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This image shows a group of people having a discussion in an outdoor wooded area. At the recent Northeast Fire Compact Annual Meeting in Maine, Katie Lighthall, coordinator for the Western Region of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy effort, shared a concept that is showing success across the West in stimulating increased action within communities at risk of wildfire.  What she shared at a team meeting brings the model east and with the hope that it is more widely adopted.  Katie explained that, “most people do not think of the Northeast or the Midwest as the proverbial hot bed of fire activity, but nothing could be further from the truth.


Katie shared that
the Learning Lab is a shared learning event tailored to a specific community that brings together all levels of stakeholders in the setting of a previous fire incident.  There, they collaboratively learn about the Cohesive Strategy vision of living with wildland fire and what it means to work better together for better fire outcomes.

Katie said that participants are local stakeholders including representatives from US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management offices, state fire and land management agencies, Tribal entities, elected officials, planners, non-governmental organizations and other community leaders and members. Typically, these events are an all-day affair in which stakeholders hear candidly about successes and challenges in how the previous fire was managed or suppressed, vegetation treatments, challenges with evacuation, post-fire impacts, and other hard truths about living with wildland fire.  This conversation is achieved in a facilitated, non-judgmental atmosphere. Short presentations are sometimes followed by a field tour during which additional information is shared. Questions and interaction are strongly encouraged.

Katie went onto explain that facilitators ask members of the audience what they’ve learned from the day’s agenda in the context of the goals and vision of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy. She noted that there are many “aha” moments that surface during this part of the event. They provide a perfect lead in to the Learning Lab finale of audience-suggested and ranked recommendations with commitments to move forward by implementing actions that will help improve fire outcomes in that community.

Importantly, she noted that this type of face-to-face engagement at the community and local agency level has proved successful in helping stakeholders understand more about the Cohesive Strategy and what it means to live with wildland fire.

The Northeast Region of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy convened this week in Portland, Maine alongside the Northeast Fire Compact’s Annual Meeting. NFPA representatives routinely participate in these meetings as partners and stakeholders in the overall objectives.

 

Image: Learning lab in McCall, ID, part of Living with Fire in Valley County, courtesy of Katie Lighthall.

2019 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day banner

You can apply for a great opportunity to get $500 dollars to use on the project of your choice so that you, those you love, and the things you care about are safer from wildfire. With generous support from State Farm®, the National Fire Protection Association is again offering the opportunity to apply for one of 150 awards of $500 to complete a Wildfire Community Preparedness Day project on May 4, 2019.

It is so easy to apply using our simple online form. Did you know that almost anyone living in the U.S. and the U.S. Territories can apply? You don’t need to have non-profit status. Young people between the ages of 13 and 18 can apply with a guardian’s permission. So who else can apply? 

State Farm employees at Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event1. Individuals who need help with wildfire risk reduction projects

2. Members of Firewise USA® sites, Fire Adapted Communities networks or Fire Safe Councils 

3. Young people completing community service projects, Eagle Scout requirements or 4-H projects

4. Seniors who need help with wildfire safety clean-up work around their homes and in their yards

5. Fire departments supporting neighborhood wildfire safety efforts

6. Faith-based groups 

7. Tribal organizations

8. Volunteer groups

9. Any group of neighbors who want to make their community safer from wildfire

Don’t wait! The application period closes on March 1st, and you want to give yourself plenty of time to craft a winning application. You don’t have to win a funding award to participate on the day! Be a part of creating homes, neighborhoods, towns, and cities that are safer from wildfire this year! Make sure to check out the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day page for resources that can help you, including a how-to video on YouTube, project ideas and more.

 

Photo of State Farm representatives assisting at Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event taken by Faith Berry, NFPA.

Research related to how homes ignite and post-wildfire assessments tell us that the majority of home ignitions during a wildfire are from embers and small surface fires. Since 2002, the Firewise USA® program has encouraged residents across the county to take action at the home and surrounding area to reduce the chances of their home igniting.  Residents have invested millions of dollars in volunteer hours and cash investment in this work and have made significant accomplishments.

