Firewise simply means practical techniques homeowners can use to reduce the risks of home destruction by wildfire.
The two greatest risks to homes during wildfires are:
- Flammable roof, vulnerable to the embers thrown during a wildfire and,
- Vegetation close to a home which can catch fire and generate enough heat or flames to ignite siding or other parts of the home’s structure.
In 1998, scientists conducted “International Crown Fire Experiments” in the Northwest to learn more about how structures burn and, in particular, what causes them to ignite. Large fires were set in, on, and near structures of various types to obtain high quality data about how close vegetation could be to a structure yet not put that structure at risk of igniting from radiant heat.
The three main takeaways from this research were that you can significantly reduce your fire risk by:
- Clearing flammable trees and shrubs 30 feet or more from structures,
- Making sure small flames in grass or shrubs cannot touch the home, and
- Using non-flammable roof materials to minimize the damage that embers can cause
What does being a Firewise Community mean?
Firewise communities reduce wildfire risks by thinning overgrown brush and tree stands. A home and a community that has clear defensible space is more likely to survive a wildfire, plus it keeps our firefighters on the ground safe when they are working to save your property. Wildfires don’t have to be a disaster. Your home CAN survive a wildfire if you Firewise your property.
Organizing a Firewise Community can be a challenging task as it is a voluntary program and requires the cooperation of homeowners who may have little in common except living in a defined geographic area and having a preference that their house not be engulfed by flames. The minimum requirement is two neighbors. In almost every occasion where a Firewise community is successfully formed, the work that made that happen began with one or two individuals with the interest and energy, who inspired the rest of the community to join in.
The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management participates in the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA™ program. The program teaches people how to adapt to live with wildfire. As a homeowner, there are simple things you can do to reduce the risk of your property from wildfire.
Firewise programs introduce attendees to Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) that have been prepared for almost every county in the state. These plans are rich with information about the historical prevalence of fire in any given area as well as the resources available to suppress fires.
Firewise programs provide YOU the tools you need to be effective. There is no time like the present to help your community as well as your home survive a fire. Attending a Firewise workshop is an excellent way to begin your journey towards that goal and Firewise workshops are FREE and extremely informative.
PSFR organizes an annual Firewise Day event.
Current Firewise neighborhoods in Pine and Strawberry include:
- Portal IV, Pine, Gila County
- The Portals, Pine, Gila County
More Firewise Resources
- Arizona State Forestry Division Firewise Action Plan Outline and Application Checklist (271k PDF, June 2016)
- Living With Wildfire (2.4Mb PDF, January 2018)