Tomorrow, May 2, marks the 7th annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day celebrated in the U.S. and Canada, but 2020’s observance of the day will be quite different than in years past. Due to important safety precautions to limit the spread of the deadly coronavirus, group activities are off-limits to most of us right now.
Happily, many staunch and dedicated wildfire safety advocates – neighborhood groups, Fire Safe Councils, state forestry agencies, state fire marshals, and more – have come up with creative ways to inform and educate residents on what they can do right now, at home, to reduce wildfire risks.
A quick search around the internet reveals recommendations, tools, virtual meetings, and more, all the way from Florida to the Canadian Yukon. Whether you choose to engage on May 2 or spread the Prep Day love out across the summer and fall, here are some great ideas from across North America to inspire you and to help keep wildfire safety top of mind:
- The Texas A&M Forest Service decided to do a week-long celebration of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day via Facebook Live video events under the hashtag #Mitigation Minute;
- Fire Adapted Colorado put together Strategies for Resilience, a mini-handbook providing safe and effective actions for individuals and neighbors to take while staying home;
- The national Fire Adapted Communities Network pulled together NFPA and local resources to give fire safety advocates and educators a whole raft of ideas for creative solutions that are both fire- and virus-adapted;
- In California, Tahoe’s Living with Fire program is providing weekly tips for what people can safely do to prepare for wildfire, like creating an evacuation “go bag”;
- Oregon’s Office of the State Fire Marshal is on Twitter, recommending that “as we practice #SocialDistancing, we can still reduce the risks of wildfires in our communities. There's plenty we can do, at a socially safe distance, at home!”
- The Fire Protection Bureau of the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation likewise Tweets about #WildfirePrepDay and offers a small gift for pictures of your family performing home wildfire risk reduction projects, along with informational resources;
- North of the border, the City of Whitehorse in Yukon, Canada, is hosting “Get Smart About Wildfire!” as a Facebook Live event on May 2 that promises answers to your burning questions about wildfire safety and preparedness.