are supporting firefighting efforts of our neighbors in Canada through interstate forest fire compacts. Afm_banner_big


The states in the US reporting large fires to NIFC include Alaska 4, California 5, Montana 4, Oregon 2, Washington 2 and Wyoming 1.  The acres affected by wildfires from these active fires was listed as 708,009 acres.

It was interesting to note on their prevention tab, a link to the Firewise website under the heading, “Protecting Your Home From a Wildland Fire”. They talked about using fire resistant materials in the construction of the home and maintaining a survivable space.  These are actions we can all take as well as simple steps like keeping firewood and other flammable materials away from the side of the home and keeping decks and gutters free of leaves and pine needles.  Make sure that you know what actions to take to make your family, pets and home safer in the event of a wildfire by visiting the Firewise website so that we can have a Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire.

YLLDW Banner
NFPA's campaign for 2015, which we're calling "The Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire," has elicited a few chuckles and smiles about our lighthearted tag for a serious problem. At the start of the year, we focused on showing how people can use our resources to plan for wildfire safety. NFPA and its partners in wildfire mitigation have a huge treasure trove of information in a wide variety of formats that can help residents, fire fighters, and local governments make homes and communities safer from fire.

We're now in the "Act" phase of our campaign. As I think about how we can encourage everyone who lives, works or plays in areas at risk to wildfire to act now for a safer future, it's made me reflect on how unfortunate it is that wildfire risks are so easy to overlook and forget about when we have other things on our minds and competing priorities. Even in places with a long, dangerous history of wildfire, like the Oakland Hills in California, generations of residents have dismissed historical disaster as a thing of the past, without understanding that where wildfire has been, wildfire will be again.

Check out our classic video, Fire in the Hills, for a riveting demonstration of what happens when we forget history. Often, and unfortunately, we are forced to repeat and relive the mistakes of the past. Reflect on what you can do now to prevent future wildfire disasters in your community.

Last year the U.S. saw 63,000 wildfires burn more than 3.5 million acres. To date, residents in the Pacific Northwest, the Rockies, California, Arizona, and Nevada have already seen large wildfires burn around their communities. Expects say almost 40-percent of new home construction in the Western U.S. is classified as the "wildland-urban interface" (WUI) and 4.5 million households are at risk of wildfire in nine western states and Texas. 

To address these growing issues, Pat Durland, principal of Stone Creek Fire, LLC and an instructor for NFPA's "Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone" workshops, hosted a recent satellite media tour sponsored by USAA to help raise awareness about the importance of staying safe and being prepared for a wildfire.  

Watch Pat's interview on WKAMR-4 and FOX 14 WKCIT out of Amarillo, Texas, The video portion was highlighted on the station's website,


Learn more about USAA's relationship with NFPA's Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program and their continued support and involvement in helping address wildfire risk across the country, on our Firewise website.

!|border=0|src=|alt=Glacier National Park|title=Glacier National Park|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a01b8d094a1ff970c01b7c7b36dd3970b image-full img-responsive!

A small lake at the base of Grinnell Glacier by National Park Service Thomas Rains

For the third day, a raging wildfire fanned by high winds burns through heavy timber on the east side of Glacier National Park forcing closures during the high tourist season.  Glacier National Park is located in the state of Montana near the border with Canada and covers over 1 million acres.  It is home to over 1,000 species of animals including grizzly bears and mountain goats. 



According toan article on Yahoo, “The first major wildfire to hit Glacier in nearly a decade has charred roughly 4,000 acres (1,600 hectares) since igniting on Tuesday just east of the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, officials said, and has defied firefighters' attempts to contain it.”

!|src=|alt=Mountain_Goat_USFWS|width=319|style=width: 278px; height: 179px;|title=Mountain_Goat_USFWS|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a01b8d094a1ff970c01b7c7b37050970b img-responsive|height=216!

