The Firewise program equips homeowners and community leaders with the information they need to help design, construct, landscape and maintain homes and communities to better withstand wildfires. This program is for anyone living in or connected to the Wildland Urban Interface. Firewise principles are based on National Fire Protection Association guidelines.
How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfires
- Home Ignition Zones
Limiting the amount of flammable vegetation, choosing fire-resistant building materials and construction techniques, along with periodic exterior maintenance in the three home ignition zones increases the chances your home will survive a wildfire when exposed to embers and/or a surface fire. The zones include the Immediate Zone: 0 to 5 feet around the house; Intermediate Zone: 5 to 30 feet; and the Extended Zone: 30 to 100 feet.
- Landscaping and Maintenance
To reduce ember ignitions and fire spread, trim branches that overhang the home, porch and deck and prune branches of large trees up to (depending on height) 6 to 10 feet from the ground. Remove plants containing resins, oils and waxes and ensure mulches in the Immediate Zone are non-combustible options like crushed stone or gravel. Maintain vegetation annually.
- Roofing and Vents
Class A fire-rated roofing products offer the best protection. Examples include: composite shingles, metal, concrete and clay tiles. Inspect shingles or roof tiles and replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration. Box in eaves, but provide ventilation to prevent condensation and mildew. Roof and attic vents should be screened to prevent ember entry.
- Decks and Porches
Never store flammable materials underneath decks or porches. Remove dead vegetation and debris from under decks and porches and between deck board joints.
- Siding and Windows
Embers can collect in small nooks and ignite combustible materials. Radiant heat from flames can crack windows. Use fire-resistant siding such as brick, fiber-cement, plaster or stucco and dual-pane tempered glass windows.
- Emergency Responder Access
Ensure your home and neighborhood has legible and clearly marked street names and numbers. Driveways should be at least 12 feet wide with a vertical clearance of 15 feet for emergency vehicle access.
- Store firewood away from the home
- Mow lawn regularly
- Prune low-hanging tree branches
- Landscape with fire-resistant plants
- Create small firebreaks with hardscaping features
Firewise workshops and/or field days are one-day events that bring together citizens, business, and community leaders involved in planning, financing, building, sustaining and protecting homes and communities in the wildland urban interface. This is an experience where participants learn about why homes burn, various wildland fuel reduction techniques, and how to assess the fire danger of their own home.
Firewise workshops are free events, however, pre-registration is required. Meals, refreshments and workshop materials will be provided.
Types of Firewise Events and their CFE/CEU/CLE and other Professional Credits
How to Have a Firewise Home
This event is approximately half a day in length and covers the basics principles of Firewise in Mississippi. This event is approximately half a day in length and covers the basics principles of Firewise in Mississippi. The following CFE/CEU/CLE are given for this event: Registered Forester, 2 hrs of category II; Certified Loggers, 2 hrs of category II; Realtors, 3 hrs Elective Real Estate Course, Approval Code 10181; Structural Firefighter, Certificate of Attendance, 2 hrs; credit is not available for Teachers and Professional Disciplines.This event is approximately half a day in length and covers the basics principles of Firewise in Mississippi.
Firewise Awareness Field Day
This event is slightly longer than the How To Have A Firewise Home event. The additional time is taken to view a sample of three fuel reduction technique. The following CFE/CEU/CLE are given for this event: Registered Forester, 3 hrs of category II; Certified Loggers, 2 hrs of category I and 1 hour of category II; Realtors, 3 hrs Elective Real Estate Course, Approval Code 10182; Structural Firefighter, Certificate of Attendance, 3 hrs; credit is not available for Teachers and Professional Disciplines.
Living On The Edge (LOTE)
LOTE workshops are all-day events. All stakeholders are invited but strong emphasis is placed on Community Leaders. LOTE is a community education program developed in response to the increasing number of families moving to rural areas. Stakeholders living in the wildland/urban interface (WUI) need to understand the issues involved in living safely on the edge. Through interactive exercises, participants identify potential wildfire risks encountered while living in the WUI. These exercises include evaluating, then modifying, an existing community and designing a new community, all of which incorporate Firewise principles. The following CFE/CEU/CLE are given for this event: Registered Forester, 4 hrs of category II; Certified Loggers, 4 hrs of category II; Realtors, 3 hrs Elective Real Estate Course, Approval Code 10180; Structural Firefighter, Certificate of Attendance, 4 hrs; Teachers, 0.6 CEU’s from Mississippi College and Professional Disciplines, 0.7 CEU’s from National Fire Protection Association.
Current Firewise Sites
City of Batesville, Batesville, Panola County
Blackland Volunteer. Fire Dept., Booneville, Prentiss County
City of Booneville, Booneville, Prentiss County
City of Yazoo City, Yazoo City, Yazoo County
Town Ethel, Ethel, Attala County
Town of Gloster, Gloster, Amite County
City of Iuka, Iuka, Tishomingo County
Lake Hillsdale POA ( Property Owners Association INC), Lumberton,
Town of Pelahatchie, Pelahatchie, Rankin County
City of Sardis, Sardis, Panola County
Town of Scooba, Scooba, Kemper County
Town of Snow Lake Shores, Ashland, Benton County
Town of Decatur, Decatur, Newton County
Town of Kossuth, Kossuth, Alcorn County
Town of Walnut Grove, Walnut Grove, Leake County
Contact the MFC to learn how to make your community Firewise.
More Information on Firewise
Visit the National Firewise website for additional information.
To get started with planning a Firewise event in Mississippi, contact:
MFC Firewise Coordinator