As I review the year of blogs that I had posted about how Firewise can make a difference in many communities across the United States, I realized just how much these communities accomplish often times with no or very little outside funding provided. Many community members donate time, talent and their own money to create more resilient communities. These communities fare better during a wildfire and recover more quickly after a wildfire event. When I called residents of Firewise Communities a year and a half ago, so many were happy to tell their stories and were also quick to offer assistance if other communities needed their help. In fact, many were mentoring other communities in their states who were new at learning what this Firewise Community Program was all about. I was humbled and touched by their thank you's to the NFPA for its support of their selfless efforts.
I also have had the opportunity to meet some of these community volunteers through the years. What they accomplish with so little is incredibly amazing. The pure ingenuity and can-do attitude exemplified in their efforts are inspiring. After returning from some visits, I was motivated myself to rake up leaves and trim away dead branches in my own yard. The enthusiasm of these communities is contagious. The encouragement that they give to each other inspires success.
Some of the many no-cost solutions to this complex wildfire problem that these communities were actively promoting and implementing include clean up days, chipping days, landscape redesign projects, youth helping seniors with yard and home maintenance, social media educational and informational projects including websites, videos, and this thing called tweeting. Over the years Firewise Communities have contributed over $234,000,000 in value to the creation of communities that are safer from wildfire. The value of supporting these efforts will hopefully be recognized and more valued in the future. We all the NFPA are so thankful and honored to be able work with these communities and we look forward to participating in efforts to collaborate with many more in the New Year.
All of these photos of Firewise activities were submitted by Falls Creek Ranch Firewise Community in Durango, Colorado.