What is Firewise?
The Firewise USA Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. The program provides resources to help homeowners learn how to adapt to living with wildfire while encouraging and empowering neighbors to work together to take action now to reduce their wildfire risk and prevent losses.
Using a six-step process, communities develop an action plan that guides their residential risk reduction activities, while engaging and encouraging their neighbors to become active participants in building a safer place to live. Neighborhoods throughout northern California and the United States are embracing the benefits of becoming a recognized Firewise Community.The six steps of Firewise recognition:
- Form a Firewise board or committee.
- Obtain a wildfire risk assessment for your neighborhood or community.*
- Create an Action Plan.
- Conduct educational outreach in your neighborhood.
- Invest a minimum of $25 per home in local wildfire risk-reduction actions for the year.
- Submit an application to your state Firewise liaison - MOFD will help!
*The assessment is a written document outlining hazards and risk related to wildfires where you live. This will be prepared by your Firewise committee in cooperation with the Moraga-Orinda Fire District. You will create an action plan based on the assessment.
The Firewise USA program is co-sponsored by the NFPA, USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.
For more information:
Improving Your Properties Wildland Fire Hazard Rating
Three factors influence the spread of a wildfire. They are topography, weather and fuels. Fuels include vegetation (living and dead) and structures (including roofs, siding, and decks).
Statistics and visits to past wildland fire sites show that modifying fuels have a positive effect on a home’s ability to survive a wildfire! It is impossible to guarantee a home will survive a wildfire but by incorporating fuel mitigation strategies and vegetation management techniques; hardening the structure; and performing annual maintenance, your home’s chance of survival is significantly increased. These preventive measures are important to provided an increased level of protection during the time it takes a wildfire to pass.
The Wildland-Urban Interface is defined as "a line, area or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels". Homes built in the wildland-urban interface are susceptible to wildland fire. Steep terrain, canyons and ravines, along with critical fire weather, increase the wildland fire potential. The Moraga-Orinda Fire District possesses all of these factors.
What can you do to reduce the wildland fire risk?
The following actions, along with regular maintenance, will provide a safer wildland fire environment and you will be Sharing The Responsibility for your wildland fire safety.
- A home’s roof is the most vulnerable part of the structure during a fire. In an effort to reduce fire danger, the City of Orinda has a roofing ordinance that requires a Class A roof in specific areas and a Class B roof in all other areas. The Fire District and the Town of Moraga strongly encourage residents of the Town of Moraga to use fire resistive roofing within Town limits. Currently there is no fire resistive roof requirements within the Town of Moraga. For roofing requirements, contact the Fire District.
- Creating a defensible space around your home will enhance your structure’s ability to survive a wildland fire. A defensible space is an area free of seasonal vegetation growth, fire resistive planting and fire safe plant maintenance. The Fire District requires, through ordinance, a defensible space of 100 feet from the structure but not to exceed beyond the property line. Property owners can obtain the Fire District requirements for vegetation management and defensible space by clicking on the icon "Fire District Vegetation Management Standards/Requirements".
- Provide a spark arrester for chimneys
- Make sure the fire department can see your address (both day and night) from the main street in front of your home.
- If access to your property is over a bridge, make sure that the bridge meets access requirements. This means the bridge must support 40 tons, handling the weight of the fire apparatus.
- Provide protection for balconies and decks. Do not store items under the deck or balcony; remove vegetation from under the structure; construct decks of ignition resistive materials and provide an enclosure around the deck or balcony that resists the intrusion of flame and embers.
- Provide protection from the intrusion of embers and flame into eave and vent openings in the structure. This may include the use of fire resistive screening (screen openings no larger than ¼ inch) over vents and eave openings.
Keep your family fire safe by having an escape plan. Make sure all members of your family and anyone that may be caring for family members know the evacuation routes from your home.