Firewise Communities hits 600th community mark
Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program now boasts member communities in 40 states.
The National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA's) Firewise Communities program reached a milestone in announcing its 600th community, Elk Falls Ranch near Conifer, Colorado.
In total, 643 communities have committed to taking sustained action to improve their safety. Initiated in 2002 with a handful of neighborhoods, the Firewise Communities / USA Recognition Program now boasts member communities in 40 states, as well as a participation retention rate of 90 percent.
"Being Firewise is the first step to improve our wildfire readiness," said Joe Page, Elk Creek Fire Protection District training officer representing Elk Falls Ranch. "One of the beautiful things about Firewise is that you can start small and expand the program to fit your community's needs. Earning Firewise recognition especially at this 600th community milestone is a reward for Elk Falls Ranch starting the process. We haven't met our goal, our work is not done but it's really about homeowners taking responsibility for their property," said Page.
Elk Falls Ranch is particularly at risk for wildfire damage. The community is in close proximity to six wildfire sites where 166,950 acres have burned since 1996. It is also surrounded by Staunton State Park on three sides and has just one road providing access to the community of 144 homes amidst thick vegetation.
"Firewise is nearer than ever to accomplishing its goal of national program participation and the continued growth and retention of Firewise Communities underscores how successful the program is," said Michele Steinberg, manager of the NFPA Firewise Communities program. "We expect Firewise to continue meeting annual milestones with NFPA's continued support and the commitment of our partners."
In addition to Elk Falls Ranch in Colorado, nearly 100 new Firewise Communities have been added this past year between the following states:
A complete list of Firewise Communities is available here.
Steps to Firewise Certification:
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