June 15, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

50 Ways to Make Your Home Firewise and 5 Ways to Protect Your Forest from Wildfire

 

During the past five years, 874 homes were damaged or destroyed as a result of 16,433 wildfires across Alabama. During that same time, 2,696 other structures, as well as 738 vehicles also burned in wildfires. As State Forester Linda Casey stated, “Homes damaged or destroyed by wildfire are simply unacceptable, especially if such tragedy can be prevented.”

To aid homeowners living in the Wildland Urban Interface (areas where urban development meets wildland areas), the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has produced two publications: “50 Ways to Make your Woodland Home Firewise” and Five Ways to Protect Your Forestland from Wildfires.”

            The “50 Ways to Make your Woodland Home Firewise” is intended to serve as a guide to help homeowners protect their most valuable assets – their family and home. Recommendations include a list ranging from no-cost actions such as “Maintain a green lawn for 30’ around your home,” to higher cost actions such as “Replace wood or vinyl siding with nonflammable material.”

            The Five Ways to Protect Your Forestland from Wildfires” publication suggests actions to help forest owners become proactive in wildfire protection. Damages from wildland fires can be devastating to your forests and wildlife. A single wildfire during the wrong set of conditions can wipe out years of investment in your trees.

With more people moving to and living in rural areas of the state, the AFC and local fire departments are facing new challenges in providing fire protection. The threat from wildfire is very real, particularly during periods of high fire occurrence, extreme weather conditions, and for those people who live in high fire risk areas. According to Casey, “Protection is a major concern of the Alabama Forestry Commission because budget reductions will likely result in nearly one-third of our firefighters being laid off. However, by taking personal responsibility for reducing hazards around their property, homeowners may substantially reduce the risks from damages caused by wildfire.”

            Alabama’s Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment has identified high fire-risk communities in the state. Current research indicates that 935 communities in Alabama are at high or very high risk from wildfires while 7,030 communities are at moderate risk. Homeowners and community leaders can visit the Alabama Forestry Commission website at www.forestry.alabama.gov/communities_at_risk.aspx or contact their local AFC office to find out if their community is in a high-risk area.

            Professionals with the Alabama Forestry Commission have the training and experience to guide homeowners and landowners through the process of hazard reduction on their property. Consultations are free upon request. Both publications and additional information can be found by going to the Commission’s website, www.forestry.alabama.gov and clicking on the link, “Homes, Communities in the Forest.”

 

For more information or interview, contact:

Stanley Anderson in South Alabama:
251.604.8616

stanley.anderson@forestry.alabama.gov

 

or Coleen Vansant in North Alabama:

256.347.1785

coleen.vansant@forestry.alabama.gov

 



  • For more information, visit http://forestry.alabama.gov
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