National Wildfire Preparedness Day this Saturday
Authors: Michelle Medley-Daniel
Springtime brings a host of pleasant changes including longer days, wildflowers and prolific wildlife. But spring also brings a spurt of vegetation growth to many areas around the country. As a homeowner, I feel like every time I look out the window I see more vegetation that needs weed whipping to keep up with my defensible space. This Saturday communities around the country are hosting Wildfire Preparedness Day events. Some communities are hosting chipping days or other fuel reduction projects, and others have conferences planned. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has put together a list of easy project ideas if you’re looking for a way to participate.
Check out what some of the communities in the FAC Network will be doing on Saturday:
- Deschutes County, Oregon issued a proclamation declaring May 3rd official Wildfire Preparedness Day for the County. Project Wildfire, the FAC Network hub in Deschutes County, has organized events to help landowners dispose of flammable yard debris. Alison Green, Program Director of Project Wildfire, had this to say about Wildfire Preparedness Day, “Residents in central Oregon are no strangers to wildfire and continue to show an increasing level of awareness by participating in FireFree Recycling events. To kick off Wildfire Awareness Month, FireFree encourages residents to create and maintain their defensible space and offers free disposal of that yard debris.”
- In Texas, the Austin Fire Department, one of the FAC Network’s new members, received one of 20 grants awarded to communities around the country for activities associated with Wildfire Preparedness Day events. Their grant from State Farm will help support a workshop with interactive sessions on planning, insurance, community action and empowerment.
- From Washington’s Yakima Valley, Reese Lolley, a partner in the Fire Learning Network and FAC Network, shared these thoughts about the importance of the preparedness approach, “Instead of thinking that we can stop all wildfires, because that isn’t working, this helps us be more resilient in the face of the inevitable.” Lolley shared information about May 3rd events taking place in Nile Valley, Washington including a chipper demonstration and lending program for area residents.
- FireWise of Southwest Colorado, another recent addition to the FAC Network, will be hosting a work day and demonstration of fire mitigation in the city of Durango’s open space. Contractors and arborists will share tips with homeowners; the Colorado State Forest Service district forester will discuss forest health, and FireWise and La Plata County staff will talk with community members about preparedness.
Saturday’s events come just a few days after FEMA’s America’s PrepareAthon! (April 30th) that promoted preparedness for all kinds of disasters.
What actions will you take to contribute to your wildfire preparedness this weekend?