Mountain goat from the National Park Service Library a symbol of Glacier National Park


[According to the Glacier National Park website updated today closures in the park include |], “The Going to the Sun Road from Big Bend to St. Mary, Logan Pass and Logan Pass Visitor Center, Rising Sun Campground & all Rising Sun facilities, St. Mary Campground & Visitor Center, & the Highline Trail from Granite Park Chalet to Logan Pass.”


[Inciweb stated," |]The Reynolds Creek Fire was reported at approximately 3:45p.m. on Tuesday, July, 21, and is located near Grizzly Point, approximately six miles east of Logan Pass. Current fire management priorities are firefighter and public safety, protection of property and values at risk, and containment of the fire. A Type 1 Incident Management Team will begin managing the Reynolds Creek Fire Thursday, July 23, at 10:00 p.m."



According to news,” A management team that responds only to the nation's highest-priority fire took command Thursday night.  More than 200 firefighters backed by helicopters and fire engines planned to attack the blaze's northeast flank, which was the biggest threat to a hotel and campground that was evacuated Wednesday, and to find a safe place to begin constructing a fire line, fire information officer Jennifer Costich said.  The 4,000 acre fire started Tuesday, and officials moved quickly to evacuate hotels, campgrounds and homes, including people in the small community of St. Mary."

!|src=|alt=Glacier Park Fire|width=319|style=width: 308px; height: 220px;|title=Glacier Park Fire|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a01b8d094a1ff970c01b8d13cd7ee970c img-responsive|height=225!

The fire in Glacier National Park from USA Today



Other fires burning out West with the dry weather conditions, low humidity and high winds are in Washington state and in parts of California including Napa.  Have you taken action  around your home and property to make it safer in the event of a wildfire?  If you are not sure where to start, the NFPA's Firewise  website has lots of information and materials to help you and your community make changes that will make a difference.





Fire Break JultThe July issue of Fire Break, NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division newsletter, is now available for viewing. Here’s what you’ll find in this month’s issue:

  • Information about USAA’s discount on a homeowner’s insurance premium for its members who live in Firewise communities 
  • A recap of the 2014 Firewise Communities/USA program and activities
  • Information on how to protect your home from wildfire by focusing on the vents   
  • A collection of stories that highlight team pride and collaboration on Prep Day back in May 

...and much more. We want to continue to share all of this great information with you, so don’t miss an issue! So subscribe today. It’s free! Just click here to add your e-mail address to our newsletter list.

The ESRI User Conference, a huge event focused on GIS, is wrapping up today (July 23) in San Diego, with attendance of more than 15,000 people from around the world who use geospatial tools and services for a wide variety of purposes. NFPA's Cheryl Blake, Aron Anderson and Casey Grant participated in the conference, and Aron got a chance to talk with our friend Jennifer Schottke, the municipal fire service and national public safety policy lead for ESRI. She is super-excited about ESRI's partnership with NFPA to co-sponsor Backyards & Beyond this fall in Myrtle Beach, and especially the new workshop ESRI is offering on using ArcGIS Online to create Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) and share them with the wildfire safety community.


We all know in summer that thunderstorms happen frequently and with them come lightning and naturally ignited wildfires; what you may not know is that according to the National Interagency Fire Center, (NIFC), humans cause more than 62,000 wildfires annually, burning about 2.4 million acres.

Since recreation is huge in the summer, we need to be aware of what we can do to reduce the Campfire safety signpossibility of starting wildfires while outdoors. If camping, think about the location of your campfire - try to use existing fire rings or pits and make sure it is completely out before bedding down or leaving. The same goes for BBQ briquettes, leaving them in an open BBQ is inviting disaster if the wind comes up and blows embers into vegetation; dispose of them properly.  Make sure current fire restrictions in your area allow for campfires and BBQ use.

 Here’s more information from Smokey Bear.

If you use a trailer of any kind while traveling, make sure safety chains do not drag as this creates sparks that ignites vegetation next to roads and highways. If you drive or park a vehicle off road, remember the catalytic converter under the vehicle gets extremely hot and can ignite vegetation, especially grasses under the vehicle.

Spark arrestors are commercially available for motorcycles and ATV’s to reduce that potential ignition source off road. 

