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Wildfire Preparedness Day Coming to Raise Awareness and Create Action Plans within Communities

Smoke from fires in Garden Valley. by Janet Juroch

With snow on the ground and still in the middle of winter, it is hard to begin thinking about Wildfires. However, there is a day coming soon that gets communities, neighborhoods and HOA’s on board to clean up their areas to protect against a potential wildfire risk. This day, National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is Saturday, May 5th, 2018. There is time to gather information and be ready for this project.

Many of our subdivisions and communities in Boise County border on Forest Service land or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) property.  The risk is there for potential fires in the tree laden slopes of the county. The project, though it is a national day long program, it’s intentions are to bring people together to be proactive in keeping their homes and neighborhoods clean of debris that may increase fire damage should a wildfire come through.

Public education on this can be found at https://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/national-wildfire-community-preparedness-day.  Bob Showalter, Boise County Emergency Manager with Public Safety duties says, “Thanks to Dan Gasiorowski, the link could help a neighborhood or community with fire mitigation efforts.  On the county level, IDL grants have been made available and will be targeted toward the Clear Creek/Robie Creek areas that border Federal land.  I know the Grandjean summer home areas were talking about their area last summer. If anyone in the Lowman area can forward this to someone in the summer home area that would be great.”

Showalter adds, “There is also many other neighborhoods that could benefit but it would take a “community” effort in bringing a plan together. Probably best to use existing Home Owner Associations to get a project started.”  On the link there is a plethora of information of how to get started, five hundred-dollar awards to apply for and many tips. This could be a project for Youth Organizations or other groups that can get their project “on the map”.

Time commitment to a project can be whatever the neighborhood or community desires.  It could involve raking dead leaves off structures, cutting low hanging tree branches, cleaning under and around decks and finding safe storage of combustibles. The website will give many other ideas that can be usable, particularly for HOA’s.

Other projects can be for families to create emergency contingency plans and how they would communicate. There can be plans to set up if animals are involved.  Groups need to look at ways the neighbors can communicate information to each other. If cell phones don’t work, then plans need to be in place so that everyone know how to reach others.  The elderly need to have emergency information visible and easily accessible if someone needs to call a dispatcher for help.

Sometimes, as seen in California recently, minutes matter and The National Wildfire Preparedness Day gives time to figure out the needs of their area before fire season starts. The link above will have project ideas. Neighbors can come together to create a more protected neighborhood. The link also addresses other fire preparedness in homes, including smoke alarm information and escape plans. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when there is information out there to get started on projects.

Showalter says, “Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.” He is available at Cell: 208-807-0082, Alt Cell: 208-914-4011, Office: 208-392-4411 or email: rshowalter@co.boise.id.us. He hopes that this information is shared within communities to plan for the day designated on May 5th. There is time to formulate a project now before summer season begins.

Written by Janet Juroch

 

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