Hank Blackwell, former deputy fire chief and fire marshal for the Santa Fe County (NM) Fire Department, was the featured speaker at today's luncheon. Hank, who also serves on NFPA's Wildland Fire Management Committee, talked about the needed shift in public perception about wildfires. He pointed out that wildfires - whether started by humans or by lightening - occur as part of a natural process that helps maintain healthy forests.
A key to preventing large-scale loss of life and property from wildlfires is to take incremental steps - such as choosing and maintaining suitable landscaping materials, and making wise choices about your home's building materials and design -- that can significantly reduce the chances of a wildfire being transferred into urban areas.
"A lot of people still have a suppression mindset," he said, "and they think the answer to preventing wildfires is more firefighters and more fire engines."
Learn more about NFPA's Firewise Communities program, which encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire.