Sections
You are here: Home Firewise
Document Actions

What is Firewise?

Firewise is a national program that helps landowners and communities prevent damage from devastating wildland fires.

Firewise logo

Firewise is a national program that helps landowners and communities prevent damage from devastating wildland fires.

 ~~~~

Find out more at the national website:

www.firewise.org or visit their blog:

Firewise Blog

Washington State Fires from 1970 - 2010

This is a graphic of Washington State wildfires that have occurred from 1970 - 2010. Find out how many fires have happened in your county here.

Firewise Article

Are You Ready for a Wildfire?

Taken from an article from the Spring 2011 Nexus

by Leif Fixen, SCD Resource Planner

As we hear more and more about disasters plaguing communities around the world, you might ask yourself, "Am I ready for a natural disaster?" Disaster preparedness is one area where the old saying -- "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best" -- truly is a wise motto to live by.

One disaster you can easily prepare for is the threat of a wildfire. As Westsiders here in Washington, it’s difficult to imagine the threat of a wildfire as we tromp through the rain and mud for eight months of the year. But due to our beautiful dry summers, the landscape can dry out quickly, presenting a window of time where a grass or forest fire can be a serious threat to property and lives. 

In response to this concern, the Snohomish Conservation District has partnered with the Washington State University Snohomish County Extension and the Department of Natural Resources to help you and your neighbors become a "Firewise Community". This program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in proactively protecting people and property from the risk of a wildfire. The program teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses in the future. 

A Firewise Home has Seven Features:

1. The Home Ignition Zone

The Home Ignition Zone begins with at least 30 feet of space immediately around your home and may extend out as far as 100 to 200 feet, depending on the characteristics of the surrounding vegetation.

Creating and maintaining a Home Ignition Zone reduces or eliminates fire hazards presented by vegetation and wood construction (porches, decks, storage sheds, outbuildings, swing sets and fences).The Home Ignition Zone begins with at least 30 feet of space immediately around your home and may extend out as far as 100 to 200 feet, depending on the characteristics of the surrounding vegetation.

WHY?

Reducing ignition hazards improves

the chances that your home will

survive a wildfire. 

2. Lean, Clean, and Green Landscaping

With Firewise landscaping, you can create survivable space around your home that reduces your wildfire threat. Prune large trees so the lowest branches are at least six to ten feet high to prevent a ground fire from spreading into your trees. Within your Home Ignition Zone, remove flammable mulches (pine needles, bark, leaves) and any plants containing resins, oils, and waxes that burn readily (ornamental junipers, holly, red cedar). A list of less-flammable mulches and plants can be obtained from the Conservation District, your local state forester, or county extension office.

WHY?

Although bark mulch helps retain

soil moisture, mulch and plants can

become flammable when too dry. 

3. A Fire-resistant Roof

Firewise roof materials include Class-A asphalt shingles, metal, slate or clay tile, and concrete products. A fire-resistant sub-roof adds further protection. In the spring inspect your roof, looking for deterioration such as breaks and spaces between roof tiles. Keep your roof, gutters, and eaves clear of leaves and other debris. Make sure under-eave and soffit vents are as close as possible to the roof line. Box in eaves, but be sure to provide adequate ventilation to prevent condensation and mildew.

WHY?

Something as simple as making sure that your gutters, eaves, and roof are clear of debris will reduce your fire threat. 

4. Fire-resistant Construction

Wall materials that resist heat and flames include brick, cement, plaster, stucco, and concrete masonry. Tempered and double-pane glass windows can make a home more resistant to wildfire heat and flames.

WHY?

Firebrands, (embers that collect in small

nooks and crannies) can

ignite combustible materials. 

5. Fire-resistant Attachments

Attachments include any structure connected to your home, such as a deck, porch, or fence. If these items are not fire resistant, then your home as a whole is more vulnerable to catching on fire.

6. A Disaster Plan

The time to plan for any emergency is before it happens. Make time to discuss with your family what actions you will take.

  • Post emergency telephone numbers in a visible place
  • Leave before it is too late
  • Decide where you will go and how you will get there
  • Have tools available (shovel, rake, axe, handsaw, or chain saw)
  • Maintain an emergency water source
  • Have a plan for your pets
  • Practice family fire drills

WHY?

The need to evacuate can occur

without notice. When wildfire conditions exist,

be ready to take action immediately

as fires move fast. 

7. Emergency Access

Identify your home and neighborhood with legible and clearly marked street names and numbers. Make sure your driveway is at least 12 feet wide with a vertical clearance of 15 feet and a slope of less than five percent to provide adequate access for emergency vehicles.

WHY?

So emergency personnel can

rapidly find you and respond quickly. 

If you’d like to have your property or neighborhood assessed to see how Firewise you are, please call Kristin Marshall, 425-335-5634 ext. 116, for a free site visit and evaluation. You can also visit http://www.firewise.org/ for more information on becoming Firewise.

 


powered by Plone | site by Groundwire Consulting and served with clean energy