For more information on recreating safely in fire prone areas, including fireworks and shooting sports, check out Arizona’s Interagency Wildfire Prevention Page.

To learn about wildfire and causes of wildfire take a look at Interfire Online’s fire investigation page.

(graphic credit:

Photo Credit Aris Messinis  AFP  Getty The Atlantic 21July15 main_1500 Recent wildfires burning in Greece remind us of the global scope of local wildfire risk. 

The Atlantic Magazine shared photos of the fires and its impacts around Athens yesterday

The BBC has video reporting on the fires that burned north-east Athens and on the southern Peloponnese peninsula. 

Photo Credit Andreas Solaro  AFP  Getty The Atlantic 21July15 main_1500

Photo Credits: top: Aris Messinis  AFP  Getty The Atlantic 21July15 main_1500. pulled 21July15 

second:  Andreas Solaro  AFP  Getty The Atlantic 21July15 main_1500 pulled 21July15

The July/August NFPA Journal is out and in its latest WildfireWatch column, I consider the dry conditions that have pushed wildfire to the top of current news in places like California and Washington State.   
Wildfire cover photo NFPA Journal June15 WildfireWatch columnFor some backstory, a recent trip to Long Beach, CA, got me thinking about how scarce rain is in parts of the country and the wildfire risk to structures posed when vegetation dries out.  While California has recently seen a grass fire burn abandoned cars on an interstate and days later, rain flood out another major road, steadily impacting drought is putting structures in harm’s way and we need to think of drought as a fire risk in a new way. 

I also share reflections on a very good presentation by Dr. Stephen Pyne I was fortunate to attend about the history of wildfire and landscape health to help frame how we should view to the risk ahead. 

Warm balmy nights, food cooking on the grill, and friends and family spending quality time together in the backyard or around the pool create wonderful memories that last a lifetime. But, hosting outdoor events (especially for those living in high-risk wildfire areas) also means there’s an increased risk of grass and brush fires and home fires. To this end, NFPA created a new "outdoor entertaining" webpage that provides all kinds of great resources to help you plan your next summer party safely. From setting the table to decorating the landscape, find tips sheets, infographics, videos and more.   Martha Stewart

Did you know? NFPA is now a regular content contributor for Martha Stewart Living! Check out our latest outdoor entertaining blog on her website!

As you take a look at all of our great information, remember, following some simple safety tips and guidelines can help ensure you and your guests stay safe. Consider these tips below when you host your next outdoor event to reduce the risk of grass and brush fires: 

  • Have an adult present at all times when a portable fireplace is burning
  • Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily
  • Keep anything that can burn, as well as children and pets, at least three feet away from open flames
  • Use battery-operated flameless candles and solar-powered patio (tiki) torches in place of an open flame. Flameless candles come in all colors, shapes and sizes, and many are scented. Flameless candles look and feel like the real ones, and add a beautiful soft glow to any outdoor event.

Don't forget, you can find these tips and more on our website at Take a look today!

Enjoy your summer! And thanks for keeping fire safety top of mind, everyone!

NOTE: Photo first appeared on

!|border=0|src=|alt=North Fire 2 ABC 7|title=North Fire 2 ABC 7|class=asset asset-image at-xid-6a01b8d094a1ff970c01bb08556303970d image-full img-responsive!

A picture of cars burning during the North Fire on Highway 15 from ABC 7 News in Los Angeles.

An unusual summer rainstorm on Sunday helped California firefighters manage a blaze (The North Fire) that started on Friday over the weekend near the desert community of Baldy Mesa and skipped across parts of Highway 15, sending motorists fleeing for their lives. According to a July 19th

,San Francisco Gate Report, +Rain calms California Fire that jumped freeway, burned cars,+ "the flames destroyed 20 vehicles on the freeway before heading into the neighboring community of Baldy Mesa, where it burned seven homes and destroyed 44 more vehicles.  In all, the fire burned about 8 ½ square miles.”


