Many of our citizens live in the heavily forested areas of Bainbridge Island, areas the Department defines as the "Wildland/Urban Interface".  Dry summer weather and lack of rainfall bring danger from wildfire to homes nestled in close proximity to the trees and brush or on hillsides.  Evaluating the risk of losing your home to wildfire before it strikes and taking appropriate steps to protect your home and family is important.  Create defensible space around your home to create a sufficient buffer to slow or halt the spread of fire.  When planning your risk reduction projects, start at the house itself and then move into the landscaping ignition zones.  Learn how to reduce risk in the Home Ignition Zones.
Some additional steps that can prevent or minimize your exposure to wildfire are:
  • Post your address numbers so the Fire Department can easily locate your property.
  • If you see branches on or near power lines, call Puget Sound Energy to have them removed.
  • Have two alternate escape routes from your property, one by car and one by foot.
  • Provide access to fire apparatus by trimming back vegetation alongside your driveway.
  • Clear an area of ten feet around propane tanks and barbeques.  
  • Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.  Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
  • Trim low-hanging branches on trees to prevent a ground fire from spreading upward.
  • Clean debris from your roof and gutters.
  • Pre-connect garden hoses with nozzles to all exterior water outlets.
  • Install fire-resistant roofing.  Burning embers that fall from above are a leading cause of structure fires that start as a result of a wildfire.
  • Provide fire apparatus with access to any water supplies that might be available on your property or nearby, such as fire hydrants, swimming pools, creeks, lakes and ponds.
  • Stack firewood a minimum of fifty feet from your home.

The Firewise Community Program

Brush, grass and forest fires don't have to be disasters. NFPA's Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Firewise is a key component of Fire Adapted Communities – a collaborative approach that connects all those who play a role in wildfire education, planning and action with comprehensive resources to help reduce risk. Is your home Firewise?

Watch this video to learn a straightforward and practical way to protect your home from wildfire.

Why was the Bainbridge Island Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) created? The CWPP (2010) was created to solve a problem:  How do we maintain the amenities of our region's natural beauty while minimizing the risk of a wildfire disaster?  Developing a CWPP is the first step toward more extensive mitigation efforts.