Over the last decade, while progress has been made, extreme fire conditions have shown us that we all need to do more.  In 2019, Firewise USA® is challenging seven active sites across the country to just that.  Sites of Excellence is a 24-month pilot program designed to increase resident participation in active wildfire risk reduction through a focused approach.  Based on the science we have and the fires we have experienced, we must have more residents engaged and doing more of the right work in the right places.  We must increase the ignition resistance of our homes and our communities if we want to change the results of these wildland urban disasters.

 Our challenge to these participants is:

  • To have 100% participation of homes within the designated pilot boundary (sites were able to self-identify up to 100 co-located homes in each pilot site).
  • To complete identified mitigation tasks within 30 feet of every home, based on recommendations from individual assessments.

We recognize that these are lofty goals, however, in order to effectively move needle on wildfire preparedness and increase the ignition resistance of individual homes and communities, this is the type of effort that needs to occur.   Over the next several months we will feature each site, telling their story of what wildfire preparedness means to them, why they volunteered for the pilot, what they hope to accomplish.   We look forward to sharing in their journey and hope you do to.

 

Pilot Participants:

7-R Ranch, TX

Coal Bank Ridge , VA

Crystal Lake Club, WI

Flowery Trail, WA

Forest Highlands, AZ

Red Rock Ranch, CO

Summit Park, UT

 

Photo Credit: Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management

Want to learn more about the Sites of Excellence, Firewise USA® , and other wildfire preparedness efforts? Follow me on Twitter @meganfitz34

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is only a few months away. If you know what project your community will engage in on May 4, now’s the time to apply for a funding award that can help offset the costs. Our newest video below can help walk you through the applications process.


The deadline to apply is March 1, so give yourself plenty of time to craft a winning application. The funding awards are available through the generous support of State Farm.
For additional information about Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, project resources, tip sheets, and more, visit www.wildfireprepday.org. wildfireprepday

Burned out car in Magalia, California after 2018 Camp FireIt was clear that the destroyed homes we saw were more flammable than the vegetation around them. On a tour of the devastation wrought by the Camp Fire in Butte County, my colleagues Ray Bizal and Tom Welle and I saw textbook cases of the impacts of embers, structure-to-structure ignition and wind-driven wildfire all through the communities of Paradise and Magalia.

 

We were part of a group invited by the Western Fire Chiefs Association, who coordinated a learning tour of the area along with CAL FIRE and the local fire chief on January 22. The goal was to include not only fire service professionals but also researchers, insurance industry representatives, and those involved in safety outreach and advocacy such as NFPA. We welcomed the rare opportunity to gain a first-hand local perspective on the event from CAL FIRE and local officials.

Tom Welle, Ray Bizal and Michele Steinberg of NFPA at a site of Camp Fire destruction

We observed that the wildfire was an equal opportunity destroyer, leveling high-end homes and more modest manufactured homes across the communities of Paradise and Magalia. According to the incident synopsis provided by the Western Fire Chiefs Association, one of the major considerations was “ember ignition, ember ignition, ember ignition. The Camp Fire was all about ember ignition. Paradise and surrounding area are in a Pine forest, the ground was littered with pine needles. Ponderosa Pines drop about 1/3 of their needles each year…even those who had ‘raked’ their yards had a new fuel bed due to the wind.” The synopsis also indicated that there were areas where urban conflagration took place – when one structure ignited it provided enough radiant heat and embers as it burned to ignite the next structure, and so on.

 

We received materials on the tour including wildfire preparedness brochures and guides developed by the Butte County Fire Safe Council, a long-active group that has promoted safety guidance including NFPA’s Firewise USA® program. While wildfire preparedness was embraced among many residents, the age, condition and proximity of homes to brush, trees and debris as well as to one another at the time of the fire made home destruction in this intense, fast-moving, wind-driven wildfire inevitable.

 

completely destroyed homes with standing burned and green trees in the vicinityParadise officials and residents also planned and practiced evacuations, but according to the fire chief, they had never contemplated having to evacuate the entire town simultaneously. His own parents were two of the people who made it out of danger through harrowing hours on the road, and who also lost their home. The fire’s destruction was typical in terms of unprepared homes that were more flammable than the vegetation surrounding them and often close enough to one another to cause an urban conflagration – both elements hallmarks of American wildland/urban interface fires. What stood out for me was the sheer size of the damage footprint. We drove miles and miles to encounter the same terrible story at every stop – unconsumed large trees and completely destroyed homes and vehicles.

