Skip navigation
All Places > Fire Break > Blog > 2017 > January

Firefighters who want to know more about how to protect homes from wildfire will have a chance to learn, free of charge.  NFPA is again offering scholarships to fire service personnel to attend its two-day seminar, "Assessing Structure Ignition Potential from Wildfire." DHS/FEMA has provided a Fire Prevention & Safety Grant to NFPA to cover registration, travel, meals and lodging for eligible participants. If your department has been looking for the opportunity to learn the most effective ways to help residents make changes to their homes to be more resilient in the event of a wildfire, now is your opportunity to attend!


The seminar will be offered at different locations across the country starting in March. It teaches attendees the science behind wildland fire property loss and how to advise property owners about effective mitigation measures to protect their homes. The scholarships are funded through a $413,000 DHS/FEMA grant, which covers not only participant registration and class materials, but also lodging, travel, and meals. Apply today for your opportunity to attend the first training opportunity in Irvine, California March 8-9th.  Stay tuned for future HIZ training opportunities across the nation.

Everyone in the world at risk from wildfire should know what they can do to be safer. In this month's NFPA Journal, Lucian Deaton wrote his wildfire column about this very statement. 


He acknowledges that across the planet, people are working to achieve this knowledge through countless wildfire preparedness programs and strategies. At times we may trip over how to pronounce their titles, but the real challenge is to understand how these programs work and what their impacts are on their communities. Seeing firsthand the challenge communities face with wildfire and the efforts underway to confront it strengthens NFPA’s knowledge and furthers its work to spread more life-saving information and knowledge across the globe.


The NFPA wildfire division has learned a lot of lessons by traveling to several international locations (Chile, Canada, UK, South Africa) and learning about their local challenges and successes. Learning about these local fire landscapes will help us to provide better resources that can help all communities be safer from wildfire. Read about some of these lessons and learnings in "Backyard Smarts" in the latest issue of NFPA Journal

We are already seeing communities apply to receive a $500 grant for project work supported by State Farm to celebrate Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 6, 2017.   We are also offering your community the opportunity to map the location of your community’s event on a special mapping application.


This is a fun way for your community to self-promote your event.  You can provide a contact email address if you wish for local residents to connect with you and participate on the day.  You can also share your location via the mapper on Facebook and Twitter.  The application allows you to additionally include project information to highlight your success.  Highlighting your work can not only encourage participation from other neighbors, but can also encourage other entities to support your work.


So give yourself a shout-out and map your community/group’s Wildfire Community Preparedness Day activities today!

Wildfire Mitigation Award Sponsors

Recipients of the annual 2017 Wildfire Mitigation Awards, the highest commendation for innovation and leadership by individuals and organizations committed to wildfire mitigation - includes fourteen individuals/organizations.


The awards were established in 2014 and are sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the USDA Forest Service (USFS) and will be presented at the IAFC Wildland Urban Interface Conference (WUI) in Reno, NV on March 22, 2017.


Those being honored for their exemplary commitment to community wildfire risk reduction include:

Bob Betts:  Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface Commission, Prescott, Arizona

Brianna Binnebose:  Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands

Heather Campbell:  Pollock Pines Fire Safe Council, Pollock Pines, California

Chief Walton Daugherty:  City of Helotes Fire Department, Helotes, Texas

Joanne Drummond:  Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, Grass Valley, California

Ann Hogan:  Town of Riverview, Wisconsin

John T. Mele:  Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District, Snowmass Village, Colorado

Pete Padelford:  Blue Lake Springs Homeowners Association, Arnold, California

Rebecca Samulski:  FireWise of Southwest Colorado, Dolores, Colorado

Bryan Schaffler:  USDA Forest Service

Jim Tencza:  FireWise of Southwest Colorado, Bayfield, Colorado

City of Borger, Texas

Santa Fe Fire Department, Wildland Division, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Yarnell Fire Mitigation Cooperative:  Yarnell, Arizona

It has been such a pleasure to see grant applications coming in already for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day.  I am also excited to hear that so many communities have plans to apply and I am looking forward to getting your community’s application.


As I have been working with such a dedicated team at the NFPA, many who are all working hard to help make this application process a reality, and seeing the interest from many communities across the United States, I thought about a quote from John F. Kennedy, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”  The Wildfire Community Preparedness Day grant applications give everyone the opportunity to try to make a difference.  We all have a part to play to reduce loss from wildfires and actions that we take following good principles can make a difference.


