The cancellation of Independence Day professional fireworks programs in 2020 could raise the risk of wildfires as more amateurs undertake their own pyrotechnic shows, according to four organizations who focus on risk mitigation. "Leave fireworks to the professionals. Sparklers alone generally cause about one-fourth of all injuries during each year's Fourth of July celebrations," said Michele Steinberg, Wildfire Division Director, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), who noted amateurs who set off fireworks caused an estimated 19,500 fires and generated around 9,000 emergency room visits over the entire year in the U.S. in 2018. "We encourage residents to find alternative ways to celebrate the Fourth of July, such as through the use of glow sticks." July Wildfires started by fireworks report Local fire departments responded to an average of 4,430 brush, grass, and forest fires on July Fourth The NFPA documents in their report, Brush, Grass and Forest Fires 2018, that the Fourth of July was the peak day for wildfires started by fireworks, followed by July 5. Annually, local fire departments responded to an average of 4,430 brush, grass, and forest fires on July Fourth, more than five times the daily average of 840. An average of 2,550 fires on July 5 was three times the daily average. The three steps to protecting life and property from wildfire, whether caused by fireworks or any other reason, are: 1) create an ember-resistant home 2) take a wildfire reality check and 3) make a home inventory. These themes are promoted year-round by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), respectively. Most Fires ignited by embers "Up to 90 percent of homes destroyed by wildfires are first ignited by embers and not the main wildland fire front," said Daniel Gorham, research engineer at IBHS. "It is all about the embers and making sure they have nothing combustible to land on. The Fourth of July is a good reminder to take a few practical and affordable steps to create an ember-resistant, non-combustible zone in the first five feet around the entire home." "Insurers have deployed the technology and created the mobile apps needed for the virtual processing and adjusting of claims," stated Janet Ruiz, director, strategic communications, Triple-I. "Despite the pandemic, the U.S.'s insurers are prepared and ready for 2020's wildfires." Fourth of July serves as a great reminder that it is time to get your finances ready" Updating the insurance policy A wildfire reality check involves assessing each year whether one has the right type, and amount, of insurance coverage for one’s home's structure and its contents, according to the Triple-I. "The Fourth of July serves as a great reminder that it is time to get your finances ready for wildfire, particularly if you live in a high-risk area," said Michael Richmond-Crum, manager, personal lines and counsel, APCIA. "Taking simple steps like updating your policy and preparing a home inventory with your smart phone will make recovery easier should a fire damage your home. Renters will also find a home inventory invaluable in accounting for personal possessions when filing a claim." The National Interagency Fire Center reports wildfire activity picked up in Nevada and Utah over the weekend of June 27-28. High fire risk continues in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.
The Wildfire Mitigation Awards committee has named the seven recipients of this year's Wildfire Mitigation Awards. These individuals and organizations have earned the highest commendation for innovation and leadership in wildfire mitigation for their outstanding dedication to solving many of the most complex challenges posed by wildfire. Established in 2014 and co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS), these awards help to demonstrate the tremendous societal value wildfire mitigation efforts provide. critically important work The winners of the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awards are: Byron Bonney (Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development Area) (Hamilton, Montana) City of Pigeon Forge (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee) Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership (Flagstaff, Arizona) Pat Dwyer (Logtown Fire Safe Council and El Dorado County Fire Safe Council) (Logtown, California) Paulette Church (Durango, Colorado) Rocky Infanger (Tri-County FireSafe Working Group/Wolf Creek Volunteer Fire Department) (Helena, Montana) Sunset View Estates (Bend, Oregon) "State forestry agencies know firsthand that it's always wildfire season somewhere in the United States," said Lisa Allen, NASF President and Missouri state forester."The 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awardees know this too. Year-round, they contribute to wildfire mitigation efforts that ensure the safety of thousands of communities nationwide. We congratulate them for receiving this honor and thank them for their dedication to this critically important work." wildland fire risk reduction "Wildland fire is more destructive, costly and deadly than ever before," said Chief Dan Eggleston, IAFC President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. "I'm proud to congratulate this year's National Wildfire Mitigation Award winners for their outstanding leadership and contributions to wildland fire risk reduction in their communities." "The Wildfire Mitigation Awards honor exemplary achievements and demonstrate the possibilities of what can be accomplished. The National Fire Protection Association is proud to be a part of recognizing these outstanding recipients," said Michele Steinberg, Director of NFPA’s Wildfire Division.