Wildfires are not just a danger in the west. The can, and do, strike close to home. As our communities sprawl into wooded or brushy areas, the dangers from wildfires increases. The Missouri conservation department is developing a Firewise Communities program to help people protect themselves.
The department’s Bruce Palmer says homes in Missouri just as susceptible to wild fires as are homes int he west, especially homes in urban interfeace areas–places where tall grass, brush, and trees are around structures whether they are farms or subdivisions, or sometimes inside communities.
The program teaches homeowners and community leaders how to protect their property . He says a house can survive a wildfire if the fire department can’t get there by using fire-resistant construcation materials and clearing brush and trees away from the buildings.
The department is using a grant from the United States Forest Service to designate at least one Firewise Community in each of the department’s four forestry regions. But Palmer says communities–whether they are entire towns or whether they are just parts of towns–that want to launch the program on their own can count on the department to tell them how to do it.