Popular Mechanics Magazine was first published in January 1902. It promotes articles that help the reader master the modern world, presenting trusted information about his home, his car, and his technology and the world around him. The magazine has a circulation of over 1 million readers.
In the November 2013 issue the featured article “Line of Fire” by Kalee Thompson highlights the Yarnell Fire in Arizona. The article details the fire and ensuing tragedy. It also mentions the Firewise and Ready, Set, Go! Programs and the need for residents to take responsibility for their home and immediate surroundings when it comes to mitigating the wildfire peril.
The article states,”Over a decade ago, the Forest Service embraced an interagency program called Firewise, (a program of the NFPA) which helps towns and cities develop wildfire protection plans - everything from taking steps to make houses more resilient and defendable. Of the estimated 70,000 U.S. communities identified as being in the wildland urban interface 943 of them have now prepared to survive a wildfire up from 400 in 2008.”
The article goes on to describe that although Yarnell with 503 structures was not a Firewise Community, the Pacific Biodiversity Institute of Washington State did conduct a limited analysis of the community’s homes using Google Earth images of the homes before the fire. According to this article the Institute
determined that only 53 or 11 percent of the homes met basic defensible space standards and only 14 met firewise principles. Of 503 structures in Yarnell 47 percent burned, of the 53 better prepared less than 10 percent burned of the 14 buildings that followed firewise principles not one burned!
The article then quotes Peter Morrison one of the researchers behind the study, “We have this attitude that the firefighters are going to come and rescue us and we don’t have to take responsibility.” One of the lessons learned is that homeowners can improve the outcome of the survivability of their home and communities by embracing firewise principles as a Firewise Community, preparing using Ready Set Go and becoming a Fire Adapted Community on a larger scale. Peter Morrison speaking about how better prepared communities can create safer conditions for firefighters goes on to say in the article, “It means that they (firefighters) are going to be much more sucessful in doing their job and much less likely to put their lives at risk.”