Can you survive a wildfire?

PAWUIC’S motto “Living on the Edge”, has two meanings: living on the edge of Arizona’s wildlands with all of their attendant grace and beauty, but also living with the danger of wildfire.

PAWUIC, founded in 1990, is unique in the nation as a not-for-profit group chartered by the City of Prescott and Yavapai County. PAWUIC is comprised of federal, state, county and city agency representatives working together with volunteers, businesses, and community leaders. PAWUIC’s purpose is to mitigate the threat of wildfire and to promote forest health in the greater Prescott area, and Yavapai County- an area larger than the State of Massachusetts.  Members from Prescott National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Forestry, Prescott Yavapai Tribe, Yavapai County Office of Emergency Management, Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority, Prescott Fire Department, eleven other fire departments, homeowner associations and private citizens meet monthly to report and coordinate their activities to reduce the wildfire danger in the area.

PAWUIC works not just in fire season, but throughout the year to reduce the chance of a wildfire and to reduce the damage it would cause when it strikes our community. By cooperating together since 1990, PAWUIC has brought more than $6,000,000 into our community. 

PAWUIC provides:

  • Information and education on how to reduce wildland fire danger by means of an annual EXPO, meetings, training, newspaper articles, helping local communities gain Firewise® community certification, and maintaining its regional information web site.
  • A source of grant funding for area fire department efforts to reduce fuels and mitigate other fire dangers.
  • Training scholarships for area firefighters at the Arizona Wildfire Academy.
  • Supporting efforts for economically and environmentally sound ways to utilize the biomass generated from fuels reduction and forest health projects.
  • A most important monthly forum for sharing ideas and coordinating efforts among the involved agencies. Time:  8:00 AM on the 1st Thurs. of each month in the Freeman Building at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, 840 Rodeo Dr.  The public is always welcome to attend.  Becoming a volunteer is a rewarding experience.

Time For Active Firewise Communities to Renew

The renewal process is for communities that have already achieved Firewise Communities/USA recognition status and are ready to share their community success for the current year.

Renew your community’s active status
Part of being a recognized Firewise Community is the ongoing work you, your Firewise Board, and your neighbors do each year to reduce local fire risks and address issues identified in your community wildfire hazard assessment. Each year, the Firewise program benefits by learning about your community’s activities. The renewal process keeps your recognition status active and helps us share your successes with others.

Here’s all you need to do:

  • Conduct your Firewise Day event anytime during the year. This can be a community clean up day, a fair, or any public get-together where you take Firewise action or promote your local programs. 
  • Document your time and effort in Firewise. Each year, your Firewise Board must demonstrate a level of effort equal to at least $2 per capita in the community. You can track volunteer hours (worth $23.56 as of April 2016), count grants you've received, or the value of in-kind services, hired help, or loaned equipment. If it’s Firewise work, it counts.
  • Tell us about it! Renew online to tell us about your community’s Firewise Day and this year’s investments. You can update your contact information at the same time. 

For more information, go to the NFPA Firewise Communities page.

Commission News

Community Risk Reduction Success Stories: Tuesday, October 11, 10 am MST

University of Arizona Extension Offic Conference Room at 508 Rodeo Dr. Prescott
Jim Webster, Boulder County (CO); Jerry McAdams, Boise Fire Department (ID); and Patrick Haggerty, Cascadia (WA) Conservation District

This year, wildfires tested the benefits of wildfire mitigation projects throughout the U.S.; and produced success stories where risk reduction work completed by residents was credited with playing a major role in the property’s survival. Details from three of those successes in Colorado, Idaho and Washington will be featured in the workshop. The information from those fires will provide inspiration and motivation to implement mitigation concepts at properties in wildfire prone areas. 

Next webinar: Wednesday, November 9 - Wildland Urban Legends, 12 noon MST

USAA Adds Oregon to Homeowners Insurance Discount

Oregon now joins Arizona, California, Colorado and Texas in being one of five states where USAA policyholders living in a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site, are eligible to receive a discount on their homeowners insurance premium.

There are currently 102 communities actively participating in the Firewise Communities/USA recognition program throughout Oregon; with more than 26,000 people living in those sites. Over the past year, those communities have invested close to $1,706,000 in wildfire risk reduction activities. More information.

Get Wildfire Alerts on Your Cell Phone

Two awesome Forest Service fellas by the names of Reggie Goolsby and Ben Butler working for the Wildland Fire Management Research, Development and Application (http://www.wfmrda.nwcg.gov) have created a web-based application WildFiresNearMe and here is what it can do.  Pick one or more locations, select both the diameter of the monitoring area around the location and how many acres involved AND the application will notify you by email or text when a new fire is reported.

The information is consolidated from the Integrated Reporting of Wildland-Fire Information System (IRWIN) which is the dispatch hub for national wildfire reporting.  Additionally the application continuously searches Twitter Fire, GEOMac Fire Perimeter and InciWeb for wildfire information and updates.

If knowing when a fire is first reported in your area(s) of interest is not enough, it can also track fires that you define and provide you updated information as it occurs.

You must watch the 60-minute tutorial to fully appreciate the power of this tool.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEKETCY9r8A

Currently this is a beta test environment, so technical support may be pretty thin.  These guys are on the right track and you can look forward to it becoming an official .gov site in the future.  Be sure to send them feedback on your likes and improvements.  Spread the word!