2013 Wildfire Season In Review

A post on the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Fire Break blog shares a video from the National Interagency Fire Center summarizing the 2013 wildfire season. This was a year that saw the Black Forest Fire in Colorado, the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, and the California Rim fire, among many others.

In preparation for the 2014 wildfire season, it is critical that communities do what they can to prepare their homes and neighborhoods in advance of wildfires. Fire departments can do many things to help make their communities fire adapted and prepare homes in the wildland-urban interface (WUI).

May 3 is Wildland Community Preparedness Day, an opportunity for departments to be proactive in mitigating the risks of wildfire by organizing and/or participating in prevention and mitigation activities. Challenge your department to develop a project and join others throughout the nation in making big changes. By participating in this event, your will help raise wildfire awareness, promote collaboration, and bring neighbors together to protect homes, neighborhoods, and entire communities from future wildfire risk or current post-fire impacts. Learn more and find activity ideas on from the NFPA, Fire Adapted Communities, and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC).

The NVFC has also released new resources through the Wildland Fire Assessment Program (WFAP), a joint initiative with the U.S. Forest Service that helps prepare volunteer fire departments to conduct home assessments in the WUI in order to prevent and mitigate damage caused by wildfire. The program includes a four-module online course that covers understanding the WUI problem, identifying the zones, evaluating the home, and available resources; a train-the-trainer toolkit; assessment tools; and more. Access these resources on the WFAP webpage.

With wildfire, the real question is not “if” but “when.” Make sure your community is fire adapted and ready so that the damage can be mitigated when the next wildfire strikes.