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USFA Releases New Guide: Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities

This week, the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service released a new guide for fire service and other community leaders facing the growing national threat of wildland fire.

Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities (pdf) explains a holistic approach to addressing wildland-fire risk reduction in the wildland/urban interface. The resource was developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) under a cooperative agreement with the federal agencies.

Whole Community Approach

The goal of fire-adapted communities, which are designed to encourage communities to become more resistant to wildland-fire threats, depends on a strong collaboration between federal, state and local agencies and the public. This new guide provides an overview of key concepts in fire-adapted communities and addresses specific actions that can be taken to improve individual and community safety.

The guide promotes an environment where individuals have access to critical information and the necessary knowledge concerning the protection of life, property and their communities. This creates an alignment of the resource with FEMA’s whole community involvement and individual responsibility to reduce the loss of life and property.

Combining Education and Action

Upon release of the document, U.S. Fire Administrator Ernie Mitchell stated, “It is important that fire departments partner with other local emergency-response departments, state fire and forestry agencies and any regional federal organizations before a fire begins.”

The 14-page guide is easy to digest, but comprehensive in providing both educational and actionable guidance. The document covers:

  • Defensible space and community preparedness
  • How fire-adapted communities can:
    • coexist with the threats of wildland fires
    • reduce fire-suppression costs
    • maximize protection of life and property
  • Identification of stakeholders and specific action items associated with each role
  • Possible funding streams to support fire-adapted community guidance
  • A checklist for implementation
  • A resource guide

In his opening remarks at the Wildland/Urban Interface Conference yesterday, IAFC President Al Gillespie reinforced the importance of fire-department leadership in creating fire-adapted communities. “As part of the National Cohesive Strategy, fire-adapted communities are a great initiative to help meet, head-on, the growing wildland-fire challenge,” said Gillespie. “It reinforces the philosophy that in working together, we can collectively achieve our common goal.”

Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities is now available for download on the USFA Publications website.

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