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Coffee Break Bulletin

Fire-Adapted Communities

Posted: Aug. 26, 2020

Learn what fire-adapted communities are, where they fit into the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, and how to create one.

What is a fire-adapted community?

A human community consisting of informed and prepared citizens collaboratively planning and taking action to safely coexist with wildland fire through preparation.

A fire-adapted community is where residents, agency partners, tribes, local elected officials, fire districts, public works departments, utilities, water districts, conservation and land management entities, and other stakeholders collaborate to identify their wildfire risk and work collectively on actionable, identified steps to reduce their risk of loss. This work not only protects property but also increases the safety of firefighters and civilians.

History of the term “fire-adapted communities”

The use of the term “fire-adapted communities” was first identified in the “Quadrennial Fire and Fuel Review Report” of 2005. This report paints a comprehensive picture of fire mitigation strategies carried out by five federal agencies as part of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy and is updated once every five years.

Since that time, fire-adapted communities have become a central goal of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.

Who can become fire adapted?

Any community can come together to understand their risk and take collective action to reduce wildfire-related losses. Champions of wildfire safety work such as motivated residents, fire safe councils, members of the Ready, Set, Go! program, recognized Firewise USA® sites, or member of the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network can help convene stakeholders and initiate community risk reduction activities.

Just as wildfires can occur anywhere in the United States, fire-adapted communities can be created anywhere to help protect residents in wildfire-prone areas.

Steps to create a fire-adapted community

  1. Create a collaborative, local group that represents all stakeholders in a community.
  2. Identify the community's wildfire risk.
  3. Create a written assessment of the risk through a Community Wildfire Protection Plan or Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.
  4. Identify actionable steps to reduce the risk the community faces.
  5. Identify partnerships to help the community with their action plan (volunteers, grants, etc.).
  6. Take action by completing project work that will make a difference in the wildfire safety of the area!
  7. Reevaluate the work completed and the plan as needed and continue wildfire safety maintenance activities throughout the year.

Community success stories

ad for the Surviving Wildfire success story

Surviving Wildfire: A Tale of Two Communities

Learn how fire-adapted work helped communities in Colorado and Virginia survive wildfires with no deaths, no injuries and no structure loss in this short, easy-to-share digital presentation.

Wildfire Mitigation: Strategies Tested and Lessons Learned (Waldo Canyon Fire)

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