A cornerstone of the Firewise USA program is neighbors working together to reduce their shared risk from wildfire. Each year residents in participating sites work together to meet goals identified in their action plan that increase the ignition resistance of their homes, property, and community. As we continue to wade our way through 2020 and the ongoing COVID-19 situation, I want to take a moment to remind folks of how important this work is and provide some resources to assist in meeting the annual renewal requirements.
As a part of the program, each site is required to annually invest the equivalent of one volunteer hour per dwelling unit in wildfire risk reduction actions. If your site has identified 100 homes within its boundary, than 100 hours of work or the monetary equivalent, need to be completed for the year. This is still the expectation in 2020 and should be reported in your renewal application, due November 20th.
Over the years many of our sites have achieved this requirement by hosting a community work day, something that has been difficult to safely achieve this year. Don't let that hold you back. Remember, hours worked and money spent by individuals on their property count towards your whole community. Use this year to really drive home the importance of work done on the home and in the 0-5-foot space.
Science tells us there are a lot of simple tasks that make an impact on the chance of a home surviving a wildfire. Share these resources with your neighbors to help guide their actions, then collect their hours. In no time at all your community will be on its way to completing the 2020 renewal.
- How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfire one-pager (English and Spanish)
- Research Fact Sheet series - developed in partnership with IBHS, these fact sheets address different aspects of the home and provide suggestions for how to improve them.
- Weekend Wildfire Preparedness - our friends at IBHS have developed a list of different weekend activities that over time will make a big impact
- Some communities have still been able to host chipper days with individuals working on their property and bringing the material to the road for crews to pick up. Just make sure you are following any local guidelines/safety precautions
Remember, preparing for wildfires and lowering home ignitability is a year-round event – not limited to a weekend or two leading up to summer. Many of your residents did excellent work this spring, this a reminder to keep it going. It might be time to revisit those gutters, the 0-5 foot area where they rake up the leaves/needles/other debris, or to mow that lawn again.
As we navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.