Firewise Community Planning
Firewise USA® is a voluntary program that provides a framework to help neighbors get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community. How does the Firewise USA® program work?
Form a board/committee that’s comprised of residents and other applicable wildfire stakeholders. Consider inviting the local fire department, state forestry agency, elected officials, emergency manager, and if applicable the property management company to participate. This group will collaborate on identifying the site’s boundary and size. Firewise sites need to have a minimum of 8 individual single family dwelling units and are limited to a maximum of 2,500. Multiple sites can be located within a single large master-planned community/HOA.
Obtain a written wildfire risk assessment from your state forestry agency or fire department. The assessment should be a community-wide view that identifies areas of successful wildfire risk reduction and areas where improvements could be made. Emphasis should be on the general conditions of homes and related home ignition zones. The assessment is a living document and needs to be updated every five years.
- Contact your state liaison to learn more about the requirements and how to get started
- Some states use the Firewise USA template. (PDF)
Your board/committee will develop an action plan - a prioritized list of risk reduction projects/investments for the participating site, along with suggested homeowner actions and education activities that participants will strive to complete annually, or over a period of multiple years. Action plans should be updated at a minimum of at least every three years.
Host an outreach event and work with neighbors on addressing items in the action plan. These efforts will go towards your site’s annual wildfire risk reduction investment.
- Find examples (PDF) of activities that count towards your investment.
- Use our volunteer hourly worksheet(PDF) to collect information from residents in your community
At a minimum, each site is required to annually invest the equivalent of one volunteer hour per dwelling unit in wildfire risk reduction actions. If your site has identified 100 homes within its boundary, than 100 hours of work or the monetary equivalent, based on the independent sector value of volunteer time, need to be completed for that year.
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