FIREWISE OHIO PROGRAM HELPS HOMEOWNERS PROTECT THEIR PROPERTY
Ohioans can reduce the risk of wildfire where homes are located near woodlands and grasslands
Each year in Ohio an average of 1,000 wildfires burn nearly 5,000 acres of forest and grassland. This is a fairly large area - especially when considering the population and housing density in the State of Ohio. Wildland fires in Ohio impact numerous families and homes each year. The Ohio Division of Forestry strives to minimize the negative impact caused by wildland fire.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry has been involved in wildfire prevention and education for many years. The Division has made an addition to its list of priorities concerning wildfire: Wildland Urban Interface Fire Safety. Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) is the situation where homes are in close proximity to wildland vegetation, such as woodlands or grasslands. Homes in these areas are at an increased risk to being damaged by wildfire. This is a very serious issue of concern, and has not gone without notice in the past. However, the Division of Forestry stepped up its efforts concerning WUI, and implemented a statewide program, Firewise Ohio, dedicated solely to urban interface fire prevention and education.
The Firewise Ohio program is designed to heighten awareness of the risks inherent to living in a WUI zone, and to inform individuals of what they can do to mitigate potentially hazardous situations in their area. Firewise Ohio is a cooperative program that works closely with fire departments, local governments, and citizens in developing and applying local wildfire mitigation plans. Emphasis of this program is placed on community and public involvement. “Firewise Ohio can assist any community or individual that is interested in making a community or home less prone to wildfire-related disaster,” says Aaron Kloss, Firewise Ohio coordinator.
Easy steps to increase wildfire safety around the home include cleaning leaves and sticks from gutters and roofs, stacking firewood 30 feet away from the home, keeping the lawn cut short and green. Screening below porches and decks is critical in preventing flammable materials from accumulating. Homeowners can take proactive steps to make a safer Firewise environment around their homes. A little effort now can prevent many problems in the future. Learn how to be Firewise!! For more information, check out the Firewise Ohio website available from ohiodnr.com\forestry
Firewise Ohio Goals:
- Conduct a statewide Fire Protection Assessment that will identify areas of greater hazard and/or risk that need to be addressed.
- Inform and educate the public of the importance of Firewise applications and building techniques in the WUI zone.
- Provide expertise in home risk assessment and hazard reduction methods.
- Collaborate with various organizations to provide the most effective fire prevention/mitigation program possible.