Community members are dependent on each other in many ways -- we work together to build and repair infrastructure, strengthen schools, and protect resources. Reducing wildfire hazards also requires a community-level approach because when it comes to wildfire, a weak link can put an entire community in jeopardy.

Homes (building materials and design) and surrounding vegetation or other fuels (e.g., wood piles) are a "package deal" (see photo below) -- you cannot reduce your overall fire hazard without addressing both. In addition, across a neighborhood or community, wildfire hazards on one parcel can impact neighboring parcels.

The good news is that even in highly fire-prone areas, there are steps that communities can take to reduce wildfire hazards. Completing a community-wide hazard assessment and communicating the results with homeowners is one way to help prioritize hazard reduction activities (see an example).

This can be done in combination with an evaluation of larger-scale wildfire hazards like nearby wildlands or other hazard reduction strategies such as fuel breaks. While there are other approaches to wildfire hazard assessment out there, this one represents our best understanding of how structures burn during wildfires and focuses on things that individuals can do to protect themselves and their communities.

Next => What do we need to do an assessment?