The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise Communities Program today reached a milestone in announcing the 800th community to earn recognition as a Firewise Communities/USA® site. Vansant Mobile Home Park #2 in Cullman County, Alabama, is the latest neighborhood to take action to improve residents’ safety from threats posed by brush, grass and forest fires. And it’s the first to showcase the efforts of a state forestry staffer whose commitment included her own investment in mitigation work on her property.
Coleen Vansant, Alabama’s liaison to the national Firewise program and a public information manager with the Alabama Forestry Commission, inherited the mobile home park from her father. This small residential community in north-central Alabama abuts timber company land, and vegetation had begun to encroach on its boundaries. Vansant recalled the creative solution she found to getting the mitigation work done – and helping a resident stay in his home.
“I had a resident who was behind on his rent,” said Vansant. “He wanted to work off his debt, and I knew we had a potential fire problem if the area around these properties was allowed to accumulate more fuel in the form of vegetation. He did a great job of clearing out the dead material and trimming back live plants so that they wouldn’t pose a hazard to homes in the park.”
In addition to Vansant Mobile Home Park #2, more than 65 new Firewise communities have been added in the past year nationwide. You can find a complete list of Firewise recognized communities and their success stories on our website.
Interested in getting your community involved? Do you have questions about the program? A Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program checklist is available to download and takes homeowners step-by-step through the recognition process. A separate online Firewise tips checklist also provides simple yet effective steps homeowners can take around their home now to help minimize damage and loss from the future threat of wildfire.