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171 Posts authored by: cathyprudhomme Employee

 

Insurance policies for residences located in wildfire prone areas are frequently inadequate and coverage is often misunderstood. To ensure residents have the information and knowledge needed to be financially prepared, NFPA is hosting a free, one-hour webinar during Fire Prevention Week on Wednesday, October 10 at 1 pm MDT (3 pm Eastern).

 

The session includes important information from subject matter experts at the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Northwest Insurance Council and the Insurance Information Institute along with a 15-minute live interactive opportunity for participants to ask the panel’s experts their questions.

 

During the webinar, participants will discover what insurance companies know about their property, how they make policy related decisions and most importantly how to ensure their policy is all it needs to be when a wildfire strikes.

 

Register today and get this date added to your calendar to ensure you are a part of this informative webinar. Advance registration is required. NFPA recommends registering even if you cannot participate in person, so you will receive notice when the recorded webinar is available.

 

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fires can happen anywhere.”

Members of the sponsoring organizations on stage with award recipient

 

Here's the perfect opportunity to highlight and recognize an outstanding individual, group or organization that continuously demonstrates exceptional wildfire risk reduction achievements - the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awards.


The national awards are the highest honor for outstanding work and significant impacts in wildfire preparedness and mitigation. Established in 2014, the awards were developed in response to an overwhelming number of exceptional wildfire risk reduction efforts occurring throughout the U.S.


Nominating a deserving individual or organization is simple and easy-to-do. Read the guidelines and supporting criteria and get started by completing the form.


Three award categories cover a broad spectrum of achievements:

  • National Wildfire Mitigation Award
  • National Mitigation Hero Award
  • Wildfire Mitigation Legacy Award

 

Jointly 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), the deadline to submit a nomination is Wednesday, October 31.


Awards will be presented at the Wildland Urban Interface Conference, March 27, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.

 

Photo credit: NFPA

Use of exterior sprinkler systems as an option to protect a home during wildfires is something frequently explored by residents looking for ways to increase their home’s chances of survival. Information in July’s Wildfire Research Fact Sheet on the functionality of exterior sprinkler systems, along with potential issues and recommendations is a must-read if you're considering adding them to your home.

 

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise USA® program produces the fact sheet series. Each topic provides residents living in areas where wildfires can happen with important research findings.

 

The series also provides forestry agencies, fire departments and additional stakeholders with the ability to customize each fact sheet with their agency or department’s logo.

Skylights and their ability to compromise a home during a wildfire is the featured topic in this month’s Wildfire Research Fact Sheet. A skylight can be vulnerable if subjected to extended radiant heat exposure or to flames when embers ignite accumulated vegetative debris. Implementing precautionary steps can help keep them from being an entry point for embers and flames.

 

Get the full fact sheet and learn which skylights are less likely to fail, how a roof’s slope has an impact, glass and screen benefits and what to do with your skylight prior to evacuating (if and when time permits).

 

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA® program produces the fact sheet series. Each topic provides residents living in wildfire risk areas with important research findings that can improve their home’s chances of surviving a wildfire.

 

The series also provides forestry agencies, fire departments and additional stakeholders with the ability to customize each of the topics with their agency or department’s logo.

The under-eave area of a house is often overlooked when addressing vulnerabilities that can cause damage or loss during a wildfire. Neglecting this structural component increases susceptibility to heat from flames, which can become trapped allowing fire to spread into attic vents and through the attic. Embers lodged in gaps between blocking and joists can also result in ignition and fire entry into the attic. When embers enter an attic they can ignite stored combustible materials.

 

Research has shown that soffited-eaves and vents are less vulnerable to both ember entry and direct flame contact exposures. Wildfire research conducted by IBHS supports the use of soffited-eave construction; and additional research and guidance from FEMA also suggests a soffited design as the best option.

 

Learn more about under-eave construction and what homeowners can do to reduce risks in that area of the home in the Wildfire Research Fact Sheet series produced by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA® program.

