NFPA and USFA Release New Wildfire Prevention Resources

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

www.usfa.f

Sources: NFPA Firewise Communities; U.S. Fire Administration

This winter’s unseasonably mild and dry weather pattern is causing an alarmingly increased risk for wildfire, prompting a national warning for residents to take action to prevent damage from wildfire.

Now is the time for residents across the country to prepare themselves and protect their homes from brush, grass, and forest fire damage. Fire Corps programs can take the lead in their communities to ensure preventative measures are taken in high risk areas.

Contrary to common perception, a wildfire does not have to burn everything in its path. In fact, clearing property of debris and maintaining landscaping are important, yet simple, first steps for homeowners. Representatives from the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Firewise Communities Program are working to spread the word on how people can make instant and long-term changes to protect their homes and property against wildfire.

Below are additional actions to reduce the risk of home and property becoming fuel for a wildfire.

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches, and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Keep lawns hydrated and maintained. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Remove flammable materials within 3-5 feet of the home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch the house, deck, or porch.
  • Limit vegetation surrounding a home, at least 30-100 feet, depending on the area’s wildfire risk. The Firewise Guide to Landscaping can help distinguish the best vegetation based on distance to the home or structure.
  • When wildfire spreads to tree tops, the fire can become more dangerous and reach homes quicker. If there are large trees on the property, prune so the lowest branches are 6-10 feet from the ground.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • When planting, choose slow-growing, carefully placed shrubs and trees so the area can be more easily maintained.
  • Landscape with native and less-flammable plants. Your state forestry agency or county extension office can provide plant information. Firewise landscaping and plants lists also are available on the Firewise web site.

Learn more about how to keep families safe and reduce homeowners’ risk for wildfire damage at www.Firewise.org.

In addition, the U. S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, announced the release of Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities. This new guide promotes a holistic approach to wildland fire risk reduction in the wildland urban interface and addresses actions to improve individual and community safety.

The concept behind fire-adapted communities is that with proper community-wide preparation, populations and infrastructure can withstand the devastating effects of wildland fire, thereby reducing the loss of life and property. In addition to understanding wildland fire defensible space and preparedness, the guide further explains how a community can coexist with the threat of wildland fire and ultimately reduce the need for costly fire suppression responses. As the science of fire-adapted communities continues to evolve, agencies and the public can take steps now to understand better the role they play and actions they can take to coexist safely with wildland fire threats.

Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities can be downloaded under the Publications section of the USFA web site.

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