Many communities hesitate to participate in the Firewise Communities© Program because they are concerned that their community-wide event may have to cost a lot of money. Many very successful Firewise community efforts have been completed with little or no monetary investment just sweat equity. There are a lot of simple projects that you can complete around your home and neighborhood that will have a great impact in making you, your pets and property as well as residents in your community safer in the event of a wildfire. Read about how these two communities invested themselves into creating safer neighborhoods and learn how you can too.
Highland Pines combined their Firewise Day activities with their annual meeting and ice cream social. The event took place in a shelter on a cul de sac in the community. The Firewise speaker was Jeff Polachek of the Central Yavapai/Chino Valley Fire Department. He spoke on several fire-related topics, including defensible space, forest health, evacuation procedures, and the new red alert system, which allows mass contact by phone.
Highland Pines says, “Every year, our Firewise event, along with our ongoing hazardous fuels mitigation efforts, gets the message out to more people. It has become a neighbor encouraging neighbor effort as people see how Firewise landscaping and clearing make a more attractive neighborhood, as well as a safer one.“
Spalding held a 4 day “Green Waste Disposal” event for Firewise Day. The event allows home and property owners to dispose of their accumulated pine needles, tree and brush debris at a very reduced cost. The event is accomplished through a partnership between C&S Waste, Lassen Regional Solid Waste Management Authority, Fire Safe Council, CAL FIRE, and Spalding Community Services District. The community orders six thirty-yard bins, and charges participants only $1 per cubic yard for waste disposal. At the completion of the four day event, a total of 327 cubic yards of green waste had been removed from the community. The event is done annually, and it gets good participation from the residents.
Spalding shared with us, “The residents of Spalding are able to make their properties safe during the dangerous summer fire season by eliminating pine needles and other flammable materials around their residences during this low-cost event. We hope to have a second event at the end of the summer.”
Highland Pines Community from the Firewise website and Lassen National Forest Picture from the Wikipedia