FEMA urges inclusive wildfire safety and prevention efforts


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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has urged everyone to participate in wildfire safety and prevention efforts in 2023, as the West experienced excessive growth of flash fuels, such as grasses, weeds, and bushes, due to an incredibly wet winter season.

Human-caused fires accounted for 87% of U.S. wildfires each year, and there was a potentially busier-than-normal fire season that threatened lives, property, watersheds, and ecosystems.

To promote wildfire prevention messaging, FEMA suggested fire and emergency services personnel start by identifying the leading cause of unwanted wildfire ignitions in their community and conduct a first round of outreach highlighting that risk. The US Fire Administration (USFA) provides free resources and tools, including social media cards and pictographs, to help with wildfire prevention outreach efforts.

The Agency said it is essential to make messages relevant and simple to understand, considering the audience’s abilities and needs, including cultural needs, and advised fire departments to use the media to amplify their outreach and hosted an open house to provide an opportunity for residents to ask firefighters questions.

FEMA also encouraged everyone to prevent wildfire arson by creating an arson tip line and developing fire-setting intervention programs for children in collaboration with social services agencies. Fire departments are promoting Arson Awareness Week this week (May 7-13, 2023) to foster understanding of, and prevent, youth fire-setting.

Through these efforts, FEMA aims to create a wildfire safety solution that everyone could contribute to, preventing unwanted wildfire ignitions and protecting communities, wildlife, and the environment from the devastating effects of wildfires.

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