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Firewise Communities hits 600th community mark

FireWise communities help in preparing commuities to tackle wildfires.
Firewise communities is intended to create an awareness of safety measures against wildfires

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."

FireWise is intended to raise the awareness regarding wildfires among the communities

In addition to Elk Falls Ranch in Colorado, nearly 100 new Firewise Communities have been added this past year between the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

A complete list of Firewise Communities is available here.

Steps to Firewise Certification:

  • Enlist a wildland/urban interface specialist to complete a community assessment and create a plan that identifies agreed-upon achievable solutions to be implemented by the community.
  • Sponsor a local Firewise Task Force Committee, Commission or Department which maintains the Firewise Communities/USA program and tracks its progress.
  • Observe a Firewise Communities/USA Day each year that is dedicated to a local Firewise project.
  • Invest a minimum of $2.00 per capita annually in local Firewise projects.
  • Submit an annual report to Firewise Communities/USA that documents continuing compliance with the program. 

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