Posted by LisaMarie Sinatra on 05/04/2015 at 10:53 AM in California, Community Action, Current Affairs, Fire Adapted Communities, Firewise, Homeowner Association, Mitigation, Nevada, News, NFPA, Oregon, Social Media, Success Stories, Utah, Wildfire Hazards, wildland firefighter, Wildland Urban Interface, Year of Living Less Dangerously | Permalink | Comments (2)
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In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be sharing 2014 highlights from the Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program. We applaud the dedication of the communities across the United States who prepare for wildfire and the focus they bring to preparedness.
Last year, 165 new communities achieved Firewise recognition from 25 different states. The combined volunteer and project work in 2014 for just these new communities to Firewise accounted for over $1.75 million in local preparedness, education and mitigation efforts.
With 27 new communities, Colorado saw the strongest growth in 2014. I asked Courtney Peterson, Wildfire Mitigation Education Coordinator and the State Firewise Liaison with the Colorado State Forest Service, what the value of Firewise is to the state.
Courtney shared with me that, “the Firewise Communities/USA® program is an excellent tool for bringing Colorado communities together. The program enables communities to take ownership in preparing their homes against the threat of wildfire while establishing networks and relationships with local partners.”
In addition to the top 5 growth states, we are equally impressed with the work of all of the new recognized communities, especially where that 1 community rose to the challenge and is now making a difference.
Posted by Lucian Deaton on 01/09/2015 at 05:41 PM in Arizona, California, Colorado, Community Action, Fire Adapted Communities, Firewise, Florida, Georgia, Mitigation, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Success Stories, Utah, Virginia, Wildfire Hazards, wildland firefighter, Wildland Urban Interface | Permalink | Comments (0)
Technorati Tags: Arkansas Forestry Commission, Colorado State Forest Service, Fire Adapted Communities, Fire Safe Council, Firewise, Firewise Communities, Georgia Forestry Commission, mitigation, Oregon Department of Forestry, preparedness
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I try and set aside a few minutes each Friday to read trade articles and email that’s piled up during the week, and when I got to that place on my calendar today a piece from a colleague was calling my name. That article was from authors Rachel Cleetus and Kranti Mulak with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Their recently released report, “Playing with Fire – How Climate Change and Development Patterns are Contributing to the Soaring Costs of Western Wildfires” was screaming for me to open it. The report strives to explain why western wildfires are worsening; why current policies and practices may be increasing risks and costs; and the impacts and recommendations on limiting costs. It also includes case studies from California, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico; and the issues occurring in those states.
They outline steps that need to be taken that include: building resilience in communities on the frontlines of risk, reducing the expansion of development near fire-prone areas and cutting the emissions fueling climate change; all of which will be crucial to limiting the impacts of wildfires on people and forests.
There's also a lot of great data, maps, photos and charts that you'll virtually dog-ear to include in future PowerPoints. So when you’re carving out time for some work related reading, add this one to your list!
Over the past five weeks, I watched as entries for the nationwide Wildfire Community Preparedness Day project funding awards grew to represent twenty five states ranging from Florida to Alaska. Each project entry had the potential to become a recipient of $500 to be used for a preparedness related activity implemented on May 3, 2014 - with funding generously provided by State Farm.
Every single project submission had its own distinct merits and each would make a significant contribution in reducing the wildfire risk in their respective communities. The diverse range and scope of entries made the selection process extremely difficult and trying to narrow it down to only twenty was daunting.
Winning project recipients come from 15 states and cover an extremely wide range of demographics, community sizes and wildland/urban interface descriptions.
If I can please get a drum roll, let me say that on behalf of NFPA and State Farm, I am honored to share with you the 2014 Wildfire Preparedness Day funding award recipients: Fallbrook, CA; Quincy, CA; Valley Center, CA; Durango, CO; Chickamauga, GA; Kamuela, HI; Manhattan, KS; Nye, MT; Newcomerstown, OH; Brent, OK; Grants Pass, OR; La Pine, OR; North Myrtle Beach, SC; Tallassee, TN; Austin TX; Georgetown, TX; Etlan, VA; Castle Valley, UT; Ronald, WA and Spokane, WA.
Huge congratulations to them all!
The nationwide grassroots efforts being coordinated for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day demonstrates the efforts thousands of communities are committed to making in reducing their wildfire risk, the impacts of a recent wildfire, or advancing preparedness efforts.
Posted by Cathy Prudhomme on 04/01/2014 at 10:55 AM in California, Colorado, Community Action, Contests, Fire Adapted Communities, Firewise, Georgia, Homeowner Association, Mitigation, Montana, NFPA, Oregon, Success Stories, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wildfire Hazards, Wildland Urban Interface | Permalink | Comments (0)
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It's hard to believe that NFPA's Backyards & Beyond conference was two months ago, but the good news is, all of the great learning you acquired there doesn't have to be a memory. Now you can find many of these presentations online on our conference website! The materials are in PDF form and available to download.
And while you're at it, don't forget to visit our Backyards & Beyond conference blog. There you'll find videos, photos and blog posts of your favorite moments during the event. It's a great way to relive all of the fun you had and the relationships you built in the heart of Salt Lake City.
