About Us  |  Contact Us  |  FAQ's  |  Newsroom

[design image slice] U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service on faded trees in medium light green background [design image slice] more faded trees
[design image] green box with curved corner
[design image] green and cream arch
 
Regulations.gov
   
Employee Search
Information Center
National Offices and Programs
Phone Directory
Regional Offices
   
   
   
 

US Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.
20250-0003

(800) 832-1355

 
  USA dot Gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal.
   
NEWS RELEASE
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.
USDA Forest Service badge

Release No. 1119

Contact:

Press Office
(202) 205-1134


US Forest Service Urges Communities to Prepare for Wildfires


WASHINGTON – May 27, 2011 – Nine out of ten wildfires are preventable. In other words, nine out of ten wildfires are caused by people from carelessness. But homeowners and others are not powerless against wildfires. In fact, homeowners who exercise common sense tactics, such as clearing brush and debris away from structures, play a vital role in slowing the spread of fire and protecting their property.


Right now, moisture and cool temperatures in the Western United States are holding off the Western wildfire season. At the same time, the Southwestern United States is experiencing extensive wildfire activity in forestland and on private property, most notably in Texas.


“One of our jobs at the Forest Service is to keep wildfires away from homes and communities and to reduce fire severity to manageable levels,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “But individual homeowners also play a key role—they have a responsibility to make their properties as safe as possible from fires.”


The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities program teaches homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters and others about ways to protect people and property from wildfires. Firewise suggestions include:

  • Remove trees, brush and grass from around your structures
  • Clear anything flammable from within 3 feet of the base of your structures
  • Clean the roof and gutters of pine needles and other debris
  • Remove tree limbs less than 10 feet from the ground around your structures
  • Replace a shake-shingle roof with a non-flammable alternative
  • Keep your lawn clean and green

In addition to urging homeowners to make their properties as safe as possible from fire, the Forest Service’s overall strategy is to work through cross-jurisdictional partnerships before fires start rather than relying on suppression tactics alone. The agency’s community partners have an array of tools at their disposal, including:

  • External fuel buffers, internal safety zones and community wildfire protection plans
  • Fire departments with the capacity to mitigate, educate and protect at-risk communities
  • Codes and ordinances that address wildfire threats
  • Forest management and fuels mitigation techniques
  • Cooperative fire agreements 

Wildland fire management response in the United States has evolved into an increasingly complex and multifaceted system. The nation’s Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy  cites as one of its goals that human populations and infrastructure can withstand a wildfire without loss of life and property.  To do that, the strategy calls for individuals and communities to accept their responsibility to prepare their properties for wildfire.


Nearly 694 communities in 40 states are part of the national Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program and thousands more are using Firewise principles. But there are still many communities nationwide that are at risk to wildfire. Go here to read the latest newsletter from Firewise.org, which is co-sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of the Interior and the National Association of State Foresters.


The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.


#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).



US Forest Service
Last modified March 29, 2013
http://www.fs.fed.us

[graphic] USDA logo, which links to the department's national site. [graphic] Forest Service logo, which links to the agency's national site. [graphic] A link to the US Forest Service home page.