February 28, 2011-- The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Firewise Communities program today announced the 2010 Firewise Leadership Award winners, recognizing the most significant local efforts in safeguarding people and communities from the threat of wildfire.
“Firewise congratulates and thanks the Leadership Awards winners for their commitment to wildfire safety,” said Michele Steinberg, manager of the NFPA Firewise Communities program. “Our seven honorees are excellent examples of the countless individuals and groups working to do their part to help save lives and reduce their communities’ risk of wildfire damage.”
The following 2010 recipients of NFPA’s Firewise Leadership Awards were selected based on their impact at the local, state-wide and regional levels. The winners’ achievements include the efforts of an Arkansas college student to organize six Firewise Communities, local coalitions working across county lines to share wildfire best practices, a community that has made Firewise a way of life and state agencies working to reduce wildfire risk with Firewise principles.
Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, Calif. (FSCNC)
The Council is recognized for its collective effort to incorporate Firewise principles in local wildfire preparedness programs and spread the word to other at-risk communities. The Council’s board represents a cross-section of the Nevada County community including homeowners, an insurance agent, realtor, an industrial timber producer, members of The Sierra Club, Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, a registered professional forester, local fire chief’s representatives, Cal Fire, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Federation of Neighborhood Associations. The Council regularly works with other area Fire Safe Councils to share program models and best practices to further reduce wildfire fuel in neighboring counties. Their assistance to Placer, Sierra and Yuba counties has increased regional efforts to reduce wildfire damage. In the last two years, FSCNC was instrumental in Lake Wildwood, Banner Mountain, Mountain Lake Estates and Lake of the Pines earning Firewise Community designation.
State level winners:
David Yegge, fire fuels program coordinator, Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District, Calif.
In his five years as Fire Fuels Program Coordinator for Big Bear Lake, Yegge has spearheaded a robust wildfire mitigation program in partnership with several local and county government agencies to implement Firewise principles. The efforts led by Yegge have removed 25,000 dead trees, assisted land owners in thinning trees and shrubs on their properties and implemented a wood shingle replacement program. Yegge also secured defensible space grants for elderly, disabled and low income communities, and has developed a media campaign to promote defensible space with a series of public service announcements, advertisements, speaking engagements and a local resource website, www.Thinisin.org.