Firewise Communities USA® is an educational program of the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA).
The program is designed to teach residents best practices for how to live “fire wise” in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) so you can take responsibility and take real action to mitigate potential wildfire losses.
The Cascadel Ranch Fire Safe Council (FMC)
The local educational program here in Madera County is called The Cascadel Ranch Fire Safe Council (FMC). Protecting lives and property from wildfire through education is the goal of FMC educational program.
The Madera County Board of Supervisors created the program to promote Firewise Communities locally in collaboration with the Secure Rural Schools Act, CAL FIRE, the USFS and other agencies.
Interested in Becoming a Nationally Recognized Firewise Community?
If your community is taking action to get fire wise, you can earn national recognition for your efforts. This may open the door to funding opportunities available only to recognized communities.
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NFPA Firewise History
Back in 1986, the NFPA Firewise program started with fire “wise” landscaping studies and recommendations.
Logically this was extended to the home structure itself, followed by a larger ignition zone around, and including, the structure.
This zone of the home and surrounding area was dubbed the “home ignition zone“, or HIZ for short, by forest scientist Jack Cohen.
The program has roots in the 1985 – 1986 fire season. In 1986 after a “wake up call” year of wildfires that showed wildfire isn’t a California only problem the NFPA partnered with agencies to “to create a national project to address the “wildland / urban interface” problem.”
A National Fire-Resistant Plant Task Force was created “to work on articles and advice on the best type of plants and landscaping arrangements for fire safety around homes. This Task Force coined the term “Firewise” to describe the goal of teaching residents about wildfire and how they could put smart practices into play around their homes to reduce the risk of home destruction.”
The Firewise web site rolled out in 1997 and the Firewise Communities USA program started in 2002.
Firewise Communities USA® Recognition Program
Separate but related to the education and outreach program, Firewise Communities USA also has a national community recognition program. This component nationally recognizes property owners who have come together and worked to be fire wise.
According to the Firewise.org web site “The Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program provides a series of steps so you and your neighbors can act now to keep homes and neighborhoods safer from fire.”
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