Placer reaches new high in community-led wildfire prevention efforts in 2019; reports 26,000 participants countywide

Published June 4, 2020

Heading into the 2020 fire season, Placer County now has one of the largest Firewise USA Communities networks in the state. Growing to 48 official Firewise Communities in 2020 with 59 more communities at various stages of formation, Placer County stands prepared for wildfire.

To receive Firewise certification, communities must complete a wildfire risk assessment, create a local plan to reduce wildfire risk, participate in education campaigns and take action to lower local wildfire risk. 

“Wildfire safety not only is a priority among regional partners, but it takes a collaborative and continuous effort from local residents and neighborhoods,” said Placer County Office of Emergency Services Assistant Director Holly Powers. “Placer County Fire Safe Alliance is spearheading the way to educate individuals about how we can collectively make our region as fire safe as possible.”

The Firewise USA program provides a collaborative framework for neighbors to reduce wildfire risks in their communities. The national program, through the National Fire Protection Association, is designed to empower and engage residents living in wildfire-prone areas to develop a plan and take actions that can increase their home’s chances of surviving a wildfire; while also making it safer for firefighters and first responders.

The Placer County Fire Safe Alliance is a group of federal, state and local agencies, and community partners, who support local Firewise Communities and Fire Safe Councils throughout the county. Fire Safe Councils are grassroots, community-led organizations that mobilize residents to protect their homes, communities and environments from catastrophic wildfire. These members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors or their local municipalities.

“As someone who lives in a fire prone environment, the Placer County Firesafe Alliance and Firewise Community Program empowered me with the tools to help make my neighborhood fire protected,” said Placer Firewise Communities coordinator Luana Dowling. “The alliance allows local communities to organize and educate, while working with local officials and first responders to protect the county we all love.” 

For 2019, the Placer County Fire Safe Alliance reported that the Placer County Fire Safe Councils and the 26,225 Firesafe Community members completed 37,192 community service hours, hosted 25 educational meetings hosted and nine fire safe events, and received $1,394,718 of granting funding; contributing $3,497,310 of wildfire risk reduction investment and clearing 66,838 cubic yards of potentially flammable debris throughout the county. 

Nationwide, 1,655 communities participated in the Firewise USA program last year, investing $86.7 million in wildfire risk reduction activities. That total includes more than 1.5 million volunteer hours for fire safe projects and programs. 

Learn more about the Placer County Fire Safe Alliance, Firewise Communities and Firesafe Councils here