Firewise Program Offers Training on Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone

QUINCY, Mass. - As hundreds of homes in the U.S. continue to be lost to wildfire each year, the national Firewise Communities program is launching a series of workshops to teach planners, landscapers, and fire and forestry professionals how to identify the risks and - more importantly - help residents and communities become safer from the threat of wildfire.

The 2007 workshop series, "Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone," will address ways homes and landscapes can be modified to become more resistant to wildfire. The course is based on decades of fire science research into how homes ignite during wildfires. The Firewise Communities program designed the concepts of the "home ignition zone" - the home and its surroundings within 100 to 200 feet - based on models, experiments, and case studies by USDA Forest Service research scientist Jack Cohen.

According to wildland/urban interface (WUI) specialist Brian Ballou, the course "reveals the truths about how fires in WUI areas really work," adding that the course helps participants understand "that it's possible to make homes in the interface very resistant to damage or destruction from wildfire."

Over the two day course, workshop participants will learn about the myths and facts of fire in the WUI, the history and context of wildfire disasters, the science of wildfire behavior, risk factors in the home ignition zone, and how to conduct home inspections and hazard assessments. The course provides a student workbook and notebook including the instructor slide presentations, as well as the opportunity to practice home assessments in the classroom.

The workshops will be offered in five locations around the country: Portland, OR; Bloomington, MN.; Austin, TX; Denver, CO; and Tampa, FL. Registration for the workshop series is now open. For more information about the course and to register online, please visit