GET RECOGNIZED AS A Firewise USA® Community

Firewise USA® Assistance

The Firewise USA program, run by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and reviewed by CALFIRE, helps communities enhance fire safety in wildfire-prone areas. With 2000+ recognized communities nationwide, the decade long program has proven multiple instances of structure loss during a wildfire event.

VRFSC, in collaboration with the Ventura County Fire Department, aids communities in becoming Firewise Sites. Our Regional Coordinators host monthly virtual workshops to inform the public on the latest Firewise information. See our events page for more information.

To earn recognition as a Firewise site, interested communities must complete six steps.

 

Click on each step below to learn more.
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Monthly Firewise USA® Workshops

Why Join Our Firewise Monthly Workshop?

  • Explore the Program: Learn the steps and benefits of the Firewise program for your community.
  • Connect with Others: Hear how different communities found success by chatting with each other.
  • Q&A Sessions: Engage in a Q&A session with our Regional Coordinators for valuable insights.

Firewise Monthly Workshops are held virtually on the third Friday of every month via Zoom. The workshop is open to the public (online only) and begins at 1:00pm. It lasts 1-2 hours.

You can also book a 30-minute virtual chat with our Regional Coordinator. 

FAQs

We encourage you to do your own research on the NFPA website. Additionally, read the instructions in each of the required documents to learn more about the process.

You can also book a 15-minute virtual consultation with our Regional Coordinator. Use our booking link above to schedule an information session with your Firewise team or resident leader.

While not guaranteed, becoming a Firewise USA site may make you eligible for insurance discounts. Check with your insurance agency for applicable discounts.

See our Resources page for more information on insurance.

The initial Firewise application covers a 12-month period. You can choose when this period starts and ends. Some communities have achieved recognition in as little as 3 months.

For example: If you plan to upload and submit all your documents in the Firewise portal in 2 months, you can include the activities from the past 10 months as part of your required annual investment.

Currently, it is not a requirement of the program to have 100% community participation for Firewise USA recognition. It's a voluntary program where communities meet criteria for national recognition, not certification. It's based on efforts to create safer communities, using an honors system, so not everyone has to participate. In the spirit of the program, communities should work towards 100% participation within their 3-year action plans.

See the NFPA?s Sites of Excellence for information on what communities across the nation have done to garner community participation.

See the NFPA?s investment list of qualifying activities.

Note: The initial Firewise application covers a 12-month period. You can choose when this period starts and ends. If you plan to upload and submit all your documents in the Firewise portal in two months, you can include the activities from the past 10 months as part of your required annual investment.

Every community tracks its investment differently. Here are simple options to choose from or customize:

  • Leverage HOA/POA methods
    • If you have an HOA or POA, they may already track vegetation removal and costs, which counts toward your investment.
  • Online Presence
  • Paper or Digital Forms
    • Hand out a paper form distributed to new residents and at community meetings.
    • Create your own digital survey distributed via e-newsletters or community email chain

See what activities count towards your Time and Investment. Tracking vegetation removal is optional, but highly encouraged.

Ensure your community team understands the criteria by thoroughly reading the instructions in each required document. View the sample documents at the bottom of this webpage.

Risk Assessment

  • View the sample Risk Assessment available below under the "Required Documents" section.
  • Inconsistent dwelling units: maintain consistency in dwelling unit numbers across all submitted documents.
  • Insufficient maps: include a clear boundary with visible streets in your submitted map. A simple Google Maps screen grab should suffice.
  • Not selecting that you are next to adjacent lands with accumulated fuels: look at the general topography of your location, if you are within several hundred yards of wildlands then mark the checkbox. A quick Google search should let you know who manages the land near you.

Action Plan

  • View the sample Action Plan available below under the "Required Documents" section.
  • Utilize page 9 of your risk assessment to inform and guide your Action Plan.
  • Year 1 of your Action Plan begins the year after your application year.
  • Steer clear of vague goals. Write goals that are specific, measurable, and include percentages for improved compliance year by year. Refrain from using language such as "same as previous year."
  • Too little information in each section. Each year should progressively move your community towards better compliance. Learn more on topics such as evacuation planning, home hardening, and defensible space. See our Resources tab or contact us for more information.
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By adhering to these guidelines, you increase the likelihood of a successful application submission.

Annually: report your investment and host an outreach event

Every 3 years: update your Action Plan

Every 5 years: update your Risk Assessment

Go beyond the requirements to enhance wildfire safety. Explore Marin County?s recommended actions to take for Firewise recognized communities.

Please look for your neighborhood in this interactive map.

Firewise Community Status

Required Documents

Firewise USA Rick Assessment Cover

Community Wildfire Risk Assessment

There are several steps to take to become recognized as a Firewise USA® site. The community wildfire risk assessment is one of the most important steps in the process. It?s a tool to help residents understand their wildfire risk and engage in risk reduction efforts.

Firewise 3 Year action plan Cover page
Firewise USA® 3-Year Action Plan

Please note that defensible space is required at all times for all buildings or structures within California?s State Responsibility Area under Public Resource Code 4291 and for Local Governments with designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones under Government Code 51182.

Firewise® is a registered trademark of the National Fire Protection Association, Inc. (NFPA).  More information from NFPA is available at https://www.nfpa.org/firewise

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