U.S. Air Force Academy becomes first military participant in Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program

Installation takes action to reduce threat of wildfire and improve safety

firewise branded logoJuly 6, 2016― The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise® Communities Program has reached a milestone in announcing the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado is the first military installation to earn recognition as a Firewise Communities/USA® site. The Academy has completed the required Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program criteria for their base housing units so that members of the military and their families are safer from threats posed by brush, grass and forest fires.

Previous wildfires on and near the Academy have disrupted training exercises, and resulted in the closure and evacuation of residents and employees. Each year many small fires occur from lightning strikes, training exercises or arson. With the help of the U.S. Air Force Natural Resources Department, Fire and Emergency Services and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Academy has been reducing fuels next to homes and structures for more than a decade, including the historic Cadet Lodge and Scout Huts, a favorite meeting place for cadets, staff and Boy Scout troops. Efforts to create a fire resilient military community are on-going.

“Our volunteer Firewise Communities/USA program helps communities get started and find direction for their wildfire safety efforts,” said Cathy Prudhomme, manager of the NFPA Firewise Communities Program. “The Air Force Academy is taking the necessary steps to reduce their wildfire risk and make members of the military and their families safer. The Academy has really paved the way for more military bases to participate in Firewise efforts in their housing developments.”

Each year, hundreds of acres of the Academy receive fuels reduction treatment near the base housing areas through mechanical or manual treatments, and in some cases using prescribed fire. Additional actions have included creating fuel breaks along roads, bridges and boundaries, and thinning forests to increase their survivability in the event of a wildfire. The Academy also provides education to residents about fire safety and preparation. 

The Firewise program, launched in 2002 in collaboration with state forestry officials across the nation, encourages local solutions for safety by teaching residents how to take individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire, and provides an important opportunity for neighbors to help neighbors toward a common safety goal.

For more information about the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program, visit the Firewise website at www.firewise.org or contact NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division.

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)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visitwww.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275