The national Firewise USA® recognition program provides a collaborative framework to help neighbors in a geographic area get organized, find direction, and take action to increase the ignition resistance of their homes and community and to reduce wildfire risks at the local level. Any community that meets a set of voluntary criteria on an annual basis and retains an “In Good Standing Status” may identify itself as being a Firewise® Site.
Form a board/committee that’s comprised of residents and other applicable wildfire stakeholders. Consider inviting the local fire department, state forestry agency, elected officials, emergency manager, and if applicable the property management company to participate. This group will collaborate on identifying the site’s boundary and size. Firewise sites need to have a minimum of 8 individual single family dwelling units and are limited to a maximum of 2,500. Multiple sites can be located within a single large master-planned community/HOA.
Obtain a written wildfire risk assessment from North Tahoe Fire’s Forest Fuels Coordinator. The assessment should be a community-wide view that identifies areas of successful wildfire risk reduction and areas where improvements could be made. Emphasis should be on the general conditions of homes and related home ignition zones. The assessment is a living document and needs to be updated every five years.
Your board/committee will develop an action plan – a prioritized list of risk reduction projects/investments for the participating site, along with suggested homeowner actions and education activities that participants will strive to complete annually, or over a period of multiple years. Action plans should be updated at a minimum of at least every three years.
Host an outreach event and work with neighbors on addressing items in the action plan. These efforts will go towards your site’s annual wildfire risk reduction investment.
- Find examples (PDF) of activities that count towards your investment.
- Use the volunteer hourly worksheet (PDF) to collect information from residents in your community
At a minimum, each site is required to annually invest the equivalent of one volunteer hour per dwelling unit in wildfire risk reduction actions. If your site has identified 100 homes within its boundary, than 100 hours of work or the monetary equivalent, based on the independent sector value of volunteer time, need to be completed for that year.
Tell Firewise USA® about it
New applications can be completed online at portal.firewise.org. Tell them about the actions and efforts in your community to engage residents and complete mitigation work at the home level. Once all the criteria has been completed, the electronic application can be submitted.
The California Department of Insurance has approved filings by USAA to give homeowners insurance discounts to USAA members living in communities recognized by the Firewise USA® program.
- How to become a Firewise USA® site Embrace the benefits of becoming a recognized Firewise USA® site.
- Firewise USA® resources Get resources to use in your community.
- Firewise USA® success
- Learning opportunities The Firewise USA™ program offers training geared toward homeowners, forestry professionals, and others.
- Order materials Browse free products.
- Contact Firewise USA® Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm MT
Mercury Insurance currently offers community level discounts for homes located in a Firewise USA® Recognition Program site.