Currently, 41 states actively participate in the national Firewise Communities/USA® program and represent a combined 1,142 communities that have achieved recognition status for their work to reduce their community’s wildfire risk. Nine of the sites have participated for more than a decade and have been with the program since the original pilot was launched in 2002.
Up until recently, only two states – Arkansas and Washington had achieved the milestone of 100 plus participating communities; Colorado now joins the distinction of attaining the major accomplishment of reaching that benchmark. The Colorado State Forest Service is the program’s state liaison. In their role they work with stakeholders and private homeowners on wildfire mitigation projects and completing the criteria for program recognition. With 105 participating community's, Colorado is now the state with the third highest number of total communities successfully completing the requirements.
The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program is a process that empowers neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk. Each community must annually demonstrate their on-going efforts of taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire. Using a five-step process, communities develop an action plan that guides their residential risk reduction activities, while engaging and encouraging neighbors to become active participants in building a safer place to live.