Since 2000, wildfires have ravaged over 58 million acres in the United States. This year alone, close to eight million acres have burned. The National Interagency Fire Center is calling for a heightened wildfire alert in the south due to increased drought conditions through December.
During his opening address at NFPA’s Backyards & Beyond conference in Denver, NFPA President Jim Shannon said that together, he believes we can mitigate wildland fire damage to property and prevent injuries and loss of life by studying the problem, learning from experience and implementing practical strategies in residential development areas.
Mr. Shannon said finding solutions to the wildland fire problem is a high priority for NFPA because wildfires are one of the biggest fire problems we face. He noted that NFPA has developed codes and standards for assessing wildfire risk and creating safer development and infrastructure for over 70 years. Those documents include:
- NFPA 1141, aimed at infrastructure and land development
- NFPA 1142, which deals with water supplies
- NFPA 1143, which deals with wildfire management
- NFPA 1144, aimed at reducing ignition hazards around the home
“At NFPA, we value the importance of collaboration,” said Mr. Shannon. For the past 25 years, NFPA has played an active role with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, a consortium of fire organizations and federal agencies that oversees wildland fire management in the United States. And since 1986, working with the U.S. Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters, the “Firewise Communities Program” has been supporting communities and advocating wildfire safety principles and community preparedness to a broad U.S. audience.
“We continue to strengthen our relationship with the U.S. Forest Service and other important organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and others by working together on our new Fire Adapted Communities Program,” he said.
Last spring, NFPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian non-profit association, Partners in Protection. This agreement confirms NFPA’s commitment to developing best practices based on shared experience and knowledge of the wildfire challenges in each of our countries.
Watch: Molly Mowery, Firewise Associate Project Manager, explains NFPA's formalized relationship with the Canadian association, Partners in Protection, and NFPA's effort to address global challenges with regards to wildland fire safety.