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Pennsylvania’s Firewise Community Program

One of the major issues that Pennsylvania faces is the loss of forested space. It has become more important than ever to properly plan new housing areas and to develop good standards for existing ones. Well-planned communities are aesthetically pleasing and beneficial for residents.

One of the issues that benefits from planning is that of wildland fire protection. Local fire codes, roofing materials, landscaping and road placement can be factored into a plan before a crisis occurs. More fires occur east of the Mississippi River than west. Wildland fire impacts us.

The Pennsylvania Firewise Community Program integrates the services of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, who shall utilize the Firewise Model to identify the potential and severity of wildfire in the Wildland Urban Interface and to organize strategies, plans, and activities to prevent and suppress wildland fires.

Pennsylvania Firewise Community Advisory Committee

The mission of the Pennsylvania Firewise Community Advisory Committee is to promote fire safety in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) environment within the Commonwealth through prevention and mitigation endeavors. The Advisory Committee shall use as its blueprint, Pennsylvania Firewise Community Program Model documents, in concert with the National Firewise Community/USA Program, to foster development, planning, and mitigation strategies for the best defense at reducing wildfire threats in our state woodlands and residential developments.

Pennsylvania Firewise Medal Community Program

You are invited to participate in the Pennsylvania Firewise Medal Community program. Firewise communities are those that (1) avoid potential fire emergencies by addressing and correcting fire hazards and (2) prepare themselves in the event a wildland fire threatens.

Here is how you can become a Firewise Medal Community:

  1. Prepare an Emergency Action Plan. If you have questions, call the County Emergency Management Association (EMA). Local EMA telephone numbers are listed in A Model Prevention, Pre-suppression and Preparedness Plan which can be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Forestry. When the plan is completed, get all the necessary signatures.
  2. Request a copy of the National Fire Protection Association 299. Standard for Protection of Life and Property from Wildfire from the District Forestry Office nearest you. The standard contains wildfire protection information along with a hazard evaluation form. It will be sent to you immediately.
  3. Self-administer the hazard evaluation.
  4. Call the District Forest Office representative nearest you and request that a Bureau of Forestry representative visit your property in order to confirm your score. Learn more from DCNR.
  5. The DCNR Bureau of Forestry will advise you of your medal status -- Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Once this has been determined, a plaque will be prepared for you to post in one of your public areas.