Firewise community success begins with people taking Firewise © actions to reduce their risk of loss due to a wildfire. Some communities that have been active in NFPA’s Firewise Program have over time by working together, significantly reduced their risk of loss. These communities often times are participating in a variety of activities and projects that keep residents engaged and interested in continuing to maintain their homes and neighborhoods in a Firewise manner. Read the stories of these two communities to learn about some projects that your community can do.
Pine Loch Sun at Maple Valley, Washington
Pine Loch Sun built up to Firewise Day with preparatory activities over a period of several weeks. Residents were asked to clean their properties and pile slash and branches at the street between April 25th to May 9th. Then chipper days were held, when a chipper traveled through the community disposing of the slash. On May 3rd, there was a Firewise community siren test, when the siren was tested and evacuation plans were distributed. A community information meeting was held on May 24th, when an actual evacuation drill was held with siren and text message emergency information. Afterward, the community relaxed with a picnic.
Pine Loch Sun says, “Firewise Day helped make our community safer. Our siren test pointed out the need for improved communications, our evacuation plan was tested. Our community practiced what to do in an emergency, and gathered afterwards for social time. Our Firewise participation increased, and we able with the Kittitas County Firewise Liaison, Suzanne Wade, to get grant money for removing some of the excess fuel in our development.”
Orcas Highlands at Eastsound, Washington
Firewise Day is an annual event in Orcas Highlands. Each year for the past nine years, Orcas Highlands Association (OHA) homeowners have gathered to clean and groom their 40-acre common area, and burn green waste from the individual and community lots. Several residents always volunteer the use of their pick-up trucks to transport the green waste from the homes to the community-managed burn area. Others tend the fire there. Still others mow and prune the entrance and mailbox areas. At the end of the day, the community gets together for a potluck dinner.
Orcas Highlands shared with us, “The Firewise Communities/USA program has brought our community together. Neighbors look forward to the day in early summer when they can work together toward the common goal of wildfire mitigation. Over the years, our accrued mitigation efforts have dramatically improved the survival potential of OHA’s 105 homes.”
The pictures were submitted by the Orcas Highlands Firewise Community