FIREWISE NEWS (September 2020) . . .

Congratulations and Happy 15th Year Anniversary to the Oracle Firewise Community!
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend  the 15-Year Firewise Community signage presentation by Aaron Casem, State Fire Prevention and Mitigation Officer with the AZ Dept. of Forestry and Fire Management. It is such a big deal, that Aaron drove in from Phoenix with the signs created by the NFPA and Barb Elliott and three other staff members of the Pinal County Emergency Management arrived from Florence for the presentation.
It was great to have most of the board members in attendance! Each one of you have contributed through the years to the success of Oracle’s Firewise program by giving of your precious time, developing innovative ideas to keep the program going and always focusing on the community’s safety. 
Kevin Armbrust has installed one of the new signs to the block post beneath the reader board in front of OFD. He will be installing the second sign adjacent to the forestry’s fire conditions sign at American Ave. and Mt. Lemmon Hwy. What a team! Hopefully, in the near future we will be able to again meet in person to continue our goals.


A little bit of history – some involved from the beginning, or near the beginning of the formation of Oracle Firewise, are still involved! Kate Horton was on the committee that formed the Oracle Firewise Community in 2005. Coming on board in 2006-2007 were Doug Johnson, Collins Cochran, Susie Cochran, Tina Acosta, Rachel Opinsky and Rob Walker who currently sits on the Oracle Fire Board.


• The Oracle Firewise Board was formed in 2005 with the goal of creating a nationally recognized Firewise community; to reach beyond the fire service by involving homeowners, community leaders, and others to protect residents, property and natural resources before a fire event starts.
• The goal is to have community individuals take responsibility for safer home design, construction, landscaping and maintenance which can reduce losses during a wildland fire.
• Besides creating a fire-safe community, national Firewise certification results in possible reduced home insurance rates, dependable insurance coverage and access to government grants and monies for Firewise projects.
• Firewise members do not participate in active firefighting.
• A community Firewise program is about
Planning, Preparedness and Education.

• Consists of performing property assessments for potential fire hazards by trained Firewise members and mapping the assessments for review by OFD.
• Assisting OFD by providing clear access to local fire hydrants, seeking grants to provide smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to residents as well as ensuring proper installation and use instructions, and participating in evacuation planning for the community.  
• Funds from the Firewise brush dump purchased and maintain an Emergency Notification System (ENS), a type of Reverse 911, which trained Firewise or Cert volunteers can activate for emergency purposes, when needed.

Firewise members attend community events by providing information booths at local community events and forums, where Firewise pamphlets and in-home reminders are distributed. Firewise members also teach Firewise programs to local schools and participate in local Fire Prevention Week activities.
They maintains the OFD website with informational topics and tips related to the OFD, CERT and Firewise programs. They organize local neighborhood meetings within the community to inform residents of Firewise program and goals.  
• Grants: OFD assists the Firewise program by procuring and managing State and Federal grants for brush clearing within the fire district, as well as along major evacuation routes, to establish and maintain fire breaks around the Fire District.
• Brush Dump: OFD provides and maintains a brush dump as incentive for residents to clean-up their properties. The revenues are used primarily to cover all expenses associated with the brush dump but are also used to support community Firewise and CERT programs within the OFD Fire District. Additionally, brush dump funds have provided AED units to local schools and several non-profit organizations in the Oracle community.



TEN-YEAR FIREWISE BOARD ANNIVERSARY – On Sept. 23, 2014, our Oracle Firewise Board was recognized by the AZ State Forestry office for being an active and contributing board for ten years. Shown below is the award being presented by Carrie Dennett, Arizona State Fire Information, Prevention, and Mitigation Officer at Arizona State Forestry Division along with Firewise co-chairs Rachel Opinsky and Holt Bodinson.
The award itself is an engraved crystal sculpture in the shape of a flame. It's a great testament to the men and women who have served over the years on the Firewise Board as well as to the professional staff of the Oracle Fire Department, our state and federal partners and most of all, to the involved and responsible property owners of Oracle. The anniversary sculpture is on display at the office if you would like to stop by and see it. Congratulations!
10 year fwgroup-oct

National FIrewise Board Banner – presented to us in 2010
for our status in being "a recognized firewise community
since 2005." We will display it at many of our functions.

Holding the banner (from left to right) is Rachel Opinsky,
Joyce McRae, Albert Ortiz, Clare Grochocki, Kate Horton,
Frank Pierson, Charlotte Poole, Doug Johnson,
Judy Sparkman, and Tom Wetzel.

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The Oracle Community Firewise Mission (2017) is to reduce the potential for life and property losses from possible wildland-urban fires by providing property owners within Oracle Fire District (OFD) with the knowledge that the community of Oracle is situated in an urban-interface area at high risk of wildfire, as well as with the information and tools necessary to mitigate the risk associated with excess brush, trees and other home ignition sources on their respective properties.

The Firewise Board started in March 2005 by a group of volunteers. They created the Firewise Community Program designed to include homeowners, planners and developers, Arizona State Land and Coronado National Forest Service personnel. The goal of this program is to educate community members on how to protect people and property from the risk of wildfires before fire starts. As a result of this effort and with the assistance of the UA Cooperative Extension, we were declared a nationally-recognized firewise community from Firewise Communities USA.