Fire Safety at the Wildland/Urban Interface

The following material(s) have been taken from the publication Smart Yard Care from the Virginia Cooperative Extension, (Chapter 7 – Fire Safety at the Wildland/Urban Interface, by Francis J. Reilly Jr.). This publication is an excellent reference guide for the homeowner. This web page will give the homeowner a better understanding of fire and living in a Wildland/Urban Interface, fire and fire behavior; what you need to know about fire (wind, vegetation, terrain); what you can do to be safe; concepts of defensible space; Firewise landscaping; Firewise home design; and routine home maintenance for being Firewise. This publication can be purchased by clicking the link on Smart Yard Care.

To learn more about Fire Safety at the Wildfire / Urban Interface click here to the link for Fire Safety at the Wildfire / Urban Interface.

You will find the following subjects below covered in this link. Open each subject Link to reveal subject Text and Illustrations.

  • What About Wild Fires?
  • What do I Need to Know About Fires?
  • How Fire Behaves in the Wild What Can I do to Be safe?
  • FireWise Home Design
  • Routine Maintenance is Essential
  • FireWise Communities
  • Read More About Wildland Fire Preparedness
  • Reference Tables
  • Open each subject Link to reveal subject Text and Illustrations.


    How to Make Your Home Firewise Overview

    One of the goals of the West Virginia Firewise program is to educate the public on a series of measures which can minimize property damage or loss from wildfires. The How To Make Your Home Firewise section has links that help demonstrate how to accomplish this.

    This How To Series portion of our Firewise web site has been developed by members of the WHOA Firewise Committee and others within the Woods Community. Below you will find a list with links attached, to each PowerPoint slideshow and/or PDF file.

    How to Make Your Home Firewise

    The How To Series has been developed with specific written instruction, pictures, and some video clips, in an effort to demonstrate, with a series of simple measures, how the homeowner can make their property Firewise.

    To begin, print the three forms listed below in the How To Series Folders section. The first is the West Virginia Division of Forestry, Woodland Home Wildfire Hazard Assessment (L2) form. The second is the Task Matrix form. The third is the Mitigation Worksheet Plan form.

    After printing the forms, are the links which will open the instructional PowerPoint slideshows/files. First click on the Getting Started link below.

    How to Series

    Print the FORM Woodland Home Wildfire Hazard Assessment Form (L2).
    This is the West Virginia Division of Forestry site/structure areas of the L2 Assessment Form by Mitigation Activities and should be printed before reviewing “How To Assess Your Property”.

    Print the FORM Homeowner Task Matrix.
    This form is a visual matrix spreadsheet for the site/structure areas of the L2 Assessment Form by Mitigation Activities. Review any of the PDF slideshows/files, as necessary while filling out this form.

    Print the FORM Mitigation Workshop Plan.
    This form is a tool to determine who will perform the mitigation activity, the time line and dates for mitigation activities with the anticipated budget needed for the project and the anticipated score improvements by category, which could be expected from the performed improvements.

    Filling out the Home Owner’s Mitigation Plan Worksheet should give the home owner their personalized action plan to making their home Firewise. This plan can be implemented over time.

    Please note, if you do not have PowerPoint software installed on your system, you can view the PowerPoint Slideshows by downloading and installing a Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer.
    Click here for a PC system
    Click here for a MAC system

    WHOA Firewise Program – L2 Community Assessment Program Initiative 2020 and Beyond

    The L2 Community Assessment Program Initiative 2020 and Beyond, will be using both the mapping models and the past results of previous L1 and L2 assessments as the basis to launch this NEW FIREWISE INITATIVE.

    1. Print out Woodland Home Wildfire Hazard Assessment Form (L2 ). http://beingfirewise.org/downloads/FWWV_Hazard_Form.pdf 
    2. Go to L2 Evaluations link (2008 - 2011) L2 – Individual Wildfire Home Hazard Assessment -- The Woods http://beingfirewise.org/class_hazard_assessment.html
    3. Locate Section Maps with Woodland Home Wildfire Hazard Assessments paragraph below the Summary of all Wildfire Hazard Assessments. Read the materials. Become familiar with each of the listed Section map Area(s) locating and finding the section where you live. i.e. Section 1, Section 2, Section 3, Walden Woods, etc.
    4. Go to your District / Section from the completed earlier evaluations and locate your home on the map. Write down the earlier evaluation rating and copy the rating of the overall Assessment in then upper right corner of the L2 form. i.e. Extreme, Very High, High, Moderate, or Low.

    Go to the How To Series (HTS) and review the Power Point Presentation “How to Assess Your Property”.

    1. Once you have become familiar with the L2 Assessment Form and your review of the Power Point “How to Assess Your Property” you should be ready to evaluate your property.
    2. Evaluate and fill out the L2 Assessment Form for your property.
    3. Once this process has been completed contact the WHOA office. Request and obtain a hard copy of your earlier L2 Assessment Form.
    4. Next through the WHOA Office set up a time for a WHOA Firewise Committee representative to come to your home to review with you the newly completed L2 Assessment with your previous L2 Assessment. Adjustments in your L2 Assessment Form will be made if necessary.
    5. DEVELOPMENT OF A MITIGATION PLAN FOR YOUR HOME -- The WHOA FW Committee member will then help you (the homeowner) with developing a realistic mitigation plan for your property. This mitigation plan will be developed with you the homeowner. Consideration will be made with the timing, prioritizing and Implementation of the mitigation plan as to both the timelines and the financial resources available for the homeowners’ projects. This plan could take a few years until completed.


    Homeowners Firewise Web Links:

    There are many Firewise web-site links that are available for your review. We suggest you start with the two listed below. You will find additional web-site links listed under

    • Additional Firewise Links

    • West Virginia Firewise external link

    • Firewise Virginia - Virginia’s Firewise web site has helpful videos, resources, PowerPoint shows and links that will help you make your home Firewise. The Virginia site is both a comprehensive web site but is the closest to the State of West Virginia and has many of the same terrain characteristics as WV. Check out the links 50 Things You Can Do; 25 Firewise Tips; Defensible Space; Green not Black; and Create a barrier around your home - a Wildfire-Defensible Space. Check out the other links we have provided from the National Fire Protection Agency and other states under Additional Firewise Links.

    Community Wildfire Protection Plan

    The Woods Community Wildfire Protection Plan

    Firewise Landscaping

    This interactive web-site “Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector” is new. This site currently references over 750 plant species and is being expanded to over 1000 plant species. Click Here for one page overview of the Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector.

    See Diane Murphy's slideshow presentation at the Backyard and Beyond Firewise conference in Denver of October, 2011. This slide show will give you the background to then navigate the Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector.

    Click here for the Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector - This the tool for selecting plants for use in Wildland/Urban Interface Community Settings.