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AUBURN, Calif. — Heading into the 2021 fire season, Placer County still has one of the largest Firewise USA Communities networks in the state. Growing to 62 official Firewise Communities in 2021 with 62 more communities at various stages of formation, Placer County stands prepared for wildfire.

To receive Firewise certification, communities must complete a wildfire risk assessment, create a local plan to reduce wildfire risk, participate in education campaigns and take action to lower local wildfire risk.

“Wildfire safety not only is a priority among regional partners, but it takes a collaborative and continuous effort from local residents and neighborhoods,” said Placer County Office of Emergency Services Assistant Director Holly Powers. “Placer County Fire Safe Alliance is spearheading the way to educate individuals about how we can collectively make our region as fire safe as possible.”

The Firewise USA program, through the National Fire Protection Association, provides a collaborative framework for neighbors to reduce wildfire risks in their communities. It is designed to empower and engage residents living in wildfire-prone areas to develop a plan and take actions that can increase their home’s chances of surviving a wildfire, while also making it safer for firefighters and first responders.

The Placer County Fire Safe Alliance is a group of local, state and federal agencies and community partners, who support local Firewise Communities and fire safe councils throughout the county. Fire safe councils are grassroots, community-led organizations that mobilize residents to protect their homes, communities and environments from catastrophic wildfire. The majority of the fire safe council members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors or their local municipalities.

“As someone who lives in a fire-prone environment, the Placer County Fire Safe Alliance and Firewise Community Program empowered me with the tools to help make my neighborhood fire wise,” said Placer Firewise Communities coordinator Luana Dowling. “The alliance helps local communities to organize and educate, while working with local officials and first responders to protect the county we all love.”

For 2020, the Placer County Fire Safe Alliance reported that the Placer County fire safe councils and the 62 Firewise Communities completed 70,000 community service hours equaling $1,601,416 in work. They also hosted 69 virtual educational meetings and nine socially distanced fire safe events, invested $4,034,578 in Firewise home improvements, received $1,351,073 of granting funding; contributed $6,987,067 of wildfire risk reduction investment and cleared 152,261 cubic yards of potentially flammable debris throughout the county.

Learn more about the Placer County Fire Safe Alliance, Firewise Communities and fire safe councils here.