 

Each fact sheet in the on-going series provides residents living in wildfire risk areas with important research findings that can improve their home’s chances of surviving a wildfire. The series also provides forestry agencies, fire departments and other stakeholders with an educational outreach tool that can be customized with an agency/department logo.

Interest and participation in the national Firewise USA® resident focused, wildfire risk reduction program, continues to gain momentum with 1,503 active sites located throughout 42 states. The program’s participants are residents living in areas with wildfire risks, completing work at their individual properties and in tandem with their neighbors and broader neighboring residents to complete the recognition program’s annual requirements.

 

Administered by the National Fire Protection Association, the Firewise USA® program is a collaborative partnership with each of the participating state’s forestry agencies and their designated program liaison. Using a framework that provides residents with a set of annual requirements needed to retain an “In Good Standing” status; residents must demonstrate and document their successful achievements every calendar year. That criteria includes a yearly investment in risk reduction actions that when completed can increase a home’s chances of survival during a wildfire.

 

Currently, participating sites represent more than 1.5 million residents with a self-reported investment of more than $54 million dollars in risk reduction activities over the past twelve months.

 

Connect with the Firewise USA® team to learn how you and your neighbors can become a recognized Firewise USA® site and begin working towards making where you live a safer place for residents and firefighters responding to wildfires.

Wind-blown embers generated during wildfires are the single biggest hazard posed to homes, and homeowners should never overlook the potential risk that an attached deck can create. Nothing that can ignite should be stored under a deck. An ignited deck can result in the ignition of combustible siding or glass breakage in a sliding glass door. The research detailed in April's Wildfire Research Fact Sheet provides low-cost construction changes that can minimize fire spread on ember-ignited decks.

 

Recent testing by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has important findings that can help minimize risk from wind-blown embers in a wildfire. The 2018 five-part Wildfire Research Fact Sheet series produced by the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Firewise USA® program and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) will run from April thru August.

 

Each fact sheet in the series provides residents living in areas prone to wildfires with important research findings that should be implemented at their homes. They also provide forestry agencies and fire departments with a tool that can be utilized in their educational outreach efforts by customizing the fact sheets with an agency/department logo.

 

USFS Missoula Fire Sciences Lab

A very interesting read on the growth of the wildland-urban interface from scientists with the USDA Forest Service and the University of Wisconsin-Madison is now available. Scientists tracked changes in the nation’s WUI over a 20-year time span that revealed the area has expanded by more than 46 million acres (an area larger than Washington State), with one-third of all homes in the U.S. now located in areas that are near or intermingled with forests and grasslands.

 

Authors of the study, “Rapid growth of the U.S. Wildland-Urban Interface raises wildfire risk” published March 12, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, found both the number of homes in the WUI and its total footprint are growing rapidly, with many implications for wildfire management and other natural resource management issues. 

 

In addition to the article, make sure to catch an excellent new video, “A Better Way to Think About Wildfires” produced by the USDA Forest Service with the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. It's a great resource to share with stakeholders at all levels. Using a creative approach that includes drone footage and video that illustrates the physics of fire from the USFS Missoula Fire Sciences Lab, it explains the benefits of healthy fire to forest ecosystems. 

 

Grab a cup of coffee and take a few minutes to read the article and watch the video!

 

Get detailed information in our new Reducing Wildfire Risks in the Home Ignition Zone foldout poster that will assist in planning your wildfire risk reduction projects. The format includes detailed actions that all residents with a wildfire risk should complete at their home. Learn about ignition resistant building materials and construction techniques, along with vegetation and debris removal and how each can be impacted during a wildfire.

 

The easy-to-follow checklist identifies tasks that increase a home’s potential survivability when exposed to embers and/or a surface fire. Use the checklist to track individual accomplishments within the Immediate, Intermediate and Extended home ignition zones and make entries that denote when they were completed and will need to be repeated.

 

Order a poster today for both yourself and your neighbors and work together to prepare your homes and landscapes for when wildfires happen. Posters are available as an individual single-unit, or packaged in bundles of 25 for larger outreach events. Both are available through the NFPA online catalog.

