Over the last year the work accomplished in the Firewise USA program has exceeded our expectations.
The Firewise USA program focuses on supporting and recognizing residents for working to reduce their wildfire risk. Participating communities assess their risk, come up with a plan to address it, and take action. Every year participating Firewise USA sites report the work they did to renew their status as an active community in the program.
1,655 communities across 42 states participated in 2019. Residents reported investing $86.7 million in wildfire risk reduction activities. That total includes more than 1.5 million volunteer hours which is calculated into the investment using the national volunteer hourly rate of $25.43 per hour.
The Firewise USA program welcomed more new communities to the program than ever before with 220 new sites. The bulk of our new sites joining the program came from our western states. Communities in California made up almost half of our new sites this year, followed by Oregon, Arizona, Washington and Colorado.
States adding the most new sites:
- CA – 101
- OR – 29
- AZ – 16
- WA – 12
- CO -10
Most inspiring is hearing the first hand stories from residents about what they’ve accomplished. In my personal conversations with participants I heard a lot of passion from people some with stories about facing a close call with a wildfire, others who recognized risk where they live that were similar to other neighborhoods destroyed in recent wildfires. These residents play a key role in making their homes more ignition resistant and in supporting their neighbors. We are so proud of the work that they have done and are looking forward to more accomplishments to come in 2020.