Wildfire Hazard Resources

Kentucky Division of Forestry Technical Assistance

The Kentucky Division of Forestry provides urban forestry technical assistance to municipalities, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions and private landowners.  The focus of the urban forestry program is to help communities develop long-term, self-sustaining urban forestry programs.  Urban and community forestry is an increasingly familiar term in our large cities and small rural towns. Urban forests are the trees outside our front doors.  

More than one-half of Kentuckians live in or near and urban setting. 

The division also assists with tree board formation and support, the development of tree ordinances, Arbor Day planning and Tree City USA technical support and application assistance.  Through these efforts, the program creates healthier, more livable environments in our cities and towns across Kentucky.

Learn more about Urban Forestry, link here

 


View the recorded webinar here.


Firewise Your Home and Community

Kentucky Firewise logo

To learn how to “Firewise” your home and community and how to establish a Firewise Council visit the National Firewise Web site.

graphic of a firewise home

Wildfire Fuel Reduction Using Goat and Sheep Grazing Can Be Funded By FEMA

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, and Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant programs have provided funding for wildfire mitigation involving goat and sheep grazing. Since 1994, FEMA has obligated nearly $15 million for goat and sheep grazing mitigation activities.

One of the best ways to control wildfires is to implement vegetation management strategies to control the amount of fuel available to feed the flames. These actions help enable an effective and efficient preparedness and recovery strategy. In certain cases, areas can be difficult to reach by vegetation management equipment due to the nature of the terrain–rocks, canyons, and steep inclines. In these areas, the introduction of goat herds has proven to be an ideal solution to the problem.

Fuel reduction by goat grazing is more widely accepted than chemical and mechanical alternatives because it offers a solution that supports sustainability. Another added benefit to the program is the cost, which can be considerably lower than other methods available.

Not only can goat herds support prevention of wildfires, but according to Utah State University, goats can be used for a variety of other land management purposes, such as rangeland improvement, riparian and watershed management, improving wildlife habitat, and reducing nutrient competition in tree plantations.

In 1995 Laguna Beach, Calif. applied for and received a grant from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for $396,000 to fund a goat grazing program. The goats worked exclusively on 11 fuel modification zones located on the outside edges of the city. Since California weather allows it, the goats could work year-round and just be moved from place- to-place as needed. Learn more. A number of states, including Nevada and Utah, use the same strategy to reduce fuels in their wildland urban interface areas.

Learn more about fuels reduction and wildfire mitigation funding offered by FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs.


FEMA Releases Eight New Guidance Publications About Wildfire

On Dec. 30, 2021, the Marshall Fire swept through the City of Louisville, the Town of Superior, and unincorporated Boulder County. The fire burned across exceptionally dry grassland, fanned by hurricane-force winds, resulting in the most destructive fire in state history, destroying and damaging more than 1,000 homes and over 30 commercial structures. The damage to communities resulting from the combination of these hazards (i.e., drought, wind, and wildfire) demonstrated the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to wildfire mitigation.

FEMA’s Building Science Disaster Support Program (BSDS) deployed its first-ever wildfire Mitigation Assessment Team (MAT) to evaluate building performance during the fire. Team members evaluated components and systems of primarily residential structures to determine the effectiveness of various building materials, design, and construction practices for wildfire resiliency.

The team used the information gathered to evaluate how wildfire-urban interface (WUI) building codes and standards and how design, construction, and defensible space practices can be improved to increase community wildfire resilience.

FEMA has released eight new wildfire publications to assist planners, local land management personnel, builders, and property owners in how to identify how wildfires interact with other natural hazards and strategies to mitigate wildfire and post-wildfire impacts.