In my family, we are always looking for reasons to eat cake. Celebrations of all sizes work equally well for us; so I’m very excited that I can indulge in a big slice tonight as a nod to the 277 Firewise USA sites that recently reached a 5, 10 or 15 year milestone anniversary of wildfire risk reduction achievements. Accomplishments of that magnitude call for lots and lots of cake so join me from afar and cut yourself a giant slice too!

 

These site's long-term accomplishments range from individual efforts, to neighbor-to-neighbor collaborative actions, to community-wide projects that increase a homes chances of surviving wildfires. Each has embraced the importance of neighbors working together to reduce wildfire risks and have worked closely with their state forestry agency and local fire department to maximize their efforts. 

 

We extend a hearty round of applause to all that reached these major milestones! There are 167 sites that reached the five-year milestone; 94 that reached the ten-year milestone and 16 superstars achieved fifteen years with the program. The sixteen sites completing fifteen years of participation will receive customized street signage that proudly shares their status in the program.

 

The 15-year sites include:

Arkansas: Holiday Island, Holiday Island, AR; Joplin, Mt. Ida, AR; Norman, Norman AR and Story, Story, AR

Florida:  Lakewood, Starke, FL

New Mexico:  Village of Ruidoso, Ruidoso, NM

North Carolina:  River Run Plantation, Bolivia, NC

Pennsylvania:  Penn Forest Streams, Jim Thorpe, PA

South Dakota:  Mountain Plains, Spearfish, SD

Tennessee:  Cumberland Cove, Monterey, TN

Texas:  Tierra Linda Ranch, Kerrville, TX; Trails of Horseshoe Bay, Horseshoe Bay, TX and Wildcatter Ranch and Resort, Graham, TX

Washington:  Lummi Island Scenic Estates, Lummi Island, WA

Wyoming:  Story, Buffalo, WY and Union Pass, Dubois, WY

 

Learn how you and your neighbors can become a Firewise USA program participant at Firewise.org, or contact your local state forestry liaison.

 

During the Wildfire Mitigation Awards ceremony on February 28, held at the Wildland Urban Interface Conference in Reno, NV, nine recipients from five states were recognized for their exemplary work to reduce wildfire risks. The awards 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).

 

Established in 2014, the awards are the highest commendation for innovation and leadership displayed by individuals and organizations committed to wildfire mitigation.

 

Recognizing the comprehensive challenges posed by wildfires, these awards applaud the outstanding dedication to wildfire mitigation across a broad spectrum of activities and among a variety of individuals and organizations. By honoring their achievements, the award sponsors seek to increase public recognition and awareness of the value and importance of wildfire mitigation efforts.

 

Recipients of the 2018 national Wildfire Mitigation Awards include:

  • Abby Watkins, Newaygo County Emergency Services, White Cloud, Michigan
  • Blue Mountain Forest Stewardship Initiative, Golden, Colorado
  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Durango, Colorado
  • Grizzly Flats Fire Safe Council, Grizzly Flats, California
  • Jeff Dunning, Allstate Insurance, Grass Valley, California
  • Jesse Cox, Trinity County Fire Safe Council, Weaverville, California
  • Pat McKelvey, Tri-County Firesafe Working Group, Helena, Montana
  • Project Wildfire, Deschutes County (Bend), OR
  • Rincon Fire Department, Valley Center, California

 

In addition to the nine mitigation awards, Christina Randall was posthumously awarded the National Legacy Award. Randall was the wildfire mitigation administrator for the City of Colorado Springs Fire Department, where she'd worked for fourteen years. Prior to CSFD, she worked for the USDA Forest Service in multiple roles for nineteen years.The award spotlighted her outstanding contributions to reducing wildfire risks in Colorado Springs and also through the many national wildfire committees she served on. CSFD’s Fire Marshal Brett Lacey accepted the award.

Within the suburbs and foothills west of Denver, CO, West Metro Fire Rescue has been engaged in wildfire education and outreach since 2007; their efforts have produced two Firewise USA™ sites, but like the majority of fire departments, fuels reduction projects are often limited by capacity and funding.

