What is Firewise?

firewise groupFirewise USA is a national program hosted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA

Firewise USA is a framework that helps neighbors work together in a community to reduce wildfire risk, through education and collaboration. Local Fire Safe Councils in the South Bay area promote the Firewise USA recognition process as a way for communities in the WUI (Wildland-Urban Interface) to reduce their wildlfire risk.  This includes education pieces for helping neighbors to work together on defensible space, home hardening, evacuation planning and more. 

What are the benefits?

Community wildfire risk can be reduced by neighbors working together.

Participation is voluntary.

Increases good will with first responders, providing safer access

Increases community communication, collaboration and emergency preparedness

Potential consideration by home insurance companies (USAA and Mercury)

Potential access to grant money

What is the process?

Six steps to becoming Firewise USA recognized for the first year:

  1. Form a steering committee with a few proactive neighbors
  2. Collect neighborhood data for a Community Risk Assessment, and complete the assessment with input from a local a Fire Professional.
  3. Prepare a Multi-Year Plan, using observations from the Community Risk Assessment and neighborhood priorities
  4. Complete one community education event related to wildfire risk reduction
  5. Meet the minimum community investment criteria (1 hour or $25 per household for the year)
  6. Create a Firewise USA portal account, complete and submit your application.

How do FireSafe Councils help?

Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County is an all volunteer organization. We seek to support communities interested in the Firewise USA process in these ways:

  1. Provide a “Why Go Firewise” community presentation to help start the process
  2. Provide email support and coaching, as time permits
  3. Online resources for education
  4. Potential to network with leaders from other Firewise communities

To request assistance, please inquire at

groupFirewise USA Recognized Communities in Santa Cruz County

Aptos Area
Redwood Drive/Cathedral (2020)
Viewpoint Road (2021)

Santa Cruz Mountains (including Bonny Doon)
Las Cumbres (2019)
Riva Ridge (2019)
Sunset Ridge Road (2019)
Marty Road (2020)
Terrace Grove (2020)
Bird Streets (2021) - Bonny Doon
Ellen Roads (2021)
Hutchinson Road (2021)
Westdale Firewise (2021) - Bonny Doon

San Lorenzo Valley
TangleWood Neighborhood (2020) - Felton
Forest Lakes (2021) – Felton
Lost Acre-Valhalla (2021) – Felton

Santa Cruz Environs
Prospect Heights (2019)
Paradise Park (2019)
Highland/Hillcrest Terrace (2020)
Western Drive
B40FirewiseCharlie (2021)
Santa Cruz Gardens (2021)

 More Resources

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