Quincy, MA – The National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (Forest Service) and NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) have announced a partnership to manage and deliver the Firewise Communities/USA program, the newest element of the 10-year-old Firewise program, the national effort to minimize home loss to wildfire. The new collaboration will encourage and acknowledge community-level efforts to address fire problems in the wildland/urban interface.
Firewise Communities/USA provides technical support and national recognition for individual communities that are addressing wildfire risks. The new partnership allows wildland fire staff from federal, state and local agencies to work with communities to assess wildfire risk and create plans to reduce them. The communities are responsible for establishing their own network of cooperating homeowners, agencies and organizations, and ultimately identifying and implementing their local solution.
So far, 14 communities in states from Florida to Michigan to California have been involved for 18 months in the pilot program. Each has found that the Firewise Communities/USA program helped to empower local citizens to take action to reduce wildfire risks. As word of their success has spread, dozens of other communities have asked to be considered for participation in the program.
NFPA staff will provide overall administration of the program, development of principles and standards for use, training for state forestry staff, and general publicity through the media and the new Web site, www.firewise.org/usa.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by representatives for the three parties, including James M. Shannon, NFPA president and CEO, on September 30 in Burlington, VT.
Applicable NFPA codes and standards have long been available to prevent and suppress wildland fires. These are NFPA, 295, Standard for Wildfire Control, Forest and Rural Fire Protection, and NFPA 299, Standard For Protection of Life and Property from Wildfire Forest and Rural Fire Protection.
“Although Firewise and NFPA have enjoyed a long association for many years, we are pleased to work in this new collaboration with NASF and the Forest Service to ensure that communities throughout the U.S. are better protected from the devastation of wildfire,” said Shannon.