The 2019 fire year has begun and the risk of wildfire disasters will no doubt continue to build as summer approaches. Even with record snowfall in the western United States, the region's multi-year drought continues in some states. In those that have had more precipitation, wildfire risk will increase due to the potential for significant vegetation growth which can provide ample fuel for drier summer and fall wildfires. Areas that have suffered damage from other natural disasters are also at higher risk due to changed landscapes and larger fuel loads.
These and other contributing variables will make 2019 another significant fire year, capable of taking unprepared lives, destroying tens of thousands of homes and scarring hundreds of thousands to millions of acres.
Over the last decade, states, local governments, and tribes have worked together with our federal partners to cohesively address wildland fire challenges. To support these efforts, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Intertribal Timber Council, National Association of Counties (NACo), National Association of State Foresters (NASF), and National League of Cities (NLC) have teamed up to share smart planning and mitigation resources directly with communities at risk.
All communities can adapt to life with wildfire risk when they have the necessary tools to properly mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from wildland fire incidents:
- Are your fire and emergency response leaders prepared for the 2019 fire year?
- Have your emergency management and response agencies engaged in wildfire planning?
- Do your residents have access to and participate in wildfire preparedness and education activities?
- Do your response agencies have mutual-aid agreements for closest-response resources?
- Are the necessary processes in place to declare local emergencies and request assistance from state and federal resources?
Looking for additional information? Check out the websites linked above and below.
Don't forget to read the full Fire Year Message (PDF).