Two different communities in two separate states learn about the success of working together to create resilient Firewise neighborhoods. Students at Virginia Tech and residents in Penn Forest Streams worked with partners to create successful Firewise Days. It does not take a lot of money to build a Firewise Community. Often times it is just plain old elbow grease over time that makes a difference. Read about their stories.
Fortress at Blacksburg, Virginia
Students at Virginia Tech participate in a day of community service in memory of the students who were killed on campus in 2007. For Firewise Day, 10 Virginia Tech students assisted 6 Fortress residents in removing cut pine trees from the roadside and preparing them for chipping. Prior to this event, residents had cut the pines to reduce fuels and increase roadway access to
and from the community. Homeowners and contractors are working on creating 30 feet of defensible space around homes. The community will be installing standard 911 address signs as part of its Firewise mitigation goals.
The Fortress community tells us, “Firewise has been helpful to the community. We are a one-way community, That is, we only have one way in and one way out. Our biggest concern is roadways, signage, and improved emergency response.”
Penn Forest Streams at Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Penn Forest Streams holds an annual Firewise picnic, inviting the community and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry. This year they held their annual meeting and picnic on Firewise Day. Penn Forest Streams has been a Firewise community for 10 years, and they displayed their 10-year trophy at the meeting. The group recapped past Firewise events, and laid out plans for future events. The Penn Forest #1 Fire Company and truck were present at the picnic, which included a pig roast, games, and prizes.
Penn Forest Streams tells us, “We want to make sure homeowners know about Firewise. We like a Firewise Day because it is one of the things people pay attention to, and this is a fun way of pointing it out. One year we handed out smoke detectors and kids bags.”