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Include Everyone in Community Wildfire Preparedness

Posted: Sept. 22, 2020

Be inclusive when pre-fire planning for wildfire to help ensure that the whole community's resilience is considered.

Is reducing wildfire risk just about the homes in a community, or is it more? Are businesses, schools, hospitals, cell towers and water distribution centers immune from the impacts of wildfire?

When assessing a community's assets at risk, you should include public buildings, multiple dwelling units like apartment buildings, and businesses and their owners and managers in the creation of the community's risk assessment and Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Public buildings and infrastructure are vulnerable

Past fires demonstrate the vulnerability of public buildings and infrastructure. Consider, for example:

These examples highlight the need to include public buildings and infrastructure in all wildfire safety planning.

Preplanning before a wildfire event can help save lives and potentially reduce property loss.

Pre-fire planning tips to make your community more fire adapted

Important wildfire safety plan components

  • Reducing the ignition potential of buildings.
  • Ensuring that cell towers and water distribution centers have alternate power-supplied generators in the event of a power outage due to a wildfire or other disaster.
  • Evaluating evacuation routes to see if there is more than one way out of a community and the condition of the exit routes is good.
  • Looking at the conditions of the landscape within and surrounding the community.

Be inclusive when pre-fire planning to help ensure that the whole community's resilience is considered. Inclusivity can also increase the resources and partners in your risk reduction plan.

Pre-Fire Planning to Help Communities Become More Fire Adapted. Contains the illustrated tips displayed below in a handout format.

illustration of a community showing various buildings and a street

Protect businesses, public buildings, residents and firefighters from wildfire loss.

Planning before a wildfire occurs ensures that jurisdictions can be more resilient. Hard work by all stakeholders can help a community before, during and after a wildfire.

Each community has its own risks. Use the Community Wildfire Protection Plan template to identify and mitigate these hazards and help communities become more fire adapted.
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illustration of three Division of Forestry employees talking next to their truck

Collaborate with local, state and federal foresters, park managers or land managing agencies to create healthy forests.

illustration of a building sign

Use nonflammable material, like metal, stone, stucco or brick, for building signs and cladding installed on the outside of the building.

illustration of a hospital building

Use hard-wired generators powered by an alternative fuel supply (like propane) for hospitals and water supply systems.

illustration of workers repairing a downed power line

Report any downed power lines, damaged transformers and other distribution infrastructure to your local power utility company.

illustration of two street signs

Mark roads with reflective nonflammable street signs. Create more than one way out of the area and practice evacuations. Create and practice plans for evacuating hospitals, schools and nursing homes.

illustration of a fire hydrant with a blue dot in the middle of the roadway

Clear all debris from hydrants. Install reflective blue dots in the middle of roadways to show the location of the hydrants during smoky wildfire conditions.

illustration of a man cleaning his gutters

Clean leaves, pine needles and anything that can burn from roofs and gutters. This is particularly important on flat-roofed buildings and areas where there are overlapping eaves.

illustration of plants 5 feet from a building and 100 feet of defensible space

Plant vegetation with high moisture content around buildings. Only use nonflammable materials, like rock, around vegetation. Keep anything that can burn at least 5 feet from buildings. Create defensible space within 100 feet of all buildings.

illustration of sealed windows on a building

Seal windows and doors to prevent embers from entering.

illustration of a mesh-covered vent on the side of a building

Cover vents and openings in the building with mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent embers from entering.

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