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AFA - 6.2016 (3).jpgThe U.S. Air Force Academy located in Colorado Springs, CO has become the first military installation to complete the required Firewise Communities/USA criteria for their base housing units; and NFPA welcomes them to the national program.

 

Fuels in proximity to the base housing areas have been reduced and work continues around individual residences; and also at the historic Cadet Lodge and Scout Huts - which are favorite meeting places for cadets, staff and Boy Scout troops. To highlight the base’s accomplishment, a community event was recently held at Fire Station One, where the Colorado State Forest Service and NFPA presented Colonel Ohlson with their official program street signage and plaque. Diane Strohm and James Donahey with the USAF Natural Resources Department, spearheaded the effort to become a Firewise Community and throughout the process they received invaluable collaborative contributions from Fire Chief Ken Helgerson and his staff, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees. Each group played a significant role in their fuels management activities.

 

The Academy has been reducing fuels on their property for more than a decade and continue to work on creating a fire resilient military community. Fuel breaks have been added along roads, bridges and boundaries and forests have been thinned to increase their survivability in the event of a wildfire.

 

As a trailblazer, the Academy has received the honor of being the first military installation to become a Firewise participant and we’re excited to see other military bases follow their lead.

It is the little things that can make a difference over time.  Little things can add up over time to create safer homes and communities.  I have visited communities that needed a lot of work, but with perseverance and a little elbow grease within a couple of years, you could hardly recognize it as the same neighborhood. Monte Sereno has a story to tell about how they worked together to create a safer community that has also learned how to enjoy working together to make a difference.New Mexico.jpg

 

Monte Sereno Neighborhood in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Monte Sereno held a community picnic on Firewise Day to raise awareness and also offered free pick up of deadwood by the Santa Fe Fire Department (SFFD). The American Red Cross and SFFD participated in Firewise Day events. Between May and August of 2014, the SFFD picked up about 20 tons of debris free of charge through a grant that provided funds to hire wildland urban interface specialists.

 

Monte Sereno tells us, “The Fire Prevention Committee continued to work on the Wildfire Action Plan during the summer, and answered questions about Firewise throughout the year. We also collaborated the with the SFFD, the City Office of Emergency Management, and the Regional Emergency Communication Center to stage an evacuation exercise of neighborhood residents later in the summer.”

                                                                                                    Picture submitted by Monte Sereno Firewise Community in Santa Fe, New Mexico

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