Congratulations to Orleans (Humboldt County), winner of the 2013 Firewise Challenge Award.

Community receives monetary award to work on wildfire mitigation projects

 Orleans, CA has been awarded a grand prize in the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 1,000 Safer Places:  The Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program Challenge. Thanks to generous monetary support from State Farm®, the largest home insurer in the United States, Orleans together with four other communities in Arkansas, Washington, Pennsylvania  and New Jersey are receiving a grand prize of $5,000 to be used for mitigation activities, including chipping of brush, removal of vegetative material, and similar activities that will reduce wildfire hazards.

The Challenge, a yearlong campaign that began in January 2013, is a way to encourage residents across the country to take steps to combat the threat of wildfire and reduce the damage fire can do to homes and property.

To take part, communities followed the steps outlined by the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program and submitted a final application, which automatically entered them into the Challenge. Communities already part of the program conducted their annual wildfire safety activities and reported on their status. Recognized communities in states with the most participation are being awarded prizes including tools and funding to help residents continue to work on ways to minimize wildfire hazards.

Preparedness for wildfire is needed now more than ever. The U.S. has more than 72,000 communities at risk from wildfire. During 2012, more than nine million acres burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), the third highest annual total since 1960, when records were first kept. With continued increased drought conditions, excess fuel on forest floors and high temperatures predicted for 2014, the risk of wildfire continues to increase for many communities across the country.

Five additional communities in Virginia, Colorado, Oregon, Tennessee, and Maine will receive a runner-up prize of $900 to use on safety gear, tools or mitigation projects.

Details about the Firewise Challenge and the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program can be found on the Firewise website.

About Firewise

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