Immense time and effort are put into naming everything from our children, to businesses, products and even our pets; and that was also the case, when after more than fifteen years, NFPA ever so slightly changed the name and logo of its cornerstone wildfire risk reduction program, Firewise Communities/USA® to Firewise USA™.
The tagline, Residents Reducing Wildfire Risks was also recently added to emphasize the actions program participants are committed to implementing throughout the 42 states with active programs, where residents are working to make where they live a safer place when wildfires occur.
By removing the word communities from the program’s name, which recent feedback revealed, often created an illusion that areas of risk had to be part of a formal homeowners or property association to participate, (which was definitely not the case), will engage more residents into collaboratively working with their neighbors to actively reduce their wildfire risks. The name was also frequently confused with Fire Adapted Communities, a concept where a fire adapted community accepts wildfire as part of the natural landscape and takes responsibility for its risk and community members understand the risk and have proactively implemented collaborative mitigation actions. Those actions address resident and home safety, neighborhoods, businesses, infrastructure, forests, parks, open space and other community assets. Firewise USA in an important part of being a Fire Adapted Community and one does not replace the other.
Through the minor name change, it’s anticipated that more neighborhoods will understand the value and benefits of participating in the program and will choose to complete the program’s required annual criteria to become a recognized Firewise USA™ site.
To learn more about how you and your neighbors can become a participant visit Firewise.org.