NFPA and State Farm® support Wildfire Community Preparedness with awards to 150 communities and tips to reduce risk
In the last two years, wildfires have claimed more than 100 lives and cost more than $25 billion in property losses. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and State Farm are helping communities take steps toward safety with a new set of awards to support local community efforts to reduce wildfire risks.
Thanks to support from State Farm, 150 communities across 26 states will receive project funding awards of $500 each to support activities aimed at reducing potential loss of life, property, and natural resources to wildfire. See this year’s list of winners.
Saturday, May 2 is national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. For the past seven years, this day has been a focal point for community projects to reduce wildfire risk. This year, due to COVID-19 and related state and local measures to combat its spread, NFPA and State Farm support communities postponing organized preparedness efforts until later in the year or such time that it is safe to do so.
In the meantime, NFPA is sharing ideas for actions that individuals and families can take to reduce wildfire risk and potential losses where they live, including:
- Raking and removing pine needles and dry leaves within a minimum of 3 to 5 feet of a home’s foundation. As time permits, continue up to a 30-foot distance around the home. Dispose of collected debris in appropriate trash receptacles.
- Cleaning pine needles from roof and gutters and paying attention to maintaining the home ignition zone.
- Getting out your measuring tape and seeing how close wood piles are located to the home. If closer than 30 feet, they need to be relocated and moved at least 30’ away from structures.
- Sweeping porches and decks clearing them of leaves and pine needles. Raking under decks, porches, sheds and play structures.
- Mowing grasses to a height of four inches or less.
- Removing items stored under decks and porches and relocating them to a storage shed, garage, or basement. Gasoline cans and portable propane tanks should never be stored indoors and should be located away from the home.
- Posting and sharing Facebook and Twitter messages with tips and best practices with others in your community. (See sample posts from NFPA here.)
Over the last few years wildfire events have made the need for preparedness activities more important than ever. In 2018, nearly all of the $13 billion in property damage and losses from large fire incidents in the U.S. was due to just six wildfires. As annual federal spending for wildfire management has gone from roughly $1 billion per year in the mid-1990’s to close to $4 billion per year today, the average annual area burned from wildfires has jumped from about two million to eight million acres over the same period.
For more information about national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day including videos and tip sheets, visit www.wildfireprepday.org.
Every year, wildfires burn across the U.S. More and more people are living in wildfire risk areas. If one home is inadequately prepared, the risk level to the entire neighborhood increases, and everyone’s safety is impacted. Help reduce your community’s wildfire risk. Join others and commit a couple hours or an entire day to preparedness.
Learn more about the 2020 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and how you can make a difference!
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