Firewise Communities across the nation have learned to work collaboratively with many different stakeholders including insurance professionals, realtors, educators, researchers, youth and their local fire departments. Many communities have unique success stories to share about innovative approaches they have taken to engage their neighbors in wildfire preparedness activities. You have the opportunity to learn from and emulate their successes by reading their stories.
Lakeway held several Firewise events in 2014. On Firewise Day, they held greenbelt clean-up day. Volunteers from Keller Williams Realty worked on fuels reduction for their annual day of service. Working with Lake Travis Fire Rescue, 75 volunteers pulled 20 tons of brush from behind homes and out of the greenbelt. The brush was chipped and put in dumpsters. The City of Lakeway provided the chipping and traffic control. The City of Lakeway and Lakeway Firewise Committee gave Keller Williams Lake Travis a Platinum Certificate of Appreciation for their outstanding contribution to public welfare.
Lakeway also held a educational/fun event with displays on home hardening, defensible space, and Firewise landscaping, an opportunity to take pictures with Smokey Bear, lessons on how to shoot a fire hose, and more. This event was coordinated with The Steiner Ranch Firewise Committee and Lake Travis Fire Rescue. Other activities included carrying the local Firewise banner and handing out information at the annual 4th of July parade, and a Home Ignition Zone training class with classroom instruction and outdoor practice assessments.
Lakeway tells us, “Our Firewise Committee has a great mix of volunteers with different talents and skills from communications, to event planning, to master gardening. The wildfire prevention specialist from our local fire department, who serves on our committee, deserves a lot of credit for keeping us on track and moving forward.”
Leon Valley at San Antonio, Texas
On Firewise Day, Leon Valley Fire Department toured the shaded fuelbreak with students and discussed how the fuelbreak protects homes from wildfire, and how it was completed with the assistance of different stakeholders.
Other actions during the year included:
- Bi-annual trimming and clearing of the shaded fuel break in the park;
- An all day class with many speakers on topics relating to Wildland Urban Interface vegetation management and wildfire response. Leon Valley Fire Chief Valdez was part of an expert panel on wildland fire.
- Sustainable living event, an all day sharing of environmentally sound community practices. Fire department personnel manned a booth educating participants on Firewise practices.
Leon Valley shared with us, “One of the most important things we do as firefighters is,spend time twice a year and cut and maintain a shaded fuel break in an urban-wildland interface area of the city. When citizens see firefighters doing this work, it becomes more than maintenance, it becomes prevention through purpose and hard work. Besides the nice break on insurance cost that some of our citizens receive from USAA, the fact that our community works together to keep everyone safe is payment.“
Picture of the Lakeway Firewise Committee at the local 4th of July parade.