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Firewise Training Materials for Wildfire Hazard Assessment Now Available Online

“Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone” training course continues in 2008

QUINCY, Mass. – This fall’s tragic fires in Southern California are a reminder of the critical need for residents and communities located in the wildland/urban interface (WUI) to understand and mitigate their wildfire risk. As communities prepare for next year’s wildfire season, the national Firewise Communities program workshop series has announced that materials from the “Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone” (HIZ) course are now available online for wildfire educators to host their own workshops. National program staff also are available to lead the course for a fee.

The workshop series focuses on how to identify the risks and help residents and communities reduce their wildfire vulnerability. The course continues to be a valuable tool for planners, landscapers, and fire and forestry professionals.

In addition to the online offering, Firewise has announced the dates and locations of the 2008 HIZ workshop series that will be led by the national program. Firewise hosted five successful workshops in 2007—from Florida to Oregon—that proved to be timely, useful, and provided significant information for the participants.

“In the past five years I have presented the HIZ course to hundreds of individuals, ranging from residents to wildland fire professionals with twenty or more years of experience,” said Pat Durland, vice president, Wildfire Programs, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. “The information in this course provides trainees with a basic knowledge of how wildfires ignite structures, what to expect during a wildfire, and actions that will reduce the risk of loss while maintaining the beauty and sustainability of their homes, communities, and wildland ecosystems.”

The two-day workshop addresses ways that homes and landscapes can be modified to become more resistant to wildfire. 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.

Workshop materials are available online in the Wildland/Urban Interface Catalog on the Firewise web site at www.firewise.org. Materials for purchase include:

• Instructor Package:
  o Printed version of a slide presentation packed with instructor notes
  o Class exercises and simulation activities
  o CD that includes an electronic presentation with video clips and resource materials
  o DVD with three individual videos for use during the workshop

• Student Package:
  o Student Workbook, packed with information covering W/UI fire, the home ignition zone, and how to assess wildfire hazards in the HIZ
  o Q & A and simulation exercises
  o Student Handout Booklet containing the instructor slide presentation with space to take notes
  o Sample Firewise materials that discuss the home ignition zone, landscape zones, and becoming a Firewise community

The 2008 HIZ Workshop series will take place at the following locations:
  Sacramento, CA – February 19-20
  Ontario, CA – March 18-19
  Little Rock, AR – May 20-21
  Charleston, WV – June 17-18
  Tampa, FL – November 4-5 (Pre-conference workshop prior to the 2008 Firewise “Backyards and Beyond Conference”)

For more information about the course and to register online, visit www.firewise.org/hizworkshop.

The national Firewise Communities program is an interagency program designed to encourage local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire. The Firewise Communities program is sponsored by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s Wildland/Urban Interface Working Team, a consortium of wildland fire agencies that includes the USDA Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Emergency Management Association, the US Fire Administration, the National Association of State Fire Marshals, the National Fire Protection Association, and state forestry organizations. For more information, visit www.firewise.org.

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