 

The region has enormous challenges ahead in recovery. Even residents whose homes survived are still out of their homes due to benzene in the drinking water. Small business owners whose physical locations survived have few customers left in the area. The wholesale destruction of thousands of residences in a region where the housing market is already squeezed and contractors are in short supply predict a long and difficult road ahead. There are a number of positive efforts occurring locally to support those made homeless by the event and related recovery needs, and insurers are busy providing claims services to help people back on their feet financially. But everyone should understand the magnitude of the destruction and the huge challenges that the whole community faces for the future.

 

Former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was recently quoted talking about our society’s failure to plan for the worst case scenario. A quick Google search shows that he’s been talking about this for at least a decade, imploring not only emergency managers and government agencies to start a shift in thinking, but also calling on residents to recognize and acknowledge that government alone cannot avert the destruction and suffering from the next flood, hurricane or wildfire to come along. If nothing else, I hope the Camp Fire is the motivation for communities all over the country facing natural hazard risks to engage, plan and act to address the situation long before the next deadly event occurs.

 

Photos taken by Michele Steinberg, NFPA, in Magalia, California, January 22, 2019

While this past year we watched devastating wildfires make the television news cycle throughout the country, quietly thousands of people decided to take action to reduce their wildfire risk. Wildfire preparedness doesn’t often make national headlines, but it is becoming a topic of discussion in neighborhoods across the country. The Firewise USA® program is geared towards helping residents work together to not only learn about the wildfire risk in their community, but to take steps to make their neighborhood safer from wildfire. 

In 2018, we asked our Firewise sitesto take even more action than they did in the past by increasing the minimum requirement to become a Firewise USA® site. Despite this change, we saw neighborhoods across the country step up to the plate. 2018 welcomed 163 new sites across the country, with an increased sites in states like California, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado & Georgia. 

The Firewise USA ®  program began in 2002 with 12 pilot sites and currently has a total of 1,478 active participating sites in 42 states. 
Program-wide in 2018, Firewise USA® sites invested more than $65 million in risk reduction efforts.  This included over 1.3 million volunteer hours of "sweat equity".   

Science shows us that wildfires are inevitable in the wildland urban interface, but there are things we can all do to make our homes more likely to survive when this does happen. The 1,478 sites within the Firewise USA® program have committed to a continued collaborative effort in wildfire risk reduction. Every year sites are required to report their accomplishments and reach a minimum investment equivalent to one hour of work per home within the site.

 

The mission does not end here! We look forward to 2019 and encouraging even more achievements in the sites that have begun their journey to be safer from wildfire. 

 

Photo Credits: NFPA wildfire photo library

It is not often that people doing the long-term, incremental, locally-based, small-scale work that is vital to wildfire risk reduction are recognized for their efforts, perseverance, and commitment. For the fifth year in a row, the organizations that make up the Wildfire Mitigation Awards committee have created an opportunity to acknowledge these unsung heroes in our midst.

 

Representatives of the US Forest Service, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Association of State Foresters and NFPA established these awards to denote the highest commendation for innovation and leadership displayed by individuals and organizations committed to wildfire mitigation. We are all pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awards, a result of nominations from their colleagues and fellow safety advocates:

 

  • Byron Bonney (Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development Area, Hamilton, Montana)
  • City of Pigeon Forge (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee)
  • Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership (Flagstaff, Arizona)
  • Pat Dwyer (Logtown Fire Safe Council and El Dorado County Fire Safe Council, Logtown, California)
  • Paulette Church (Durango, Colorado)
  • Rocky Infanger (Tri-County FireSafe Working Group/Wolf Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Helena, Montana)
  • Sunset View Estates (Bend, Oregon) 

 

The Awards will be presented at the Wildland Urban-Interface 2019 Conference in Reno, Nevada, March 27, 2019. Learn more about the conference and how to register here.

 

For more about the Awards process and goals, read our press release here.

 

The January 2019 edition of NFPA’s® Journal explores why older residents suffered so greatly during the recent Campfire in an article titled, “Old & In Harm’s Way”.