Knowing collaboration and creativity are essential to addressing those challenges, wildfire mitigation specialist/firefighter Steve Orr connected with Team Rubicon following a series of unexplained fires in an area called Green Mountain to initiate a conversation about the possibility of working on a project to remove dense brush adjacent to property lines of the homes in that area. Most of the residences in that area were built during the 1960s and 70s with wood fences/decks and vulnerable home ignition zones, which increased their risk.

Orr was successful in getting Team Rubicon volunteers involved and ultimately the project grew to also include the City of Lakewood, and the Green Mountain Civic Association. Prior to the project West Metro Fire Rescue went door-to-door notify residents and to provide them with information about steps they could take to reduce their wildfire risks.

Working with Team Rubicon, who handled the majority of the logistical and operational functions using sixty enthusiastic and hard-working volunteers, vegetation was removed that yielded around 50 cubic yards of wood chips. With more work to be done, plans have been made with Team Rubicon to return to do additional work, with hopes that they can also assist with future projects. By seeking out untraditional resources, Firefighter Orr was able to deliver much needed resources to the West Metro Fire Rescue community!

Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to those affected by natural disasters, be they domestic or international. By pairing the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals, and technology solutions, Team Rubicon aims to provide the greatest service and impact possible. Through continued service, Team Rubicon seeks to provide veterans with three things they lose after leaving the military: a purpose gained through disaster relief; community, built by serving with others; and identity, from recognizing the impact one individual can make. Coupled with leadership development and other opportunities, Team Rubicon looks to help veterans transition from military to civilian life.

            U.S. Army Photo - Tanja Linton

More than two years ago, while working on his Fire Officer Certification, Fort Huachuca firefighter Juan Zamora began exploring the army post’s potential participation in the Firewise USA™ program; and after successfully pitching the wildfire risk reduction concept to the base’s garrison commander Col. James Wright, efforts to meet the program’s criteria began.

 

Zamora was joined in the effort by Keith Read, a post fire inspector and through consultation with Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management fire prevention officer Mayra Moreno, the push to become a nationally recognized Firewise USA™ site moved forward quickly.

 

The army post now includes briefings for new post residents to share information on what they can do to reduce the impact of wildfires. Join NFPA in saluting Fort Huachuca for their accomplishments, as we welcome them to the national program's close to 1,500 participating sites!

Wildfire risk reduction requires committed and dedicated residents striving to reduce their wildfire risks; and in 2017, a total of 170 new participating sites completed the criteria to become nationally recognized through the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise™ USA program.

 

The newest participants join sites throughout 42 states that annually complete a required set of criteria to remain in a good standing status. Since 2002, the program has provided a framework and guidelines for residents to implement important actions that better prepare their homes for wildfires. There’s currently 1,479 active Firewise sites located in areas with a wildfire potential.

 

States adding the most new Firewise USA sites during the recent calendar year include: Washington: 20; Colorado: 20; Oregon: 19; California: 17 and Arkansas: 14.

 

Learn more about how residents can proactively impact their home’s potential survivability during a wildfire and start coordinating your neighbors into becoming a participant during 2018.

How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfires

Updated wildfire risk reduction guidelines that contribute to making homes safer during a wildfire are now available in a tri-fold brochure printed in both English and Spanish. The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA program’s newest resource, How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfires includes information that highlights the practices residents should implement within their individual property’s Home Ignition Zones; along with details about the importance of fire resistive construction materials.

 

From vegetation management guidance, to personal preparedness tips, the brochure is a great resource that will be of assistance to residents living in wildfire risk areas. The Home Safety Checklist included in the brochure includes simple steps from roof to foundation that contribute to making a home safer from embers and radiant heat.

 

Order the brochure for your next resident meeting, or share with stakeholders at upcoming outreach events! They're a great tool to start a conversation with neighbors about the importance of doing collaborative risk reduction activities that can impact structure-to structure ignitions during a wildfire.

 

Become a volunteer resident leader and get your neighbors involved in the national Firewise USA recognition program. 

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