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Success for NPFA community wildfire safety prevention programme


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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has released a new report, Residents Reducing Wildfire Risks: Findings from the NFPA® Firewise® Sites of Excellence Pilot, 2019–2020, showcasing the work of seven active Firewise USA communities to build wildfire-ignition resistance and avert wildfire disasters.

The report is the result of an NFPA two-year pilot, “Sites of Excellence,” in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service and state forestry agencies.

Michele Steinberg, wildfire division director at NFPA, said the pilot program underscores the true power and impact of Firewise communities working together to reduce their collective risk to wildfire.

“Individuals taking steps to protect their own homes can only accomplish so much,” said Steinberg. “The results of this pilot program show that the greatest potential for wildfire risk reduction lies with entire neighborhoods working in lock step with one another.”

According to the report, seven sites in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin saw higher levels of engagement and interest in the Firewise program and wildfire mitigation efforts; in six of the seven sites, more than 80 percent of adjacent households achieved the goal of mitigation in the home ignition zone.

Their work demonstrated that community wildfire resilience is achievable and that such a program can also foster improved community cohesion and better communication among residents, emergency responders, and land managers.

Developed for NFPA by postdoctoral scholar Dr. Rebecca Miller, the report and corresponding story map shows the challenges, successes, and best practices discovered during the pilot. Its findings will help direct future Firewise program changes and inform policy to support increased implementation of risk reduction practices in communities facing wildfire threats to life and property.

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