The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and State Farm today announced the winners of the Wildfire Preparedness Day Neighborhood Project Award Contest. A total of 20 projects were selected from more than 80 entries that spanned 25 states.
The contest, in conjunction with NFPA’s first national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event on May 3, 2014, was created to help raise wildfire awareness, promote collaboration and bring neighbors together to work on projects that can help protect homes, neighborhoods and entire communities from future wildfire risk or current post-fire impacts.
As a co-sponsor of Preparedness Day, State Farm, with its long history of proactive wildfire safety education to its policyholders in high-risk regions, will provide monetary awards of $500 each to help fund these winning community projects.
The following are the winning project communities listed by state:
Valley Center, CA
Grants Pass, OR
La Pine, OR
North Myrtle Beach, SC
Castle Valley, UT
Spokane County, WA
To enter the contest, residents provided a brief description of the proposed project, and how the State Farm award will fund the project that would be undertaken and completed on May 3, 2014. Descriptions included how groups would work toward reducing the risk of wildfire or the impact of a recent wildfire, or advance preparedness for wildfire in the neighborhood.
Wildland fires are a serious threat to lives and property. The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) cites more than 72,000 U.S. communities are now at risk from wildfire. The combination of drought, mild temperatures, high winds and an excess of dried vegetation in forests and grasslands has made fire seasons progressively worse over the past 50 years.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), more than 47,000 fires burned over 4.3 million acres in 2013 including the Black Forest Fire in Colorado, which destroyed 486 homes, the most in Colorado history. The Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona tragically took the lives of 19 firefighters and was the worst loss of life for first responders in an incident since 9/11. The California Rim Fire burned over 250,000 acres and over 100 structures.
According to NIFC, 2012 saw one of the worst fire seasons in decades with over nine million acres burned.
For more information about National Wildfire Preparedness Day and the contest winners, please visit www.wildfireprepday.org.