According to the article,” The demographics of Paradise skewed older, with a significant portion of the population 65 or above. The town also had a significantly higher proportion of disabled residents. When those vulnerable populations came face to face with the topography and fire history of Paradise—most of the town exists in the wildland/urban interface—it was a meeting primed to end in disaster.”

 

A separate article by the Los Angeles Timesbacked up this observation, sharing that the majority of deaths that occurred during the Camp Fire were seniors. According to the article, “The victims who have been identified range in age from 39 to 99; however, 60% were in their 70s, 80s or 90s.”

So, what can be done to help prepare vulnerable populations such as the elderly, those without vehicles, those with physical or mental limitations, latch key children home alone while parents are at work, the homeless, and those for whom English is a second language? 

 

A first step is to learn more from NFPA’s emergency evacuation planning guide for people with disabilities.

Some other steps that can be taken include:

 

1.  Community members can identify and connect with those needing assistance in their neighborhood and make a plan where neighbors act as a buddy to assist disabled residents during events. 

 

2. Have a neighborhood, youth, or church group connect with disabled residents and help them with wildfire safety-focused yard work. Apply for a $500 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day award to help.You are not only helping to make their home safer, but yours as well.

3. Make sure disabled residents have a go-bag with extra medications, prescriptions, and anything else they need to have with them to reduce the time it will take for them to leave their home. Check out NFPA’s “Go Bag” checklist to learn more. There is even one for pets.

4. Host a community practice evacuation day, make it fun!

 

5. If a community finds they have a large percentage of residents that will need assistance, host a meeting with local emergency responders to share this with them and develop plans to ensure everyone’s safety.

 

We all have a part to play to improve the safety of our homes, neighbors, and those closest to us.  Let’s make sure it includes everyone too!

 

Photo Credits: Top photo, Marie Brescht; Second photo, Fallbrook Fire Authority. 
Home in Durango Colorado where a wildfire burned nearbyMany times I have seen pictures of a lone home that survived a wildfire while all the surrounding homes in the neighborhood burned. Recently I saw a compelling 3-D image shared by the New York Timesof one home that survived on a street in Paradise while all the surrounding homes burned. Was it luck, a miracle, or is there more to it? Although there is never a guarantee, there are many things homeowners can do to help their homes survive a wildfire.
If you look closely at the 3-D shot you can see some things this homeowner did that helped to protect their home:
1. Hardscaping -- rock has been used in the landscaping close to the home
2. A well-maintained roof
3. The yard was cleared of debris -- no trash, leaves or other debris, especially within the first 5 feet
4. The area around the bottom of the home is covered
5. The vent at the base of the home has screening
Siting and relative location to other flammable structures also played a part. It appears that the trees next to the home absorbed the heat from one home that ignited close to this home and it was far enough away from other homes that ignited.
NFPA®has created resources to help you learn what causes homes to burn and what steps you can take to increase the survivability of your home. These resources help you look at the “Home Ignition Zone”, completing wildfire safety project work that can help make your home safer. Still don’t have a good resolution for the New Year? How about increasing the wildfire safety of your home and neighborhood by taking action today?   Followtips you can downloadat no cost from NFPA's  Firewise USA® webpage.
Photo: Home that survived a wildfire in Durango, Colorado, by Faith Berry.
This graphic shows three homes and their overlapping home ignitions zones.  The overlap demonstrates the need for neighbors to work together to reduce their shared risk from wildfires.
A cornerstone of the Firewise USA® recognition program criteriais completing a wildfire risk assessment. The assessment helps residents and communities understand their wildfire risk and guides them in future risk reduction efforts.
We are pleased to announce that we have updated our Community Wildfire Risk Assessmenttool! The new form reflects current research around home destruction versus home survival in a wildfire. Focusing on the threat from embers and surface fires, the assessment tool helps users to look at the:
  • General condition of homes: are they made from ignition resistant materials?
  • Home ignition zones (Immediate, intermediate, and extended): are residents reducing and managing vegetation to influence and decrease fire behavior?
  • Common/open space areas or adjacent public lands: are there any present and are they being managed?
The new format also makes a community’s summary and recommendations easier to achieve and applied to its action plan. 
Just like our previous assessment, this is one tool available to guide residents and communities. States have the ability to designate their own template and special requirements for Firewise USA® participants. Before starting, please contact your state liaisonto determine their process.

