Coarsegold RCD is your Regional Firewise USA® Coordinator. Firewise USA® is a voluntary, community-based program put together and certified by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The Firewise USA® program provides a framework for collaborating with your neighbors to get organized, educated, and take action in reducing fire hazards by using an established and proven system. Many of these efforts are comprised of work most of us typically do each year – weed eating, brushing, chipping or safely burning debris piles. Firewise® techniques include minimizing the risk of home ignition by carefully landscaping around residential structures such as thinning trees and brush and choosing fire-resistant plants, selecting ignition-resistant building materials and positioning structures away from slopes. Neighborhoods that have earned the special distinction of being recognized under the Firewise USA® Program have followed a systematic approach to organizing and implementing a Firewise® mitigation plan in their neighborhood.
Steps To Becoming a Firewise USA® Community
- Form a committee and elect a Resident Leader.
- Reach out to residents within a reasonable distance of primary properties to join your Firewise USA® Community.
- Have each resident who is interested complete an Individual Risk Assessment form.
- Resident Leader creates an account for their community on the NFPA Firewise USA® website ( https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA ).
- The Resident Leader compiles the Individual Risk Assessments and begins the application on the NFPA Firewise USA® website.
- Resident Leader and Committee create a 3-year Action Plan document and a map of the community.
- NFPA will review your application. If there’s anything wrong, they will let you know what changes they feel are necessary. Once approved, your neighborhood will then become a certified Firewise USA® community.
- Contact your insurance company with a copy of the Firewise USA® Certificate to discuss possible discounts of up to 10%.
- Schedule a yearly community workday and meeting with a brief educational component.
- Document each resident’s volunteer hours, expenses, rentals, equipment, disposal, etc. to meet your targeted community investment.
- Annual renewal is typically in November.
You will update your Action Plan and make sure to update your volunteer hours figures. This is not a regulatory program here to flag any issues on your property. The recommendations are not obligated to be completed. Property owners make the decisions on what work is done. Firewise USA® respects your plans for your land. This program is to help you with some of the issues you might be worried about when it comes to fire prevention and emergency preparedness. Technical assistance, access to the CRCD Firewise® tool cache, volunteer labor and grant funding (when available), and a working collaboration between neighbors and local fire prevention agencies are all benefits of becoming a Firewise USA® community. Reach out to Coarsegold RCD to get the process started today!