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Monday, March 19 2018 @ 06:13 AM AKDT

Be Firewise, Big Lake.

Community (Reposted from an earlier article).

Vlad K. submitted this: With the lengthening of the days, it's time to start considering ways to prepare for the coming Wildfire Season. These are the warm, dry days between the snow and ice melting, and the greening of Alaska. This article will look at ways to help you make your home, and your community, safe from wildfires.

What is FireWise?

FireWise is a program which helps people learn what they can do to protect their homes and families and live compatibly with wildfire. Homeowners are strongly encouraged to prepare before a wildfire.

Wildfires Happen, Be Prepared.

Defensible Space

Community Wildfire Protection Plan

In 2007 the Matanuska-Susitna Borough adopted a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) for its entire acreage. The Plan identifies community assets such as schools, fire stations, utilities and other important features which would be vulnerable to wildfire. Loss of such assets and features would be devastating to the community.  Hazardous vegetation areas which may fuel a wildfire are identified. Fuel reduction projects were also identified to help protect valuable and vulnerable assets.


This followed on the heels of the 2006 formation of the Horseshoe Lake Firewise Community, near Big Lake. They became the first Firewise Community in the State of Alaska. The community had lost many houses in the 1996 Miller's Reach Fire, which burned approximately 56 square miles as well as over 400 homes and outbuildings. In order to become recognized on the national level, part of their requirements were to create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). It was the first in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

The lessons learned and actions taken to create a true Firewise Community may be applied to other areas, both within Alaska and elsewhere.

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