Covers of the eight MAT products

  • Marshall Fire MAT: Mitigation Strategies to Address Multi-Hazard Events
  • The information in this document can be used to guide the incorporation of site-based wildfire mitigation strategies into planning, community siting and zoning requirements. This document can also guide the adoption of proactive planning, development and maintenance strategies that can minimize future risk of multi-hazard events.
  • Marshall Fire MAT: Best Practices for Wildfire-Resilient Subdivision Planning 
  • This document provides builders/contractors, planning professionals, Homeowners Associations, and local land resource managers with information about wildfire resiliency planning and open-space management policies, best practices, and procedures at subdivision- and neighborhood scales.
  • Decreasing Risk of Structure-to-Structure Fire Spread in a Wildfire
  • The purpose of this document is to provide recommendations to contractors and designers on new building construction that may prevent or slow the spread of a fire from structure-to-structure in densely spaced neighborhoods.
  • Wildfire-Resilient Detailing, Joint Systems and Interfaces of Building Components
  • This document provides information on ways to reduce the vulnerability of residential structures to wildfire ignition due to windborne embers, hot gases, and flames penetrating common detailing joints and building component interfaces that exist throughout the exterior envelope of a building. While the primary focus of this document is to provide guidance on retrofitting existing residential homes, many of the recommendations for increasing wildfire resiliency of common details, joint systems, and building component interfaces would also be applicable to new construction and commercial buildings.
  • Homeowner’s Guide to Reducing Wildfire Risk Through Defensible Space
  • This document provides homeowners with steps they can take now to protect their homes from loss or damage from wildfires due to vulnerabilities introduced by surrounding landscaping and other exterior features (e.g., outbuildings, sheds, furniture, and trash bins) within the homeowner’s property. The goal is to increase homeowner awareness of the key mechanisms and characteristics of Wildfire and the Wildland Urban Interface fires that can result in home ignition.
  • Homeowner’s Guide to Reducing Risk of Structure Ignition from Wildfire
  • This document provides homeowners with steps they can take now to decrease the likelihood their homes will ignite due to direct flame contact, ember intrusion, or hot gases from wildfires at various physical vulnerabilities throughout the exterior envelope of the house. Specifically, it provides information about some measures that homeowners can take to address vulnerabilities at joints, gaps, vents, and attachments such as decks and fences.
  • Homeowner’s Guide to Risk Reduction and Remediation of Residential Smoke Damage
  • The purpose of this document is to provide recommendations to homeowners for pre-wildfire measures to help reduce the risk of smoke damage and do-it-yourself steps that homeowners can take to remediate light to moderate smoke damage. This document also includes recommendations for selecting and monitoring a professional cleaning services contractor for heavy smoke damage.
  • Mitigation Assessment Team Report: Marshall Fire Building Performance, Observations, Recommendations, and Technical Guidance (FEMA P-2320)
  • The objective of this MAT report is to provide actionable recommendations to improve residential building performance under wildfire conflagration conditions. It describes the MAT’s observations during the field deployments, draws conclusions based on those observations, and provides recommendations for actions that property owners can take to help increase the resiliency of their homes and neighborhoods to future wildfires. It also provides recommendations that local government officials, planners, builders, design professionals, and homeowners’ associations can implement to reduce the potential impacts of wildfires on communities and improve their resilience.

These guidance documents are important for moving forward, as the landscape is continuously evolving due to climate change and putting more communities at risk. With the work that FEMA has put in, the intent is that these documents can also guide the adoption of proactive planning, development and maintenance strategies that can minimize future risk of multi-hazard events.

For additional information, please visit: www.fema.gov/bsds


Prevent Foodborne Illness After Wildfires

Fires are serious threats to life and property.  Four main factors can impact food exposed to fire:

  1. The heat of the fire
  2. Smoke fumes
  3. Chemicals used to fight the fire
  4. Power outages affecting refrigeration

Though foods may appear fine after being near a fire, they can be unsafe and endanger your health.

  • Bacteria can contaminate foods exposed to flames or smoke fumes.
  • Chemical fumes can penetrate through packaging such as canned goods, jars and plastic.
  • If refrigerators or freezers aren’t sealed airtight, food can spoil.
  • Firefighting chemicals are poisonous and can harm foods.

Know what steps to take that help protect you and your family from foodborne illness during an evacuation and after a wildfire.

 


Protecting Your Home

Reducing Wildfire Risk to Your Home Infographic

Do you live in or near a forest?  If you do, then you live in the wildland urban interface and your home has an increased risk of being destroyed by wildland fire.

There are many simple steps you can take to reduce the wildfire risk to your property.  Please refer to the following fact sheets for detailed information about Firewise practices that could save your home:

This assessment guide will help you determine if your home is Firewise:

Kentucky Division of Forestry’s Woodland Home Wildfire Hazard Assessment 

 


Protecting Your Community

Kentucky’s Firewise program is a unique opportunity available to Kentucky’s fire-prone communities.  The program adapts especially well to small communities, developments and residential associations of all types. 

Please refer to the following guides for information about defensible space, Firewise landscaping, vehicular access, controlling open burning, community action planning and much more:

A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) enables a community to plan in advance for the possibility of a community threatening wildfire.  The CWPP helps to empower communities to organize, plan, educate and take action on wildfire issues that impact community safety.  

Link to the Community Wildfire Protection Plan template.


 

Flood Risks Increase After Fires

Link to the Flood After Fire Fact Sheet.

 


 

Wildland Fire Resource Links

Link to a complete list of Forestry Publications

Wildland Fire Learning Portal


 

Other Resources

Kentucky Interagency Coordination Center

Kentucky Prescribed Fire Council

National Fire Protection Association

National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Wildland Fire Assessment System


 

 

 

 

 

Mitigation Matters!  

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