A population of more than 6 ½ million people resides in Massachusetts. Awareness of wildfire threat, its potential loss to the homeowner and our citizenry, and how to better prepare and prevent it is a high priority.
Initiatives for Public Education:
- Prevention and education programming to increase public awareness on the prevention and hazards of wildfires to youth groups, outdoor interest groups, parades, schools, fairs and community events; Use of Smokey Bear and prevention / education instruction and material handouts; appearance at highly populated and visible events such as the Eastern States Exposition’s Big E, Topsfield, Barnstable County and other like fairs; attendance at professional affairs such as the New England Association of Fire Chiefs’ Fire Expo.
- Cooperation with local fire departments to accomplish same.
- Signage program and other prevention efforts in cooperation with the Volunteer Fire Departments thru the Volunteer Fire Assistant grant program; assist to towns with under 10,000 population by making available fire training methods, safety equipment, fire fighting supplies and communications networks. The VFA grant encourages dry hydrant installation and use of wildfire personal protective equipment; this grant has allowed us to post wildfire danger signs in highly visible locations throughout the entire state; the daily fire danger threat urges caution during the open burn permit season and other periods of high fire danger.
- Promotion of Wildfire Awareness Week ~ third full week of April ~ by Governor Proclamation, news media and prevention programming; very important as it falls at the end of the open burn season when spring fire weather behavior is very active and families engage in increased outdoor recreational pursuits and homeowner clean up of winter forestry debris during the state’s spring school vacation week.
Pre-suppression Activities - efforts to control potential fire hazards
Fire road maintenance, fire observation tower use, prescription burning, fuel mitigation practices, fire readiness and fire breaks, encouragement to towns to embrace Firewise practices; use of wildfire simulator models to teach WUI safe practices.
Initiatives for pre-suppression activities:
- Southeast Massachusetts is a wildland urban interface (where the forest land encroaches the residential space) concern because of its highly flammable and predominantly scrub oak/pitch pine fuel type, its density and that of the population which poses a high risk to wildfire loss. Pre-suppression activities in these communities may include:
a. Home assessments
b. Meet with Planning boards, Conservation Commissions, Fire Departments, active community interest groups
c. Development of Community Wildfire Prevention Plans in high risk communities
- Prescription burning (application of fire ignited by management actions to meet specific objectives with a written, approved prescribed fire plan in place prior to ignition)
- Hazard fuel mitigation efforts on state lands
- Fire observation towers manned during spring/fall fire season and other periods of high fire activity
- Wildfire simulator models used in public arena and at fire department training
- Monitor/Response to trends as per Fire Reporting analysis
Relationships With Partners
Continuous development and cooperation with our partners to reach prevention and preparedness goals.
Initiatives for relationships with partners:
Bureau Cooperative Services, local fire departments, the Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission Compact, USDA Forest Service, Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program; Federal Excess Personal Property Program, Cooperative Forest Fire Protection, Massachusetts Forest Fire Council, Massachusetts Army Air National Guard, Massachusetts Fire Academy, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Emergency and Natural Disaster Assistance, State Fire Assistance programming, Long Island Fire Academy, sister agencies, National Weather Service, North East Coordination Center and many other public interest groups.