NFPA offers some opportunities for you to learn how to apply by registering for a free webinar, free online resources including; downloadable flyers, a safety guide, success stories from the past, best practices for applying, and more. Put together and submit your application today. And follow our web page to vote for your favorites.

The January issue of Fire BreakNFPA Wildfire Division's newsletter, is now available for viewing. Here's what you'll find in this month's issue:

  • News on the latest USAA Firewise discounts in New Mexico and Utah
  • Information about the launch of the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day funding award application period
  • A look at the 2016 Firewise numbers …
  • ...and much more!


We want to continue to share all of this great information with you, so don't miss an issue and subscribe today. It's free! Just add your email address to our newsletter list.

NASA conducted a recent study about drought caused by changes in climate as well as human-caused activities in the Sub-Sahara region of Africa.  According to the study, “A periodic temperature shift in the Atlantic Ocean, known as the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, plays a role, as does overgrazing, which reduces vegetative cover, and therefore the ability of the soil to retain moisture. By replacing vegetative cover’s moist soil, which contributes water vapor to the atmosphere to help generate rainfall, with bare, shiny desert soil that merely reflects sunlight directly back into space, the capacity for rainfall is diminished.


The study found that biomass burning by herders who burn the grassland to stimulate new growth also stymies convection that can bring rainfall.  The study indicated that having too many aerosols in the form of particles from the fire of burning grasslands can inhibit the formation of raindrops.


Scientists from NASA studied data from NASA’s moderate resolution spectroradiometer and the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission to analyze how wildfires can affect water cycles. This study found a connection between increased wildfires and a lack of precipitation. Due to some study anomalies, different research modeling is currently being developed to examine more in depth the relationship between large-scale biomass burning and drought.


Image of NASA's study region in Africa

Big news! USAA policyholders living in recognized Firewise sites in New Mexico and Utah can now receive discounts on their homeowners insurance premiums. Our Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program provided the community action framework and local data that supported USAA’s decision to offer such a discount to its policyholders.


USAA has been working with our Wildfire Division over the last few years to develop incentives for residents of wildfire-prone areas to take steps to create safer communities. USAA members in Firewise communities in New Mexico and Utah join their counterparts in California, Colorado, Texas, Oregon and Arizona in being offered the Firewise discount.



Currently, in New Mexico, there are now 24 active Firewise communities. In Utah, there are 26 active Firewise communities. In the past year these participating New Mexico and Utah communities invested more than $2.7 million combined in Firewise risk reduction actions.


To find out more about the USAA policyholder discount for Firewise community residents, please visit NFPA’s Firewise website.


For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resource, please visit the NFPA press room.

To help address the nation's wildfire challenge, we have worked with State Farm to offer project funding awards for our fourth national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 6th, which helps communities prepare for and reduce their risk of wildfire damage.  The award application period is now open! 


State Farm is providing funding to NFPA for the Preparedness Day event and a portion will be awarded to 150 neighborhood wildfire risk reduction projects being implemented on Saturday, May 6. Preparedness Day gives people of all ages a chance to plan and participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live. Project applications can be submitted through March 3. 


During Preparedness Day 2016, more than 190 projects were undertaken in 35 states and 125 recipients received funding from State Farm for activities that helped make residents and firefighters safer when wildfires happen.


For more information about national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, funding awards, project ideas and free resources to download, please visit

NFPA’s new report, Large-Loss Fires in the United States is the result of a compilation of statistics from a yearly study completed by NFPA researchers.   The study includes data from fires or explosions that result in at least 10 million dollars’ worth of damage.  The interesting statistic from NFPA’s research on large loss fires finds that, “last year, California’s Valley Fire was the country’s biggest large-loss fire, the ninth year out of the past 10 that a wildfire topped the list.”  The Valley fire resulted in loss calculated to 1.5 billion dollars’ worth of damage.  A second wildfire included in the study, the Butte Fire resulted in another 405 million dollars of direct property loss.


The NFPA also provides statistics on some of the 10 largest loss wildfires in the United States.

Barton Creek Lakeside, Firewise Community
Residents working towards reducing their wildfire risks within 176 communities, achieved national recognition for their accomplishments through the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities/USA program in 2016.


They now join communities throughout 41 states that annually complete a required set of renewal criteria to remain a participant. The grassroots efforts implemented in these sites demonstrates the homeowner’s commitment to make important contributions in making their investments better prepared for when wildfires occur. There’s currently 1,388 active recognized Firewise sites located in wildland/urban interface areas where wildfire risks exist.


