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Before wildfire season begins, many Firewise communities start preparing to lessen their risk of loss by raising residents’ awareness through a variety of events and educational activities.  Some communities included local land management agencies as part of the team to provide a complete picture of their risk by examining elements within and surrounding the community, including wildfire risk, the overall condition of their home and the vegetation surrounding the homes.  Do you know what your community’s risk is?

Check out resources available at no cost to you on the NFPA’s Firewise website to see what you can to do to create a safer home and community.

 

 

Stoney River Estates at Isabella, Minnesota

 

Stoney River held a community meeting on Firewise Day. Matt Tyler, Lake County Firewise Coordinator, showed a Firewise Wildfire awareness sign.jpgvideo and a slideshow of fire history in the area to approximately 10 residents. Then the group walked the community and discussed fire mitigation concerns.

 

  Stoney River says, “The Firewise program has been a vital part of our community, protecting our homes and surrounding property. In 2013, our community qualified for a grant that was instrumental in clearing 15 acres of brush and balsam fir trees that are highly flammable fire fuel. We also invested in a fire danger sign that is posted on the highway at the entrance to our community and is updated daily by our members.”

 

Cooked/Wilson Lake at Lakeland, Minnesota

 

Cooked/Wilson Lake held a community Firewise meeting on Firewise Day. Bre Schueller, East Zone Fire Management Specialist for the Superior National Forest presented a talk on the role of the Forest Service in the management of forests. She also presented the proposed Firewise projects in the community and how residents can have input and get more information. Bre discussed the various fuel mitigation efforts underway in the area. Mary Kingston welcomed new residents and gave an overview of the Firewise program and the group’s activities.

 

  Cooked/ Wilson Lake tells us that they are creating a “little manual” of tips/things they wish they had known and/or done in becoming a Firewise community. “This manual is just information on things we learned in the process, which may be used as a resource by communities becoming Firewise. The Firewise Program is great and we are ever grateful to have this program and information to assist us.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                              The wildfire awareness sign is from the Stoney River Estates Firewise Community

I recently visited the PineRidge Firewise Community located in the Castle
Pines area south of Denver as they celebrated a creative method of hazardous
fuels reduction. South Metro Fire Rescue Authority Community Risk
Reduction Specialist Einar Jensen and Firewise community point of contact Barb Saenger
held a community get together where the stars of the program were, well, uh,
goats.

20160625_101417.jpg

That's right, goats.  After mechanically thinning a common area in a
small canyon below the subdivision about 3 years ago, the community worked with
a rancher from Cheyenne, Wyoming to bring his goats in to deal with re-growth
and noxious weeds.  The goats were all about getting at new Gambel oak and
Canada Thistle growth and seemed quite content with the task.  Goats are especially

effective on noxious weeds that other grazers won't touch while at the same time

aerating the soil with their hooves, and of course, fertilizing as they graze.

 

PineRidge has been a Firewise Community since 2008 and was a 2016 NFPA
Wildfire Community Preparedness Day campaign awardee and also received a
cash award from South Metro Fire Rescue Authority.  The PineRidge
Homeowners Association
paid for the goats which runs about $1000.00 a day for
300 goats. See the local 9News story here.

 

So, with the sun shining, children laughing, Fire engines gleaming and goats
munching, another community works towards reducing its wildfire risk.

 

(photo credit: Thomas Welle NFPA)

USAA disc in OR map - 6.29.16.PNG

Oregon now joins Arizona, California, Colorado and Texas in being one of five states where USAA policyholders living in a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site, are eligible to receive a discount on their homeowners insurance premium.

 

There are currently 102 communities actively participating in the Firewise Communities/USA recognition program throughout Oregon; with more than 26,000 people living in those sites. Over the past year, those communities have invested close to $1,706,000 in wildfire risk reduction activities.

 

USAA has been working with NFPA for several years to develop an incentive for residents living in wildfire-prone areas. Their discount is applicable to new homeowners and rental property policies issued or renewed in the state.

 

The Firewise discount is an incentive for individuals to proactively implement scientifically proven concepts that will increase their homes survivability in a wildfire.

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