As Firewise communities roll up their sleeves and begin the task of preparing their communities for the wildfire season, maintaining that area immediately surrounding the home is so important to protecting the home. The Firewise communities of Slatemont in Willis, Virginia, and Redwood of Wildwood Community in California, Maryland recognize their risk and have taken simple steps with old fashioned elbow grease and collaboration with agency partners to lessen that risk. We are sharing their stories of success for others to copy.
Slatemont in Willis, Virginia
Slatemont is a small community of 35 homes. On Firewise Day, 15 residents participated in the day’s event, which included pulling dead branches from the woods and pilling them along the roadside in preparation for chipping. They also pruned trees, saplings, and bushes back from the roadways to create firebreaks. The work was followed by a picnic for the volunteers.
Slatemont tells us, “This program has created much better Firewise awareness among our members. It has improved emergency vehicle navigation throughout the community, reduced the risks of fire both along the roadways and at the residences, and nurtured strong friendships through our Spring and Fall Firewise Workdays. The volunteer efforts of our members help to keep association dues low.”
Redwood of Wildwood Community in California, Maryland
Firewise Day in Redwood of Wildwood was scheduled as a community cleanup day. Residents throughout the neighborhood gathered wood debris, and the Maryland Forest Service provided a chipper truck to chip and remove debris. The community effort totaled 121 man hours of work. This was followed up later in the year with a Firewise presentation on October 23rd. Firewise state liaison David Robbins gave a presentation on Firewise practices to residents at the Homeowners Association’s Annual Meeting.
Find out how your neighborhood can work together simply by cleaning up dead fall debris and “human treasures” (plywood, windows, doors etc.) around your homes to make your community more resilient in the event of a wildfire.  Your efforts can be recognized as you work together with your state liaison to become a recognized Firewise Community .