In the U.S., we average 140,000 wildfires per year, burning approximately 14.5 million acres. Each year since 1990, more than 9000 homes have been destroyed by wildfire. When people build their “dream homes” in the woods or on wild lands on the edges of urban areas, these properties may be vulnerable. The national Firewise Communities program is a multi-agency effort designed to reach beyond the fire service by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, and others in the effort to protect people, property, and natural resources from the risk of wildland fire - before a fire starts. The Firewise Communities approach emphasizes community responsibility for planning in the design of a safe community as well as effective emergency response, and individual responsibility for safer home construction and design, landscaping, and maintenance.
The overall website has been developed for use of homeowners living at The Woods and others who may be interested in our approach to Firewise and being a National Firewise Community.
The West Virginia Division of Forestry (WVDOF) will link you to its website address and its various Firewise Links.
The Education links cover the following information: Background on the West Virginia Firewise in the Classroom Project and its establishment; Overview Summary of the West Virginia Firewise in the Classroom Project Activities Statewide ; This link covers The Woods and its L1 (GIS Community Wildfire Risk Assessment for The Woods) and L2 (Individual Wildfire Home Hazard Assessments – Woods – Aggregate Scores and Mapping of each home in the identified sections that are the most vulnerable to a wildfire at The Woods); Other West Virginia Communities L1 (Risk Assessment Evaluation using GIS technologies); and The West Virginia Firewise in the Classroom Curriculum; This link includes teacher lesson plans and presentations and slide shows used in the WV Firewise in the Classroom curriculum.
The Homeowners/Community web links cover the following six major categories. They include: Fire Safety at the Wildland/Urban Interface; How to Make Your Home Firewise; Homeowners Firewise Web Links; Community Wildfire Protection Plan; and Firewise Landscaping Plan.
The Additional Firewise Links web links cover the following five major categories. They include: Wildland / Urban Interface; National Links; Other States Firewise; National Firewise Courses and Resources; and Additional Firewise Information. These web site links will provide the Homeowner with additional Firewise information in making their homes Firewise.
The Credits and Firewise Grants Links have been organized in to two major categories. They are: Credits; and Firewise Grants. These web site links and PDF files will give the homeowner both insight into the agencies, companies and organizations who have been both involved and been partners since 2007 in The Woods Firewise activities in addition to outlining the goals and accomplishments of the two Firewise grants.
The Current News link will provide you with the most update to date Firewise news and events.
Begin your Firewise Education journey here. The following two presentations will give the Homeowner, and everyone interested in firewise strategies, a summarized overview of what The Woods and The Woods Community Foundation have been doing with Firewise activities here in the Woods since 2004. See below the Backyard and Beyond Firewise Conference Presentation and Why Be Concerned about Wildfires in West Virginia?
Backyard and Beyond Firewise Conference Presentation
“Firewise at the Woods as a Team Approach” is a slideshow presentation made to the Backyard and Beyond Firewise Conference by Terry Mallett, President of Eagle Promise Charitable Fund, Inc. and a resident of The Woods, in October 2010 in Denver, CO. Click on Handout to print out a copy of the presentation or click on Notes file an accompanying explanation for each slide. A major theme of this presentation at the conference was the involvement of youth in Firewise. Our segment of the program featured the West Virginia Firewise in the Classroom Project in coordination with science classes at Hedgesville High School using GIS and GPS technologies and The Woods.
Why Be Concerned About Wildfires in West Virginia?
Sixty eight years ago, Morgan and Berkeley Counties experienced one of the worst wildfires West Virginia had ever seen. Over 68,000 acres of forest lands were burned in seven days. Back then the area burned was mostly forest and farm land. Since then the forests have matured and many homes have been built amongst the forests. If a large wildfire it happens again, what would be the impact to life and homes? See the Google Map which shows the path of the 1942 West Virginia Forest Fires. Notice it passes through the area where The Woods exists today.