Edwards, Wells Recognized Nationally for Efforts to Reduce Wildfire Risks

Edwards, Wells Recognized Nationally for Efforts to Reduce Wildfire Risks

4 December 2008

published by www.dawsontimes.com

USA — John Edwards and Don Wells, of the Wildcat Community, Inc., received a Firewise Leadership Award recognizing their outstanding efforts in promoting a cooperative approach to reducing the loss of lives, property, and resources in the wildland/urban interface. The National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s (NWCG) Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Working Team announced the winners of the Firewise Leadership Awards Friday, Nov. 7, 2008, at the National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Education Conference, “Backyards and Beyond,” in Tampa, Florida.

The Firewise Leadership Awards are designed to honor individuals and organizations conducting wildland fire mitigation activities in residential developments in the wildland/urban interface. Winners were selected based on their service for Firewise at the local, state, and regional level. Edwards and Wells have been recognized for the efforts and successes the Wildcat Community, Inc. has enjoyed and for promoting Firewise Community throughout Georgia and the Southeast.

Edwards and Wells said, “Educating homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, and others in the effort to protect people, property, and natural resources from the risk of wildland fire has become essential. Property owners are the first line of defense against wildland fire. If we don’t protect ourselves by becoming FireWise, firefighters have very little chance of protecting us.”

The Wildcat Community, Inc., under the leadership of Edwards and Wells, has worked with local governments to establish a fire station and water storage in a rural mountain community that, until now, was without this service. They also have consulted with organizations and communities delivering the Firewise message throughout Georgia. “Leadership Award winners serve as a perfect example of how a little initiative can go a long way,” said Chief Will May, chair of the NWCG’s Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Working Team. “Firewise exists today with the help of this individual and group collaboration.”

In addition to recognizing the winners, the Firewise Leadership Awards program helps program administrators capture success stories and share best practices across the country, between all types of interests – public, private, and tribal. This year 20 individuals and organizations from across the country were nominated for their outstanding efforts.    

“This year’s winners run the gamut,” said Chief May. “From state officials to small non-profits, all of our winners possess the passion to help spread the message of the Firewise mission.”

Communities and residents interested in learning more about the Firewise Communities program may visit www.firewise.org, or contact The Georgia Forestry Commission.

The national Firewise Communities program is an interagency program designed to encourage local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire.

The Firewise Communities program is sponsored by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s Wildland/Urban Interface Working Team, a consortium of wildland fire agencies that includes the USDA Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Emergency Management Association, the US Fire Administration, the National Association of State Fire Marshals, the National Fire Protection Association, and state forestry organizations.

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