Firewise Communities/USA


Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program encourages and acknowledges citizens action to reduce community wildfire risk.  the program capitalizes on a community's spirit, its resolve and its willingness to take responsibility for its wildfire ignition potential.

The program provides a flexible template for residents of homeowners associations or small towns to improve their wildfire readiness and works as an organizing mechanism for initiating wildfire mitigation actions.  Participation in Firewise Communities/USA is an ongoing process of community commitment to wildfire safety.

During the month of November 2016, Pine Mountain Estates kept a watchful eye on the South Mountain State Park wildfire that consumed over 6,000 acres.  Because of this, Pine Mountain Estates has started a new Committee called "Firewise" after the Firewise Communities Program that encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of a wildfire.  Firewise is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.


Pine Mountain Firewise Assessment

January 2017, Eric Muecke, Urban Forestry Specialist and Firewise Program Assistant along with a couple of Pine Mountain's Firewise Committee members, physically reviewed and documented the Pine Mountain Community.  The results were presented in an assessment book that contains a load of information each and every home and property owner needs to know.  Please download a copy of the Pine Mountain Estates Firewise Communities/USA Project book and your copy of the Individual Home Owner Assessment Sheet.

The National Firewise Communitites/USA has created "A User Reference Guide to the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program" that is filled with valuable information.  

Firewise Grant:

Attention all property owners of Pine Mountain:  To see and understand the Pine Mountain Firewise 2017 Grant and how your participation counts and matters, click "Pine Mountain Firewise 2017 Grant" to receive your copy.

Firewise Time Sheet:

Keep track of your FIREWISE hours!   Click here to download your FIREWISE Time Sheet!!!!

These sheets are to be used for any time or money you spend on your home and/or surrounding property for the purpose of reducing the probability of wildfire loss.

Examples of Activities:

  • Removing trees, brush, grass from around your structures
  • Cleaning gutters of pine needles and other debris.  Cleaning the roof and clearing anything flammable from within 3-feet of the base of the structure.
  • Removing tree limbs less than 6 - 10 feet from the ground around structures
  • Replacing a shake-shingle roof with a non-flammable alternative

Please turn in your completed Home Assessment and Time sheets to any member of the Firewise Committee.


Pine Mountain Firewise Committee Update:

By:  Ruth Robertson

Dave reported that the POA received a letter from the SMFR thanking us for the fundraiser event. All who gave checks received a donation letter. Dave said we should try to have a spring and a fall fundraiser event for the fire department.

Dave stated that the application process was beginning for our committee. We have a new forest service contact as Eric Menke is no longer in this role.

Firewise Individual Home Owner Assessment Sheet: Dave said we need to get these all turned in. It was suggested we divvy the mountain up into sections and once one section has completed all their assessments and turned them in, we move on to the next section. It was also suggested that an email go out, as our first step, to all newsletter recipients in a group distribution with a copy of the FW home assessment sheet requesting they return the forms by a deadline. Follow-up should then happen with a second request and/or a personal visit to the homeowner to see if they need help from a committee member to complete their assessment. Edie volunteered to write a letter for the e-mail and to send it to Wanda for distribution Wanda will work with Patti on the email distribution list. Other suggestions were: To request permission to enter a homeowner’s property if they could not complete the assessment themselves by the deadline, and complete a visual assessment of the home by a committee member; and that we put a request for completion in PM’s quarterly e-newsletter stating that forms can be picked up from the POA office as well as being available on-line on our website.

Signage: The committee has already identified the number of exit signs and other road signs needed as per the forest service assessment recommendations for Pine Mountain. A proposal needs to be submitted from the Firewise Committee to the Environmental Committee for approval. Wanda suggested she and Ruth meet with Kathi Yarnell to put the paperwork together for the Environment Committee to review.

Fuel Reduction: The committee has identified the location below the Jordan home as a fuel reduction site. This site has been used for years as a dump site for tree and yard debris and needs to be eliminated. The committee recommends that this site be discontinued as a dump site. Dave will ask the Maintenance Committee to oversee this project. Dave will also discuss fuel reduction of property owners’ sites with the Maintenance Committee for this fall’s debris removal.

Dave proposed having a fire pit dug near the pavilion for bon fire events.He will submit a proposal to the board and asked committee members to email him with any pictures or information they may have regarding community fire pits.

Visit www.ncfirewise.org, the PM Facebook page or the PM website to download an Assessment Sheet.  Fill out your sheet (no fudging!!!) to get an honest assessment of what your home’s risk is.  And then take what steps you can to help mitigate those risks.

For each hour of our time we spend on FIREWISE related activities, we are credited with $23.56 per hour towards our per capita minimum investment.  What a deal! Increase your home's chances for survival in the event of a Pine Mountain wildfire and help us reach our per capita annual investment goal for being a FIREWISE community!  Time well spent for each of us!

And if you have a neighbor who needs help with spring clean-up chores around their home, please help them by pitching in to improve their FIREWISE safety as well.

Thank you for your interest in this effort and let us all pray for a safe and fire-free season here on the mountain!


Program Requires:

  • Complete a community assessment
  • Form a Firewise board or committee in order to accept the assessment, create an action plan and monitor activity.
  • Hold a Firewise Day event
  • Invest at least $2/capita annually in community mitigation activities
  • Complete and submit a program application

Working Together:

Relying on physical and social science research

Residents learn how their homes ignite based on physical principles and thus how to modify their surrounding to reduce ignition risks.  Social science principles helps program leaders and advocates use effective risk communication and behavior change techniques to ensure that individuals and organizations in a diverse society can receive important safety messages and act upon them.


Keep an eye out on Pine Mountain's Facebook page for all FIREWISE activities!