This section of Highway 15, known as the Cajon Pass, is a main route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.  It was Friday and traffic in this area is usually a little more congested on Friday. On July 18, Fire Engineering quoted stranded motorist Lance Andrade, a 29-year-old railroad conductor from nearby Apple Valley who found himself caught in the traffic jam just as the fire jumped the freeway. “You could hear the explosions from people's vehicle tires popping from the could hear crackling. Smoke was coming in every direction. You could feel the heat. We just waited it out and prayed to God."


It was amazing that only minor injuries occurred.&#0160; Drought and warm weather in California has caused concern about wildfires in the state.&#0160; This fire was pushed by 40 mile per hour winds up the side of the mountain and over the freeway.&#0160; According to a Cal Fire Report , “Repopulation in the communities of Baldy Mesa and Oak Hills has begun. San Bernardino County Sheriff will maintain an increased presence in the area for a period of time. Utility companies continue the repair of damaged public utilities in the affected areas.”&#0160; According to this same report the fire is currently 75% contained.</p>

Act ButtonAre you wondering how you measure up when it comes to your wildfire preparedness knowledge?  Are you sure that you are making the best decisions about how to work on your home and property so that you protect those you love and probably one of the biggest financial investments of your lifetime? Act now, and take our free, interactive quiz to test your knowledge.  The name of this fun test of your knowledge from our Year of Living Less Dangerously From Wildfire Campaign is Firewise Actions Today Equals Positive Outcomes Tomorrow. Depending on the level of your skills, you will earn a character badge letting you know how your knowledge adds up.  You can find out if you are doing well or if you need to improve your knowledge using available Firewise resources.

If you are a Fire-Dragon Slayer you have great Firewise knowledge! You know how to treat your home and Fire-Dragon Slayer surroundings to resist embers and flames.  Perhaps you have participated in our Home Ignition Zone Training, free online courses and interactive workshops. However, you want to stay a fire-dragon slayer by keeping up with current research found in the latest Firewise offerings.

California DreamingPerhaps you will discover by participating in this fun quiz that you are California dreaming…but not yet achieving.  (Even if your dog likes to surf, you need more Firewise information before you move to the Golden State!)  Check out our Firewise website to gain a better understanding about steps that you can take to make your home and community safer in the event of a wildfire.  You have some knowledge and that is good, but you need to raise the bar on your ability to prepare your home and community before a wildfire event.   There are some great materials available for you to order from our Firewise catalog at no cost to you.

However, you may find out by participating that you should be a permanent permafrost dweller!  You are Iglooprobably much safer living year round in an igloo until you can gain more Firewise training and knowledge to make some good choices about how to prepare your home and surroundings in the event of a wildfire.  There are many learning opportunities available to you from NFPA.  You can improve your wildfire preparedness knowledge.  A link is available after taking the quiz that will tell you what the correct answers should have been.

Get involved with your local Firewise Community.  Learn more, by exploring all the resources available to you on the Firewise website.  Have fun with our new quiz and share it with others.


  YLLDW Banner


Alaska wildfire
Picture of a wildfire in Willow, Alaska by June 14, 2015

Are you looking for opportunities for your business to promote wildfire mitigation and safety goods or services? As an industry supplier, you can bring your solutions and expertise in pre-fire mitigation and prevention into the mix at our Backyards & Beyond conference and help advance the NFPA mission of reducing the devastating effects of wildfire.

There are different ways that you can participate in this premier, national conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  From October 22-24 you can share your company’s expertise and products at the Sheraton Convention Center Hotel.  Your exhibit space includes an 8’ high back-drape, skirted 6’ table, 2 chairs and a wastebasket.  You also get one free full conference registration per 8’ x 10’ booth, a $550 value.  This provides you the opportunity to take advantage of our breakout sessions that will be offered and network with residents, emergency response personnel, wildland fire mitigation specialists and others at the same time. Bybbrochure



ESRI, an international supplier of Geographic Information System software, web GIS and geodatabase management applications, is not only providing a pre-conference seminar, Prepare, Mitigate and Respond with GIS, for Backyards & Beyond, but they are also a Platinum Sponsor!  We want to thank them for supporting our mission to protect people and property in communities at risk from wildfire. 

