BEND, Ore. - The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program is honoring Fall River Estates in Deschutes County as it celebrates a 10-year anniversary of continued participation and successes in reducing wildfire risks.
Fall River Estates was one of 34 communities nationally recognized in 2004, and was among the earliest adopters of the Firewise Communities/USA process.
The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program, launched in 2002 by the National Fire Protection Association, encourages communities to work together toward wildland fire preparedness to save lives, property and natural resources. The program was developed in the 1980s in response to severe property losses from brush, grass and forest fires across the country.
"We're proud of these communities who were among the first to recognize the positive impact of collective actions to prevent wildfire damage and do something about it," said Dave Nuss, NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations Division manager.
"We are indebted to these early adopters for taking the lead in wildfire safety, and for persevering in Firewise activities for the past decade," said Michele Steinberg, manager of NFPA's Firewise Communities Program. "Their dedicated fire and safety professionals and motivated residents have truly helped minimize wildfire risk factors, and their hard work surely has paid off."
Fall River will receive a special crystal award in honor of its long-term commitment to community wildfire safety.
"Over the years, Fall River Estates participated in neighborhood sweat equity programs coordinated by the Upper Deschutes River Coalition, funded by grant dollars administered through the Deschutes County Forester's Office," said Mick McMicken, Fall River Estates' Firewise Community Representative.
"The roadside collection of material and free green debris disposal days at county landfill sites, all coordinated by Project Wildfire, encouraged community-wide participation. Residents continue to clean up their properties in keeping with Firewise principles and the requirements of the Oregon Forestland Urban Interface Wildfire Protection Act."
NFPA's announcement comes at the start of the 2013 wildfire season, which experts predict will continue to be challenging for firefighters and citizens throughout the country. More information about the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program and a complete list of official Firewise Communities/USA sites can be found on the Firewise website.
The Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Firewise is one element of the Fire Adapted Communities initiative - a national effort that engages homeowners, firefighters, civic leaders and land managers to reduce wildfire risk in communities throughout the United States. The Firewise Communities Program and the Fire Adapted Communities initiative are sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and USDA Forest Service.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION(NFPA)
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA develops more than 300 codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed at no cost at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.