Thanks to everyone who attended. We look forward to seeing you (and a whole host of new faces) in 2015! Stay tuned for more information on that .... soon!
1) What do volunteers need to know in order to be able to complete the tasks that are needed in communities?
2) What information and skills do volunteers need to learn in order to be effective leaders?
These thoughts were the basis of "Citizen Fire Academy: Increasing Reach Capacity of Wildland Fire Agencies Through Education and Volunteer Service," one of the many Saturday sessions at NFPA's Backyards & Beyond conference in Salt Lake City, given by Rhianna Simes and Stephen Fitzerald of the Oregon State University Extension Service. Despite the rainy, cold morning, the presenters and audience were fully engaged and energized about the topic.
Citizen Fire Academy (CFA) is a collaborative, education and service program designed to increase the outreach capacity of residential and wildland fire agencies, and to help communities in Oregon and beyond maintain and enhance more fire adapted communities.
While the session consisted of a formal presentation, most of the time the group participated in an open discussion, sharing lessons learned and ideas for how to create Citizen Academies across the country. Ultimately Ms. Simes and Mr. Fitzgerald plan to take many of the ideas they garnered during the discussion and create additional training materials to provide to others so they, too, can continue this great work!
You can find the full presentation on the 2013 Backyards & Beyond conference presentation page.
Posted by LisaMarie Sinatra on 11/16/2013 at 05:46 PM in Backyards & Beyond Conference, Community Action, Conferences, Fire Adapted Communities, Firewise, Mitigation, NFPA, Oregon, Utah, Wildfire Hazards | Permalink | Comments (0)
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In one of the Friday morning sessions here at the Backyards & Beyond conference, Faith Berry, NFPA's southwest regional Firewise advisor, talked to an engaged and interested audience about three critical wildfire safety assessments: a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), a Firewise Communities neighborhood assessment and a home assesment. In her discussion, Faith not only talked about the different components of each, but also, how they work together in creating a larger fire adapted community. In Faith's words, by changing the character of a home ignition zone, you may save a structure. By modifying a community's ignition zone, you have the opportunity for altering the path of a wildfire for the entire area.
The takeaway: by addressing wildfire at all scales and collaborating with more people on these assessments, your plans will be better written, more people will understand the problem and their risk, and ultimately, given this great information, they will be moved to action.
Find additional resources on the NFPA wildfire webpage regarding the home ignition zone and CWPPs. You can also find information about NFPA's HIZ workshops that may be in your area. If you need additional help, Faith, along with our five additional NFPA Firewise regional advisors are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide additional resources as you need them.
Posted by LisaMarie Sinatra on 11/15/2013 at 12:34 PM in Backyards & Beyond Conference, Fire Adapted Communities, Firewise, Homeowner Association, Mitigation, NFPA, Utah, Wildfire Hazards | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Einar Jensen of South Metro Fire Rescue in Colorado led an interesting and informative session today here at the Backyards & Beyond conference in Salt Lake City. "Wildfire Matters, Teaching Kids About the Wildland/Urban Interface" centered around the importance of empowering the next generation of adults to be better informed about wildfire safety, and better prepared to take action to reduce the risks in their communities.
Through quizzes, interactive games, field trips and more, Mr. Jensen engaged a number of fourth grade classrooms across the state. According to Mr. Jensen, fourth graders are a great group to work with ...they are eager to learn and are ready for personal and community responsibility. Behavior, he says, is the promised land, and the kids he worked with really got it!
More sessions regarding youth and wildfire are planned throughout the conference. Stay tuned for updates right here on our blog and keep checking NFPA's web page for updated content on the Backyards & Beyond conference. We'll be posting presentations from the conference for all to view.
I'm honored to help moderate a session tomorrow at Backyards & Beyond in Salt Lake City featuring author Linda Masterson. She'll be talking about her book, Surviving Wildfire: Get Prepared, Stay Alive, Rebuild Your Life and its impetus from her own experience of doing just that.
Linda and her husband lost their home near Fort Collins, Colorado, in the Crystal Fire in 2011. After working through the insurance claims process and rebuilding her life, she used her significant talents to research and write a handbook that every property owner in the WUI should own. I was privileged to review and provide comments on her draft manuscript. Linda has so much important information to convey that every homeowner should know.
Linda will also be a featured speaker along with Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association during our lunchtime presentation on Friday. I'll be moderating this discussion about "Why Do We Prepare? A Property Insurance Perspective".
A kick-off to the Backyards & Beyond conference here in Salt Lake City, NFPA's 2-day HIZ workshop began this morning with over 65 people in attendance from such industries as forestry, insurance, fire service and others.
Instructors Pat Durland of Stone Creek Fire, LLC and Jack Cohen, physical research scientist, USDA Forest Service, led today's discussion and workshop modules that highlighted major issues contributing to WUI fire losses, how wildfires ignite and approaches that can be used to reduce home loss from wildfire exposure. Tomorrow, the class will visit a few neighborhoods to see first hand how wildfire mitigation is working in Utah communities.
During the next few days, stay tuned to our Fire Break blog as we cover the conference. You'll get all the latest coverage regarding session highlights, exhibits and special presentations. You can also check out photos, videos and daily commentary! Are you here with us? Tell us about your experience. We look forward to hearing from you!
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