Part of being a recognized Firewise USA® site is reporting the ongoing work residents complete each year to reduce their wildfire risks, while addressing the areas identified in their community’s wildfire assessment. Every year participating sites must submit an annual renewal to maintain their “In Good Standing” status.
Steps to complete the annual Firewise USA renewal process
- Wildfire Risk Assessment
The risk assessment is the board/committee’s primary tool in determining the risk reduction priorities within your site’s boundaries. Assessments need to be updated every five years.
Annually the board/committee should review their site’s risk reduction priorities.
- Action Plan
Action plans need to be reviewed annually by the board/committee and updated at least every three years.
- Educational Outreach
Visit the Firewise USA® management portal to get ideas and suggestions for planning a successful educational outreach activity for your residents. Each participating site is required to have a minimum of one wildfire risk reduction educational outreach event, or related activity annually.
- Wildfire Risk Reduction Investment (Effective January 8, 2018)
At a minimum, each site is required to annually invest the equivalent of one volunteer hour valued at $24.14 (the rate is based on the 2017 annual National Hourly Volunteer Rate; which is updated every year) per dwelling unit* in wildfire risk reduction actions. Find a wide range of qualifying expenditures (contractor costs, rental equipment), volunteer activities, grants, etc., that can be used in meeting the investment in the portal’s Risk Reduction Investment section. Residents completing select home modifications, along with any qualifying work performed at their home and in the adjacent home ignition zones can contribute related hours and/or costs towards meeting the sites collective investment amount.
Sites unable to meet the new investment rate in 2018, must, at a minimum, meet 50% of the new rate. All 2019 renewals will be required to meet the new minimum investment requirement.
*Calculating the number of dwelling units for use with the risk reduction investment formula: The number of dwelling units within the site must be included in the application. For definition purposes, a dwelling unit is a household/residence built for occupancy by one person, a family, or roommates, including mobile homes and cabins; and for multi-family residential occupancies (i.e. duplexes, and other types of attached housing). An apartment building with 10 units would be considered ten dwelling units. Each individual participating site is limited to no more than 7,500 individual dwelling units* within their identified boundary. Multiple sites can be located within a single large master-planned community/HOA.
*Participating sites larger than 7,500 individual dwelling units must meet the maximum dwelling unit requirement by January 2, 2023.
You’re encouraged to start your renewal application in the management portal at any point throughout the year as components of your renewal are completed. Once all the criteria has been met, the electronic renewal application can be submitted. 2018 renewals must be submitted by November 16. Renewals are reviewed and approved by either your state liaison or the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Each approved renewing site will receive a Certificate of Renewal during first quarter of the following year.
Please note: Individual states can request additional application requirements.
- Conduct your educational outreach event anytime during the year and report it through the portal’s easy-to-use tracking system.
- Document the time invested in risk reduction projects. Each year, the site’s Firewise Board/Committee must demonstrate that the site has met their required risk reduction investment. You can log volunteer hours (worth $24.14 as of May 2017), grants, or the value of in-kind services, contractors, or rental equipment. Please note: The investment criteria for 2018 has changed.
- Tell us about your successes! The Firewise USA® program management portal provides simple and efficient tools that will assist in submitting the required renewal criteria and management of your Firewise site:
- Request resident leader changes or update the number of residents or dwelling units.
- Add new board members and revise or update your action plan.
- The educational outreach and vegetation management tabs provide easy reporting.
- Time and effort: track hours worked or money spent on risk reduction efforts throughout the year. The portal allows for multiple entries and tracks activities in specific home ignition zones, along with expenditures for projects and equipment; and it’s all calculated and stored for renewal purposes and future reference.