 

You can create a wildfire success story in your own community by participating in wildfire safety project work on Wildfire Prep Day. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day this year it is May 4, 2019. NFPA® will again be offering project funding awards to 150 communities across the United States. Each of these $500 awards provided with past generous support from State Farm, can be used to complete a wildfire safety project where you live!
There are some simple steps you can follow to help you create a successful project including:
1. Collaborate with all stakeholders in your neighborhoods including local water districts and other utilities, volunteer organizations including CERT groups, Fire Safe Councils, Firewise USA® sites, park districts, schools, public works departments etc. (You might even find some additional help from these sources)
2. Identify one goal to be completed. It is better to start with something simple, that you can be successful at. Don’t try to do something too complicated for your first project.
3. Identify what other resources might be made available to your community to help you complete your project such as; tools, power equipment, vehicles, youth volunteers and financial sponsorship etc.
Don't forget to share with others what you are doing and when by using social media, newsletters, flyers, local radio, television and more to promote the success you create to help others be successful.
Still not sure what kind of project to do to improve your neighborhood and home safety? Check out the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day web-page for stories of successful project work completed with past award funding in 2018and 2017.  
Photo of the La Tuna Fire burning at night in the background behind LA City.
The frequency and severity of recent wildfires has not only impacted homeowners and firefighters but has also impacted various industries across the United States. Some of these impacts are new, such as the destruction of 528 commercial properties and 102 damagedin the recent Camp Fire in Northern California, according to the latest CAL FIRE report.  Researchers are looking for new ways to protect the interests of business owners and the local economies.
One agricultural industry recently impacted has been the wine industry, especially since there have been multiple recent fires in wine country. Smoke from wildfires have negatively affected the flavor of grapes. This phenomena is known as “Smoke Taint”.  Using grapes that have been exposed to wildfire smoke can destroy the flavor of a whole batch of wine. University of California, Davis and the California Winegrowers Association are cooperating on a study to help minimize the effects of smoke as well as determine more accurately which grapes are ruined so growers aren’t overly cautious costing them extra money in loss. The economic losses to the industry are not only the wine but the tourist industry in the area that caters to tourists who visit the vineyards in the fall.
The tourism industry has also been impacted by wildfires in areas across the United States. Around Yosemite National Park, according to one report in July 2018, impacted the local economy with a loss of almost 20 million dollars.
The insurance industry has also been impacted by wildfire loss. For example according to one article, one company State Farm lost in last fall’s Northern California wildfires, about $1.2 billion dollars for 4,540 homeowner claims and about $20.7 million for 1,300 automobile claims for loss. 
According to a May report, wildfires in Oklahoma have impacted cattle rancherscausing a loss of 26 million dollars.
Other infrastructure impacted by wildfires last year includes freeways, cell towers, utilities, and schools. Communities can make effective, science based changes to reduce their risk of loss due to wildfires. Check out the Firewise USA ® webpage todayto learn about how you can help make a difference today where you live, and become a part of the wildfire safety solution.  Tell us what you are doing in your community.
Photo credit: LA City Fire Department

[Update: Nov. 21, 10:30 a.m. EST - The Camp Fire now stands at 153,336 acres, with 80% containment. It has destroyed 13,503 residences and 514 commercial structures. 81 fatalities are now reported. CALFire shares that, “Moderate to heavy rain is forecasted over the fire area from this morning into Saturday.” The Woolsey Fire remains unchanged at 98,949 acres, with 98% containment. Learn more below and see links for updated information.]


The Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County and the Woolsey Fire in southern Los Angeles and Ventura Counties are breaking records every day.  A good source to follow breaking news is the LA Times Live Feed and on the Twitter hashtags, #Woolseyfire and #Campfire.  NFPA wants to share some information below to help put these fires in context and answer some common questions.   

 

What is the wildfire's size?

While even a small wildfire can put many residents at risk, the sheer size of the wildfires in California can be hard to imagine.  As of Monday morning, the two main fires – the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire – had burned a cumulative total of 247,949 acres.  For context, converted to square miles, that is the size of Dallas, Texas.  

 

Is a "Wall of Flame" burning down cities?

