EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
An educated public is a safe public.
Veldfires are becoming ever more frequent and increased annual temperatures have impacted on the occurrence and spread of fires. At the same time, there is a growth in urban populations within areas prone to fires.
There is a need to budget and prepare for fire awareness projects in areas of concern. The focus of the projects should be on areas of high risk.
Communities residing in every Wildland-Urban interface will vary and any awareness campaign needs to be tailored specifically for that community. Campaigns should also have clear objectives, opportunities for feedback, and importantly, be part of a greater and integrated management plan.
FIREWISE COMMUNITIES PROJECT
Empower interested communities.
The FireWise Communities Programme was initiated in 2005 in South Africa as a multi-stakeholder advocacy and awareness platform, able to interact directly with communties at risk from wildfires, aiming to change public and community behaviour, and reduce unwanted ignitions to limit the frequency of damaging wildfires.
FireWise concepts are fully integrated with the aim to promote Integrated Fire Management, international accepted principles of Community-Based Fire Management and broader environmental duty-of-care goals.
The overall objective of the FireWise Communities Programme is to empower interested communities to take responsibility for reducing the risk of uncontrolled fires in their areas. This is achieved by using the collaborative FireWise planning process to transfer knowledge and skills on wildfire prevention, protection and response.
Effective partnerships can resolve community challenges in hazardous Wildland-Urban Interface areas. Benefits include sharing of ideas, expertise, and knowledge, as well as sharing of fire protection responsibilities.