Take Action! May is Wildfire Awareness Month

May 1, 2021 is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and the entire month of May is considered National Wildfire Awareness Month. The Virginia Department of Forestry is joining in to dedicate May to prevention and preparedness. 

Prevention and suppression of wildfires is a key part of the Virginia Department of Forestry’s (VDOF) mission; the agency achieves this through education, as well as responding to and suppressing wildfires. 

VDOF responders suppress more than 700 wildfires each year, protecting lives, forests and property. Fire can be an important component of healthy landscapes. But unplanned, unwanted wildfires especially in developed landscapes, fire can also be devastating, causing loss and harm to people and property. Managing fire in the landscape is critical to maintain healthy forestland and safe communities.

Smokey Bear says, “Repeat after me, ‘Only you … ” (1977). Special Collections, USDA National Agricultural Library.

Protecting the people and forests of Virginia is a concerted effort; VDOF works alongside many local paid and volunteer fire departments, state agencies such as the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, and national organizations like the National Interagency Fire Center and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Together, these partners work with and for the hundreds of thousands of citizens of the Commonwealth living in what is referred to as the Wildland Urban Interface or WUI – the zone where structures meet with woods or wildlands, which requires special consideration for wildfire protection and mitigation.

The responsibility to be aware and alert about the dangers of wildfire belongs to all of us every day – not just a few days in May. By May spring wildfire season is winding down in Virginia, so this is a good time us all to focus on wildfire prevention. There are steps all of us can take to both prevent wildfires from starting in the first place and to minimize the risk to our homes should a wildfire occur. 

Join our commitment to wildfire preparedness by agreeing to take on one project or task each week in May to help prevent a wildfire from starting or to help protect our homes and communities from the threat of wildfires.

Week One
Remember what Smokey Bear taught us: ONLY YOU can prevent wildfires.
Review Smokey’s rules.

Week Two
Debris burns are a common cause of wildfires in Virginia. Take time to learn about safe debris burning.
Safe Debris Burning
Brush Piles for Wildlife

Week Three
Take steps to protect your home and property from wildfire.
VDOF Home Wildfire Safety Checklist
Smokey Bear: How to Prepare Your Home for Wildfire

Week Four
Wildfire prevention goes beyond your backyard. Get your whole community involved in wildfire prevention.
Protect Your Home

Week Five
Share wildfire information with your friends and family! Start by sharing this short video about Wildfire Community Preparedness Day from NFPA.

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