As the media illustrates the impacts of wildfire, you may hear about a "wall of flame" pushing through a city and destroying all in its path.  If this is true, why do we often see green trees remain around burnt out structures?  This is because blowing embers, and not a wall of flame from a wildfire, are landing on vulnerable areas of structures to cause home loss.  Watch this video from NFPA's Firewise USA® Program to learn more about the impacts of embers on structures.     

 

Why have there been so many fatalities?

As of Monday morning, 77 fatalities have been reported from the Camp Fire, with an additional three fatalities from the Woolsey Fire.  The LA Times is sharing bios on those who have passed away.  You'll quickly see that the elderly and disabled comprise a majority of those lost.  This is because receiving alert information and evacuating can be a challenge to different demographic groups. 
     


As the death toll rises, the list of those missing topped 1200 over the weekend.  While we will unfortunately learn of more fatalities, the current high missing list is a raw count and contains many discrepancies.   Learn more about the challenge of counting the missing here. 

Why are so many homes burning?

The figures on structural loss from these fires can be staggering to comprehend.  As of Monday morning's CALFire incident report, the Camp Fire has destroyed 11,713 residential structures and 472 commercial structures, with the Woolsey Fire claiming 1500 total structures

 

Urban conflagrations – uncontrolled structure-to-structure ignitions – were common 100 years ago, but regulations, safety messaging, and building improvements largely ended this challenge in our urban environments.  Yet, as we have developed into the "wildland urban interface" – where homes interface with natural areas – this challenge has returned.  The focus on risk and proper rebuilding has become more difficult for local politicians and residents alike.  Learn from historic California examples of this challenge as well.  

 

Is home loss inevitable?

No, and NFPA stresses that residents have a positive role to play in reducing their home's risk to wildfire.  This focus can also ensure that the spread of an urban conflagration stops at the first home impacted by blowing embers from a fire.  Once structure-to-structure ignition starts, firefighting resources become overwhelmed, and total loss ensues.  Watch this Firewise USA® video about how residents can reduce this risk. 

 

Why is a wildfire burning at the end of November?

It is not unusual for California to have large fires in the late fall.  This is the peak season for "Santa Ana" winds, which is the local name for dry down slope winds.  In California, they blow from east to west and as they move downhill, they compress due to increased atmospheric pressure, which causes them to be hot and dry.   The result is that vegetation that has been drying for most of the summer become even drier from the desiccating winds.  

 

So if ignitions happen, fire can move very quickly.  These down slope winds have been clocked up to 70 mph at times.  As with "fire seasons" in general, the fall Santa Ana season has become longer.  In 2017, the Thomas fire in Southern California was actively burning in December.

 

What about climate change and forest health?

Regardless of the cause of climate change, California has been in a multi-year drought and its "fire season" has become longer, both in the spring and fall.  There has been a lot in the news as well about the role that forest thinning would have on reducing the fire risk.  Fire Ecology Historian Steve Pyne wrote a great piece explaining forest health and debunks some of the recent politicized arguments.  

 

As these fires continue, our thoughts continue to be with those affected and those who have lost loved ones.  

 

Tom Welle contributed to this blog

Photo Credit:  NIFC Photo Library, pulled 19 Nov 2018

[Update: Nov. 16, 2:30 p.m. EST - Since Monday's post, the Camp Fire has destroyed over 9,700 residential homes and 290 commercial structures. It currently stands at 141,000 acres burned with 40% containment. 63 fatalities are attributed to the fire. The Woolsey Fire has destroyed 548 residences and is at 98,362 acres burned with 62% containment. The Hill Fire is now 100% contained. As these and other fires burn, see the shared links below for updated information.]

[Update: Nov. 14, 4:45 p.m. EST - Since Monday's post, the Woolsey fire has destroyed hundreds of structures in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, causing three fatalities. and the Camp Fire in Northern California has become the deadliest fire in the state's history, with 48 fatalities. As these and other fires burn, see the shared links below for updated information.]

 

As three separate wildfires burn across California, reports on stretched suppression operations, massive structural losses, and tragic fatalities dominate the news.   

 

According to an L.A. Times briefing (as of Monday 24 November, 10:45 a.m. PST):

 

“The Woolsey fire has scorched more than 85,550 acres, burning homes in Malibu, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks while threatening parts of Simi Valley and West Hills...

