What is a “Firewise work day” and why do so many residents of communities across the United States enjoy participating in these activities? A “work day” generally brings to mind images of doing unenjoyable tasks. Firewise Communities that we spoke to, enjoy working together, cleaning up, helping neighbors and ultimately lessening their risk. But what seems to make their “work days” work is that they make them fun. Neighbors enjoy being together not only to reduce their risk to wildfire but also to enjoy each other’s company creating that sense of community that is missing in so many neighborhoods. Read about how two Firewise communities work together to make a difference.
Wyldwood Community at Petersburg, Virginia
Wyldwood held a community work day on Firewise Day. Twenty-six people participated, working together for four hours cutting and removing debris. There were also other work days in 2014, adding an additional 43 hours.
Wyldwood Community tells us, “A few years ago, our community was rated “high risk” by Firewise and the Virginia Department of Forestry. Since then, the association’s members gather in increasing numbers on scheduled Firewise work days to clean, cut and gather debris, to reduce the risk of wildfires. So successful is that event that now even friends of residents assist us in this effort, bringing front end loaders and trucks to haul off materials.”
Horizons Village at Nellysford, Virginia
Horizons Village held a Firewise community meeting on Firewise Day. The meeting was attended by 32 members of the Horizons Village Homeowners Association. The program was presented by Boyd Ritchie, Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Specialist with Virginia Department of Forestry. The group discussed actions that homeowners can take to mitigate the risk of wildfire. Boyd also explained the Department of Forestry’s grants programs and efforts that need to be undertaken by the community. On October 5th, a work day was held and 10 residents cleared pine trees and underbrush from a portion of the neighborhood’s roadsides to increase the accessibility of the community.
Horizons Village says, “Living in a forest requires close and constant attention to our own activities and our impact on the natural beauty around us. Keeping ourselves and our surrounding safe is part of what we need to do to ensure that our community, and those surrounding us, remain as beautiful and natural as we found them.”
(Picture of the landscape surrounding Horizon's Village from their website)