What do the communities of Compton, Plumlee, Mountain Springs, Possum Trot and Stoverville all have in common? They are all communities served by the Compton Volunteer Fire Department, and they are all Firewise communities.

Each fall, the Compton Volunteer Fire Department calls attention to the Firewise program and encourages communities both large and small to participate. The five above were certified last year.

Firewise background:

The National Firewise Communities Program is a national interagency program that encourages partnerships among communities, homeowners, private industry, tribes, and public agencies and officials to develop and implement local solutions for wildfire preparedness – before a fire starts.

Wildfires are a natural process. It is the vision of Firewise Communities that, with adequate planning and cooperation among varying interests, wildfires can occur without disastrous loss of life, property, and resources. To that end, the National Firewise Communities Program provides a number of wildland/urban interface resources for firefighter safety, community planning, landscaping, construction, and maintenance to help protect people, property, and natural resources from wildland fire.

Firewise Approach

The best approach to wildfire preparedness involves utilizing the wide range of Firewise practices. The National Firewise Communities Program offers a series of practical steps (landscaping, home construction and design, community planning, etc.) that individuals and communities can take to reduce their vulnerability to wildfire. Using at least one element recommended by the National Firewise Communities Program and adding other elements over time will begin to protect against the risk of fire in the wildland/urban interface.

Examples of Firewise techniques for property owners include creating a defensible space around residential structures by thinning trees and brush; choosing fire-resistant plants; selecting ignition-resistant building materials; positioning structures away from slopes; and working with firefighters to develop emergency plans.

To facilitate local solutions to wildfire preparedness goals, the Firewise Communities/USA program recognizes communities for working together to protect residents and property from fire in the wildland/urban interface. To be recognized as a Firewise Communities/USA site, local communities must create and implement a local plan with cooperative assistance from state forestry agencies and local fire staff. In addition, communities are required to continue regular maintenance and education to retain recognition status.

Local participation:

The Compton Volunteer Fire Department provides Firewise education whenever there is an opportunity to do so. Usually the program is presented at fundraisers and other public events.

The next such opportunities will be during upcoming free children's fishing derbies at the fire department's pond at Station 1 at Compton on state Highway 43. The derbies are Saturday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 3.

The fishing derbies begin at 9 a.m.

The public is encouraged to attend and see what they can do to protect their homes, property and their lives from wildfire.

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