The Hill fire pushed through canyons to the edge of Camarillo Springs and Cal State Channel Islands.

The Camp fire in Northern California’s Butte County has destroyed more than 6,700 structures and killed at least 29. It's the state's most destructive fire and is tied for the state’s deadliest fire.”

It can be difficult to follow the unfolding events presented by the various outlets.  Some that we have found helpful as we follow the wildfires are:

 

 

Earlier today, the Firewise USA® Program shared on social media: “More than 7,800 firefighters continue battling the Camp, Hill and Woolsey CA wildfires. Our heartfelt thanks to all those men and women.” 

 

There are Firewise USA® sites impacted and those residents remain close to the heart of the program as these fires continue to burn.  The resiliency of California residents will once again be tested in the coming days and months but there is no doubt as to their ability to stand up to the challenge. 

 

If you are in California, remember to pay close attention to the official social media accounts, alert systems, and media updates of your local emergency response agencies for the latest fire and evacuation news.

 

Photo credit: Getty Images, pulled 12 November 2018 

NFPA wants to connect with you on wildfire and fire & life safety public education beyond just blogs. Many of the Wildfire Division and Public Education staff are active on Twitter and bring their diverse backgrounds to their real-time updates on NFPA’s outreach, messaging, and new resources. 
This is another outlet for you to learn about what what’s happening and how it can benefit your local efforts. Interact and engage with us where outreach and community risk reduction occur. You don’t need to have a Twitter account to read the Twitter feeds, but if you do, please follow these great staff accounts: 
Karen Berard-Reed(@KBerardReed) and Chelsea Rubadou (@Chelsea_NFPA) share that, “We are Community Risk Reduction Strategists at NFPA working to meet the needs of NFPA stakeholders in the CRR space. We tweet about events, conversations, and innovations that move CRR into the forefront of the fire and life safety conversation.”
Michele Steinberg, NFPA’s Wildfire Division Director, (@Michele_NFPA) brings her nearly 30-years of disaster safety mitigation and education focus to Twitter. She shares that, “I style myself “NFPA’s cheerleader for wildfire safety.” While I do use Twitter to promote what we’re doing at NFPA, I love how the platform allows me to cheer on what others are doing and bring timely issues to folks’ attention by using the all-important hashtag: #wildfire / #hazmit / #Firewise / and #infoknowledge.”  
Lisa Braxton, Public Education Specialist with NFPA, (@LisaReidbraxton) promotes blog posts from NFPA’s Safety Source, along with highlights of new resources and online educational opportunities from NFPA Public Education.
Megan Fitzgerald-McGowanwith the Wildfire Division (@meganfitz34) brings her experience as a wildland firefighter to NFPA’s wildfire division. She promotes NFPA resources related to wildfire risk reduction around homes and communities, encourages a collaborative approach to wildfire preparedness, and shares current wildfire related research.
Andrea Vastis, Senior Director for Public Education at NFPA, (@AndreaVastis) is a public health education professional. She explains that, “I follow AARP Livable Communities and CDC Injury Prevention and Adolescent Health Centers. I communicate about health events, public health observances, and timely updates related to fire and life safety.”
Faith Berrywith the Wildfire Division (@Faithannberry) shares, “I love using Twitter to help people find their way to the latest wildfire news on NFPA's Xchange. Did you know that you can join in on the conversation? I like to hear how our stakeholders are making their communities safer and share their successes.” 
Laura King, NFPA’s Public Education Representative in Canada, (@LauraKingNFPA) brings the Canadian and North American connections to NFPA’s outreach on Twitter. She shares that, “I tweet about all things public-education related in Canada, from Sparky to sprinklers and everything in between!”
I am also on Twitter at (@Lucian_NFPA). In my work managing the Wildfire Division’s international outreach, I share highlights from international conferences, the work of NFPA’s great partner around the world, and lessons from international field tours that NFPA enjoys as it learns more about the global challenge of wildfire community risk reduction. 
In addition to these staff accounts, you can learn more about the Firewise USA® Program (@Firewise); follow the official Twitter profile for the National Fire Protection Association for the latest news on fire and life safety, code info and research (@NFPA); and gain valuable youth-focused public education resources from Sparky the Fire Dog (@Sparky_Fire_Dog). 

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