Mobile Home Park Becomes 800th Firewise Communities Program

NFPA announced Oct. 26 that the new high was reached by the addition of Vansant Mobile Home Park #2 in Cullman County, Ala.

Vansant Mobile Home Park #2 in Cullman County, Ala., is the 800th community to earn recognition as a Firewise Communities/USA® site, meaning it has taken steps to protect residents from brush, grass, and forest fires. The National Fire Protection Association runs the Firewise Communities Program, and its Oct. 26 announcement said the mobile home park "is the first to showcase the efforts of a state forestry staffer whose commitment included her own investment in mitigation work on her property."

Coleen Vansant is Alabama's liaison to the national Firewise program and a public information manager with the Alabama Forestry Commission; NFPA said she inherited the mobile home park from her father. It abuts timber company land, and vegetation has begun to encroach on it, according to the announcement. "I had a resident who was behind on his rent," she said. "He wanted to work off his debt, and I knew we had a potential fire problem if the area around these properties was allowed to accumulate more fuel in the form of vegetation. He did a great job of clearing out the dead material and trimming back live plants so that they wouldn't pose a hazard to homes in the park."

The minimum equivalent of $2 per capita annual investment required for Firewise recognition was more than satisfied, and the mobile home park also hosted a Firewise/Fire Prevention Day.

Firewise began in 2002 with 12 pilot neighborhoods and now includes communities in 40 states, including more than 65 sites added during the past year. "Our volunteer Firewise Communities/USA program helps communities get started and find direction for their wildfire safety efforts," said Michele Steinberg, manager of the program. "The process provides people with real steps they can use to reduce potential damage."

Visit this site to find a Firewise toolkit, including checklists for homeowners and communities.

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