A fire adapted community incorporates people, buildings, businesses, infrastructure, cultural resources, and natural areas into the preparedness effort. We all have a role to play.
Here are some resources for you, Washington.
fire adapted communities framework
“Fire adapted communities” or (FAC) are communities that understands their risk and are taking action to better prepare for, respond to and recover from wildfire. In Washington, fire adaptation means accepting fire as part of the surrounding landscape, taking action to reduce risk and the need for extensive protection actions, and continuously adapting to live safely with wildfires.
When we talk about fire adapted communities, we talk about action: who takes action, what actions to take, and when to take action.
Who takes action? Understanding your role (English and Spanish)
Because all stakeholders share wildfire risk, everyone shares responsibility. Stakeholders in a fire adapted community include residents, businesses, elected officials, nonprofits, land managers, emergency responders, and local, state, tribal and federal governments.
When to take action? A before, during, and after Facilitation Guide (English and Spanish)
Communities can start living better with wildfire at any point—before, during, or after a fire. Community preparedness, response and recovery must include the whole community.
What actions to take? FAC graphic and facilitator’s guide (English and Spanish)
Actions to improve a community’s resilience to wildfire vary from place to place. This graphic shows examples of specific programs and activities that communities can undertake to reduce their wildfire risk. Remember, FAC is not a one-size-fits-all approach; every community’s journey to living better with fire is unique.
Frequently Asked Questions: What is a fire adapted community? What is the Washington Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network? (English and Spanish)
FIND YOUR FIT
Fire adaptation in Washington is big and complex. If we want progress (and we do), we have to get all hands on deck. Our Network respects protocol and jurisdiction, and recommends starting by finding people in your area already doing good work in fire adaptation. We also believe that you can’t wait for your role to be handed to you, and trailblazers get it done. So, educate yourself, but don’t limit yourself. Take action. If you’ve got ideas and energy about actively living with wildfire in Washington, reach out. We can help get you connected.
Following the fires of 2014 and 2015, the City of Wenatchee adopted building codes to help mitigate risks from wildfire to life and property. Photo: Cushman Photography / Wenatchee, WA
City planners, policymakers, and non-governmental organizations are constantly weighing what building regulations will help homes better withstand embers from wildfires. It’s a struggle to agree, while also keeping homeowners’ ability to choose at the center of their decisions. To begin conversations on how civic leaders can help prepare your community, start here:
Chelan County Fire District 3 and forest landowner, Ross Frank, discuss community wildfire preparedness. Photo: The Nature Conservancy
Local fire departments and state and federal firefighters navigate the challenging and dangerous frontlines of wildfire suppression, and above all, are charged with public and personnel safety. Because first responders typically experience a high level of community trust, they have a unique opportunity to support their community not only during the fire, but before and after, as well.
In 2017, partners hosted the first Prescribed Fire Training Exchange in Washington State. Participants were trained to safely use fire to restore fire adapted forests. Photo: Cheryl Barth Photography
In Washington, forest experts remove brush and vegetation and use controlled burns to mitigate unhealthy forest conditions. It’s technically, physically, and logistically demanding work that ultimately helps everyone live more safely with wildfire.
Volunteers prepare for wildfire by removing vegetation from around their homes. Photo: State Farm
Residents & Homeowners
Living in Washington means living with wildfire. Your house, pets and property are at the center of your life, and it is up to you to prepare for a broad range of inconvenient, and possibly tragic, outcomes. Whether it’s before, during, or after the fire, we understand that the way forward can be daunting. Take simple steps to get started.
Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen. (Source: Insurance Information Institute) When Washington business owners approach wildfire preparedness as an essential business activity, they protect their livelihoods and support their communities.
Wildfires and smoke in Washington State in 2015. Photo: MODIS
A shortlist of resources to help everyone stay on top of smoke and fire developments in Washington, as well as evacuation protocols:
What smoke resource or fire adaptation website do you find the most useful and intuitive to use? What resources have you relied on in your personal or professional life that made life easier—before, during or after the fire? We’d love to hear what tools work best for you.