States adding the most new Firewise communities during the recent calendar year include the following:

Washington:  32

Colorado:  23

Oregon:  23

California:  18

Arkansas:  13


The program’s original nine communities were recently acknowledged for 15 years of continuous participation. Reaching the 15-year milestone speaks volumes about the dedication and determination residents have in completing mitigation projects within commonly-owned areas and in their property’s home ignition zones.


Learn more about how residents can proactively impact their home’s individual survivability during future wildfires - and consider leading your neighbors in the Firewise collaborative process that increases their property’s chances of not being destroyed or damaged.

Are you looking for an opportunity to complete a project in your community to enhance your community’s safety from loss due to wildfire but are short of cash to make your idea a reality?  Starting January 9th through March 3rd NFPA will be offering an opportunity to apply for a mini-grant of $500 to complete a project that will enhance the resilience of your community with support from State Farm.


Project work completed in the past for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day includes; youth work on fuel breaks, providing assistance to seniors with yard work, community clean-up days, improving landscaping with firewise native plant choices and much more.  We are looking forward to learning about new, innovative project plans to promote wildfire safety from you and your community.


NFPA is also providing resources to help you with the application process and to help you complete a successful project.  Some of the free downloadable resources include a fillable flyer, best practices for completing your application, project safety checklist, and more.  The grant application is an easy to complete an online application.  NFPA is also offering a free webinar opportunity to help you complete the application well and share your event with your local community.


Fires blaze in Argentina

Posted by faithberry Employee Jan 6, 2017

NASA images show the extent of the fires blazing in Argentina in South America.  The NASA article stated that unseasonably warm weather, severe drought and thunderstorms contributed to the blazes burning in the Pampas region of Argentina.  According to the NASA report, more than 100,000 acres have burned.  The article also indicated that changes in agricultural activities because of the drought and declining economy may also have contributed to the intensity of these wildfires.


By monitoring the wildfire occurrences across the globe, NASA has provided real-time data for researchers and wildfire professionals that will hopefully enable them to better understand wildfires and also develop new research models that will enable communities to better understand their risk and take effective action to lessen their risk of loss due to wildfire.


The NASA image from the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite.

NOAA in their three-month weather outlook has predicted higher temperatures and lower precipitation for some areas in the Southeastern United States for the months of January through March, 2017.  A tool that can be used in the south for residents and foresters to help assess their wildfire risk in this area is South WRAP.  It is a mechanism for residents and foresters not only to become educated about their risk but also creates awareness of wildfire-related issues for this region of the United States.  Information is available for the stated of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Alabama.  There is a public viewer tab which allows anyone to look at wildfire risk ratings by region.  You can even draw a point on the map to determine the risk where you live.


According to the National Cohesive Strategy on Wildfire for the Southeast United States, “Year-round fire season: wildland fires burn 12 months a year in the Southeast, which stresses firefighting capacity and resources. Significant wildfire activity: between 2001 and 2010 nearly half of national ignitions and over 40 percent of the nation’s large wildfires occurred in the Southeast, which requires significant resources and tremendous firefighting capacity (NICC).”  The document also stated that over 57,000 communities are at risk of loss due to wildfire in this area.  On page 18 of the document the value listed of investment in wildfire prevention education and fire-related law enforcement activities are 35 dollars for every dollar invested.


There are many Firewise Communities located in this area of the United States. These communities are working hard to understand their risk and use resources made available by the NFPA with assistance from the US Forest Service to help reduce their risk of loss in the event of a wildfire. Visit NFPA’s Firewise Website to learn how your community can become Firewise.








Maps from NOAA weather outlook predictions

A wildfire on Monday evening burned 100 homes and forced over 4000 to evacuate in Laguna Verde, a town within Valparaiso, Chile. 19, mainly smoke related injuries, and no fatalities have been reported.


Both the BBC News and France24 News are sharing video from the community reporting on the fires and loss.


A wildfire in Valparaiso in March, 2015, caused one fatality; and a 2014 blaze destroyed over 200 homes, with 15 fatalities.


The cause of Monday’s fire is yet known but high winds and dry conditions carried a forest fire into the various ravines in the area. Hillside developments and narrow roads complicated firefighting efforts.


Chile is facing a multi-year drought that has brought both its forests and interface in threat. NFPA presented at a November 2016 conference on wildfire and climate change in Santiago, Chile, about community-lead approaches to risk reduction and will continue its work with Chile’s CONAF and CALFIRE in Chile in 2017.


Photo Credit: BBC News, Chile wildfires destroy scores of homes in Valparaiso - BBC News , pulled 3 January 2017.  

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: