Is Firewise making a difference? This is a common question asked of NFPA when we describe how we are working with communities to reduce wildfire risk. We can show the number of communities participating in the Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program – more than 1,200 in 40 states. We can show the amount each community invests every year in its own safety – more than $34 million dollars in 2015 from newly participating and long-standing communities. But what we’d love to be able to show is the quality of the great work going on in neighborhoods all over the nation. Fortunately, we have more than 100 great examples to share through this blog over the next several months.
Participating Firewise communities must renew their Firewise status year after year by engaging in an educational or work day to promote wildfire prevention awareness and on the ground efforts to make their community safer in the event of a wildfire. This is called the “Firewise Day,” though many communities engage in these efforts over a period of weeks or months. The efforts they coordinate -- oftentimes with federal, state and local partners -- are as diverse as the demographic of the community, type of home, topography, vegetation and weather conditions that are the building blocks of their communities.
NFPA receives descriptions of the incredible efforts that communities make voluntarily each year to reduce their risk and promote resiliency in the event of a wildfire. We chose to highlight stories of recent Firewise Days from 130 different communities. You’ll see the regional diversity as you read through the blog posts, as we ensured we got stories from every part of the U.S. Over and over again, the residents of these communities roll up their sleeves to accomplish on the ground work and provide individualized educational opportunities for their neighbors on a totally voluntary basis, often times with no compensation or funding.
We wanted to share with you the stories of these communities’ dedicated and selfless prevention and mitigation efforts accomplished as Firewise Days, which they have so enthusiastically shared with us. We hope these stories will inspire you to talk to your neighbors about Firewise – maybe your community will have a story of its own to tell in the future!