For more information about how your company can participate as an exhibitor and or sponsor of this event, please contact ROC Exhibitions at Mark Sorenson 630-271-8218, Zenieda Feliciano 630-271-8227.  For information on sponsoring this event Laura Koski 630-271-8226. Exhibit Space Contracts to participate are  available on the Backyards & Beyond Conference website.

Join the Firewise Program at 1:00pm ET on Thursday, August 6, as wildfire and home safety myths and beliefs are put to the test.

FW Urban Legends Workshop PosterWildfire expert Pat Durland will determine truth or hooey to questions we all have, drawing upon his long career as a smokejumper, wildland firefighter, policy maker, insurance consultant, and wildland fire planner and educator.

Can you protect your home with pool water, gels, foam?  Will exterior heat ignite interior curtains?? Do native plants have a lower fire risk???  Is a stucco roof good protection from embers???? 

Recent research and findings have cast doubt upon and dispelled many of our beliefs about how homes are ignited by wildfires.

Do you have a question or theory you’ve heard of and always wanted to “Ask an Expert” about its validity? Submit yours to and they will be put to the test!

Registration is now open

Most of us can only imagine what homeowners go through when wildfire strikes and they lose their Dean snow black forest home and everything in it.  Some of them have told their stories about how their lives were changed forever.  They lost their home, their belongings and many have said, they lost time.  The time that it takes to rebuild, the time that it takes to re-landscape, the time it takes to work with their insurance company so that they can re-build their lives.

NFPA’s Firewise program provides principles and education so that homeowners can reduce their risk from wildfire loss.  But homeowners can take steps to reduce their financial risk by making sure they are adequately insured should catastrophic loss occur.

Carol Walker of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, (RMIIA), says that many homeowners in high wildfire risk areas are underinsured.  “Homeowners need to evaluate their coverage on an annual basis with their insurance company”, she said.  If homeowners are not proactive to make sure their insurance keeps up with changing replacement costs, they may find themselves under insured.

Replacement cost coverage can provide some inflation protection, but often, with older homes, building codes have changed so replacing the home may be more expensive than the original home.  What about debris removal and re-landscaping after the fire?  Do you have coverage for that?  What endorsements do you have to cover expensive collections, jewelry or antiques?  Have you done a home inventory?

The RMIIA website contains a host of resources to help homeowners reduce their risk and most states have similar organizations that can help residents with resource needs.  Some examples are: Wildfire and Insurance and Insurance Basics from RMIIA.

So along with reducing you home’s risk through Firewise, having an evacuation plan and doing a home inventory, meet with your insurance agent to make sure you are adequately protected.

(photo credit: Dean Snow)

A fire along the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, the state of Idaho’s largest lake has already destroyed 8 buildings 6 of which are homes and forced the evacuation of 300 residents in the upscale community of Bayview.  According to a Spokesman-Review article, Disaster declared for Bayview Blaze, “The Naval Acoustics Research Station in Bayview, nearby Farragut State Park and high-use recreation areas on the lake’s shores also are at risk.”

Bayview Fire
Bayview Fire in Idaho by Ted Curphey

According to a Krem 2 news report, “An evacuation was issued Monday afternoon according to Jason Kirchner with the Forest Service. The evacuation included residents along Perimeter Road from Salee Creek Road east to Cape Horn Road.  As of Monday afternoon, a pre-evacuation notice was in effect for
Bayview, east of Main Street and Marietta Street. Firefighters asked residents to prepare a kit with medications, vital documents, pets and pet supplies.”


Crews are having a hard time fighting the fire because of the steep terrain, low humidity, rising temperatures and high winds.  They are using air support, ground crews, bulldozers and fireboats to try to fight the fire. There had been red flag warnings and an east wind has been driving the fire.  According to the Krem 2 account, “Leaders of the response say they have to be creative to fight this fire. They said their crews are working hard to come up with new ways to contain the flames.”

