Liz Jessee, Interim Director
Mill Creek Defensible Space Hazard Mitigation Grant
Walla Walla County Emergency Management received a $122,000 Fire Defensible Space Hazard Mitigation Project Grant from the Washington State Emergency Management Division. This grant is provided to Walla Walla County Emergency Management for fire threat assessments and vegetative debris removal to reduce the wildfire hazard within the Fire Defensible Space Project area. The project area is the Southeastern portions of Walla Walla County were residents are at risk of wildfires.
Walla Walla County Fire District #4 personnel will make onsite fire threat assessments of homes and cabins in the project area using Firewise guidelines starting July 3rd. The 2006 Wildfire Risk Assessment survey will be incorporated into the project, with emphasis given to home which rated 'High Hazard' and 'Extreme Hazard' in the 2006 survey.
Contractors will then be hired to clear vegetative debris as needed to create a fire defensible space on properties that want to participate in the project, at no cost to the property owner. Fire District #4 personnel will do a follow up fire threat assessment survey at the end of the project. Walla Walla County Emergency Management will do the grant financial management and provide quarterly performance reports to the Washington State Emergency Management Division.
The project is outlined in detail HERE.
WILDFIRE RISK ASSESSMENT OF THE WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE
(WILDFIRE VULNERABILITY STUDY)
The Emergency Management Preparedness Assistance Grant (EMPAG) program was authorized by the Washington State Legislature in the State Fiscal Year 2007 budget. Walla Walla County received a portion of this grant from Washington State to conduct a Wildland Fire Risk and Hazard Severity Assessment covering a portion of the county.
In the fall of 2006, Walla Walla County Emergency Management Department (WWCEM) contracted with Gunner Fulmer, City of Walla Walla firefighter, to conduct the survey. The purpose of the assessment was to determine where, if any, high-risk wildfire areas are located by conducting a structure-by-structure survey examining certain risk factors.
Only the foothills area of Walla Walla County was surveyed to determine the risk in the area of the county where development meets wildland.
Prior to initiation of the survey a news release was completed advising residents of the upcoming survey. A flyer was developed and distributed where possible.
With the help of Walla Walla County GIS, WWCEM established a list of 487 potential structures in the identified area. Of the 487 structures identified in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), 52 were not surveyed due to properties being inaccessible (gated properties or the owner denied permission to survey) or due to the surveyor being unable to locate a structure. The result was that a total of 435 structures were surveyed:
Brush, grass or forest fires don’t have to be disasters. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise Communities program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and other in the effort to protect people and property from wildfire risks.
The program is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.
To save lives and property from wilfire, NFPA’s Firewise Comunities program teaches people how to adapt to living with wilfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses. We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and each other from the risk of wildfire.
Please click HERE to view Firewise Communities videos, including:
~ Becoming a Firewise Community
~ Making your Home FIrewise (recommended viewing)
~ Home Improvements: A Firewise Approach
~ Wildfire: Prevent Home Ignition
~ Get Social: Join Firewise on its Social Media Sites
~ WIldfire prevention PSA: Everyone's Responsibility
~ Preparig for a wildfire PSA: The difference from Firewise.org