How do we know Firewise principles work? In addition to the research and science
behind the Firewise program, many real-life situations have shown the benefits of becoming Firewise. This section highlights those success stories – Firewise principles in action, either through the recognition program or as individual efforts.
Rapid City, South Dakota
A few years ago, the Rapid City Fire Department created the Survivable Space Initiative, which acknowledges homeowners who meet minimum standards in protecting their property from wildfire.
Keowee Key, South Carolina
South Carolina Forestry and the Keowee Fire Department have worked together since 2005 to deliver wildland fire safety messages to residents, while helping them to increase their preparedness.
Concow/Yankee Hill, California
Concow/Yankee Hill became a Firewise community in 2009, and has since been committed to keeping its residents Firewise-safe by providing timely information and hands-on opportunities.
Wildcat Community, Inc.
Since 2006, Wildcat Community, Inc. has worked to fire-safe the seven communities spanning Dawson and Pickens County in northern Georgia.
Alta Sierra, California
When it comes to minimizing wildfire risk, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. That’s why members of the Property Owners Association of Alta Sierra, California (ASPOA) are taking their first steps towards becoming a recognized Firewise Community.
Though Ashland, OR is much smaller than most other Firewise communities, their efforts to reduce the risk of wildfire in their area have made them a prominent example of how any community can be Firewise through a little effort.
Blue Mountain Subdivision of Linden, Virginia
The Blue Mountain Property Owners Association (BMPOA) of Linden, Virginia celebrates their 5th year as a recognized Firewise Communities/USA® site and describes their community as being “known for its scenic overlooks and seasonal wildflowers as well as peaceful mountain living.”
Three homeowners residing along Miller Cove Road in Catawba worked with the VA Department of Forestry and the New River-Highlands RC&D to incorporate Firewise principles that ultimately served to protect their properties and lives during the Pickle Branch Wildfire in February 2011.
In 2011, Edmond, OK received the award for “Most Outstanding Community in its Class,” an award they’ve won now five years in a row. In an effort to continue to build on its “most outstanding status” this year, firefighters will go one step further to work with community members through their Firewise outreach program and provide residents with safety information on wildfires.
The story from Etoile, Texas shows how you don’t have to be ‘big’ to make a big difference in your community. The station covered efforts by middle school students at the Etoile Independent School District (Etoile ISD) who have been working to make their school – and community – Firewise since 2008.
Kohala by the Sea, Hawaii
Kohala by the Sea (KBTS) has not always been a Firewise community. However, with the commitment and hard work of residents and owners it has achieved national recognition as part of the Firewise Communities USA program for seven years in a row.
Firefighters from Lakeside, Arizona are preparing for this year’s wildfire season through the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) “Ready, Set, Go!” Program. They are implementing this three-step process in their community by going door-to-door supplying information to homeowners about what they could be doing in conjunction with the efforts of the Fire Department to help protect their homes from wildfires.
Log Hill Mesa, Colorado
Log Hill Mesa, a small town in southwestern Colorado of about 4,200 residents, is taking steps to prepare for wildfires. As part of its activities, in June 2012, the community’s fire department held an emergency preparedness open house to increase fire safety awareness. The open house brought together many of Log Hill residents and emergency management professionals to learn about wildfire mitigation and what the community can do together to lower its risk of damage and loss.
Redings Mill Fire Protection District, Missouri
The Redings Mill Fire Protection District earned national recognition from the Firewise Communities Program in 2010. In early 2011, they held a “Firewise Community Education Day” and recognition ceremony that was attended by NFPA’s Firewise staff Michele Steinberg and Todd Chlanda.
Rimrock West, Oregon
Residents from Rimrock West, Oregon, recently received grant funding to support their efforts in reducing their community’s wildfire risk. Today, 90% of the town now follows the Firewise standards to help protect their homes from wildfires. At its annual meeting in March, Rimrock West will be awarded Firewise recognition from the National Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program.
The town of Ryderwood in Washington may be a small retirement community, but its residents are out to prove that older adults can be Firewise, too.
Silver City, New Mexico
Silver City has seen its share of wildfire activity recently. But the Grant County’s fire management officer credits the community for adopting Firewise principles. See how they made the difference between losing homes and saving them.
The small town of Sisters sits in the middle of the state of Oregon, surrounded by the Cascade Mountains. In the past decade, the population has doubled to over 2,000 residents, making fire safety more important that ever.
Summerhaven, North Carolina
Residents of sleepy Summerhaven, NC wouldn’t accept the fact that their community was at risk for wildfires, so, after locating the highest at-risk area - the only single-lane road that led in and out of the community - they went to work, collaborating with local officials to tackle this challenge. As a result of their efforts, they were officially recognized as a Firewise Communities/USA® site in 2011.
Denny and Francine Alvarez followed the Firewise principles taught to them in February 2011 by the Georgia Forestry Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. As a result, their home survived an event called the Racepond fire.
With more than 800 recognized communities in our program, you’ll always be in good company. Check out the list of recognized communities to see your closest Firewise neighbors.