According to a Yahoo news report the Governor has declared a state of emergency in Bonner and Kootenai counties to secure federal assistance. Thankfully no injuries have been reported at this time. And according to the Spokesman-Review, “An evacuation center remains open at Timberlake High School in Spirit Lake. The Kootenai County Fairgrounds has space for large and small animals and room for owners to camp”

In order to be better prepared before a wildfire event, learn what you need to do to be Firewise with free on line classes, no cost firewise materials and by attending the NFPA's Backyards and Beyond Conference where 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.


Before the July 4th holiday, Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Operations Division Director, posted an eloquent blog about the risks of fireworks to dry vegetation and buildings

Photo Credit Newsflare Daily Telegraph UK 7July15 Moment firework burns down house caught on camera Vin ShahrestaniNFPA’s safety-focused message of leaving fireworks to the professionals can sometimes seem like a killjoy, but it’s right.

I was reminded of this simple truth after reading an article about a $3 firework that caused an estimated $70,000 in damages to a California home when the firework ignited trees on the property and the fire quickly spread to the structure. 

A resident captured the fire on video (warning: the video contains bleeped-out and emotional language of the moment).  In the 7 minute video, you can see the fire spread and witness the fire department’s response.

Even responsible people can have fireworks get out of their control.  Let’s leave the fireworks to the professionals this summer.  

Photo Credit: Newsflare. Shahrestani, Vin. Daily Telegraph UK. 7July15 Moment firework burns down house caught on camera.  Accessed online 7July15. 

Are you having a hard time starting the conversation with your neighbors about how you can all work together to create a more fire resilient, Firewise neighborhood?  Look no farther, Firewise has some great information available on line and don’t forget the Backyards & Beyond Conference! Talking

The Firewise website has some great educational information available on line.  There are classes that you can take, virtual workshops available on line, you tube videos, materials to download and materials that you can order at no cost on line with no shipping charges. 

There is even a section on the Firewise website called Firewise teaching tools. “Use our Firewise Teaching Tools to learn more about wildfire safety and to share your knowledge with others. The many documents, discussion guides, quizzes, curricula and lesson plans can complement any of your presentations or meetings. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to work together with your neighbors or a wildfire professional who wants to engage a whole community in wildfire mitigation activities, these tools provide you the guidance you need to encourage and empower residents to implement Firewise® practices around their homes and across their neighborhoods.”


Washington Wildfire
Image of an ember storm from the Washington State Wildfires this year from the Washington Times Website 2015

The Backyards & Beyond Conference is the place to go if you want to be in the know. “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.”  If you would like to bring a neighbor to a premier national event where you are immersed in science based wildfire education this is the place to go this fall.  Bring your family friends and neighbors and stay a little longer to enjoy beautiful Myrtle Beach this summer.

One of the great benefits of the Firewise Program is that the yearly renewal process helps communities tell their story about volunteer prevention work and receive recognition for their local success. 

Firewise Photo Library Firewise Day image pulled 2July15 FWComDay6If your community has done the work, join those Firewise Communities from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Washington who have already renewed their active status for 2015. 

Many Firewise Communities bring together neighbors in the summer to clean up around homes and learn about Firewise principles. 

I’m so impressed by the Firewise Day descriptions that have been submitted thus far.  Communities have renewed their active status through co-hosted education events with their local fire departments; given Firewise Landscaping presentations at their HOA meetings to educate seasonal residents; hosted “chipper-days” to gather and remove debris; planned themed weeks around community brush clearing; brought in state forestry representatives to explain risk and prescribed burning to residents; Firewise Photo Library Community Workshop Image pulled 2July15 ComWorkshops10and one even attended a neighboring community’s HOA meeting to present Firewise and explain as a mentor why they should apply for recognition. 

Don’t wait till the fall to tell us about your great work.  Many communities list multiple days as a way to catalogue their efforts.  Some started this in February! 

If you’ve done the work, renew today and proudly tell your story.  Make sure to include the event or longer-term effort’s investment amount, event name, number of participants, location, and date or range of dates.  When you explain the work, briefly share what was done and how it benefited the community. 

A great writing example is from the Woodside Park Firewise Community in Pine, Colorado:


Eradication of the   Juniper Bush


On May 2, 2015, in   conjunction with National Wildfire Preparedness Day by the national Firewise   organization, members of the Woodside Park Firewise Committee and other HOA   resident volunteers assisted 4 homeowners with removal of the highly   flammable juniper bush within the defensible zone area of these residents   homes. The juniper was then hauled to the road for chipping. In addition to   the work done at these four homes, nine homeowners removed their own juniper   and the Firewise committee arranged to have it chipped.

Woodside Park


Another is from La Casa Mobile Home Park in North Port, Florida:


Firewise Day


With the involvement   of the Florida Division of Forestry, Sarasota County Fire Department, North   Port Fire Department and the La Casa Firewise Committee an informational   meeting was held for park residents. Topics discussed were controlled burns   and their value. Also discussed was the use of fire resistant plants in   landscaping around houses.

La Casa Mobile Home   Park


We will share other writing examples in the coming months.  Thanks for all you do and make sure to renew!

Photo Credits: The Firewise Photo Library


Are you looking to update your wildfire preparedness knowledge?  Do you want to meet some prominent wildfire preparedness educators from across the nation?  Do you want to know what the latest research tells us about how best to prepare homes, communities and fire departments before a wildfire event?  Then the Backyards & Beyond Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the place to be this fall.

The picture is from in the article "Wildfire Risk High for Real Estate Investment in 2015."

If you register by September 18th your registration fees will be $150 lower.  Now is the time to reserve your spot for this premier national event sponsored by the NFPA.  You can view the Backyards & Beyond conference brochure to see what featured presentations, education sessions and new classes will be offered.  I am excited about NFPA's updated Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone training and the new GIS class being offered by ESRI this year as pre-conference seminars. Bybbrochure

 If you are in the business of  providing wildfire risk mitigation products or services for communities and fire departments, the Backyards & Beyond conference is the place to share information about what you have to offer. There are limited exhibit spaces available, so it is important that you secure your spot soon.

Backyards & Beyond is a nationally recognized event that you don’t want to miss!  Past attendees, like Chief Mitch Floyd of Towns County Fire Corps in Georgia, testify to the value of conference attendance: "I don't think I have ever heard the WUI problem framed as well as was done by the (Backyards & Beyond) conference speakers. I especially thought the long term financial impact was an eye-opening element that should be pitched much harder, especially to the politicians." 

Come and find out what the Backyards & Beyond Conference can do for you and how you can learn to take action that will make a difference as we have a Year of Living Less Dangerously from Wildfire.

YLLDW Banner

Firewise How To newsletterAn article in the spring Firewise “How-To” newsletter highlights the wonderful efforts that 1,141 active communities accomplished in 2014, as they reported $33 million in recorded community preparedness activities.

The Firewise Program has been contacting selected communities to learn more about individual successes and will be compiling these examples of Firewise Day activities into educational materials.  NFPA staffer, Faith Berry, has made a lot of this outreach and shared with me what volunteer activity means to local communities. 

Faith explained that, “It has truly been an honor to chat with these dedicated volunteers.  Many of these communities have accomplished great things with little but their own personal investment of time, work Firewise Photo Library Firewise Day image pulled 1July15 FWComDay9and money.  Many have seen changes in the dynamics of their community as well as changes in their risks by taking action based upon sound Firewise principles.  They shared their successes as well as areas that they want to work harder on with us and I was engaged by their passion.”

Putting local work into prospective, Faith highlighted a quote received from the Wildcat Firewise Community in Georgia, who shared, “Firewise is the rallying point. We can’t say somebody is going to come and save us.  We have to create defensible space and save ourselves.”

Keep up the valuable work!  Learn more about 2014 activities for inspiration and about how to collect your Firewise Day investment tally

Photo Credit: Firewise Photo Library

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: