Defensible Space - Prepare Your Home

Each year, wildland fires consume homes in the wildland-urban interface – defined as areas where homes are built near or among lands prone to wildland fire. Studies show that as many as 80 percent of homes lost to wildland fire may have been saved if brush around the homes were cleared and defensible space created around structures. There is no better time than now to prepare and educate your family, friends and neighbors. Make sure everyone knows what to do to protect people and homes in case of fire.
  • Prepare around your home. If your home is built in or near the forest, follow these steps to protect your home from wildfire. When developing your home landscaping, try planting fire-resistant plants to help reduce your risk from wildfire.
  • Unite with your neighbors – start a Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition site.
  • Know the outdoor burning rules. DNR regulates outdoor burning on all forestlands where we provide wildfire protection. Don’t burn outdoors until you know the rules.
  • Have a plan when it's time to leave - Ready, Set, Go!

Washington Firewise

DNR works with local fire districts, conservation districts, counties, and extension programs to help Washington residents benefit from the Firewise Communities/USA. Administered through the National Fire Protection Association, the Firewise Program encourages homeowners and communities to prepare for wildfire.
DNR's Firewise Challenge is designed to encourage neighbors to work together on reducing their wildfire risks through the application of Firewise principles. This is a cost-share program that provides funding for eligible activities by current and prospective Firewise Communities. Awards will be distributed based on the severity of the applying community’s wildfire risks, the type of project submitted and the connection to other fuel reduction projects. 
Funds for this cost-share program are made possible by an appropriation from the 2015 State Legislature and administered by DNR. 
Firewise Challenge Goals
  • Increase public knowledge regarding the benefits of fire mitigation and the Firewise Communities/USA© Program
  • Support current Firewise communities and re-engage with those that have lapsed or are listed as inactive
  • Create more Firewise communities within the state to help reduce the risk of negative impact from destructive wildfires
  • Foster closer working relationships among fire districts, communities, counties, conservation districts, and other interested organizations
For more information about Firewise opportunties in Washington, email

Firewise Contacts

For more information on Firewise Communities, please email or contact your local DNR staff:
Western Washington
Andy Tate, Firewise Coordinator, 360-902-1300
Northeast Region (Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Spokane counties, and the north portion of Lincoln County)
Myron Boles, Acting Landowner Assistance Manager, 509-685-2716
Southeast Region (Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Grant, Lincoln, Adams, Whitman, Yakima, Klickitat, eastern portion of Skamania, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin counties)
Jeanne Christensen, Landowner Assistance Technician, 509-925-0974
Firewise has been effective in Washington state: See how defensible space techniques – clearing brush, limbing trees, etc. – helped save homes from the 2011 Monastery Fire Complex in south-central Washington, while 29 other homes were destroyed.

Additional Programs

The Ready, Set, Go! Program, managed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs helps fire departments teach individuals who live in high risk wildfire areas how to best prepare themselves and their properties against fire threats. See Your Personal Wildland Fire Action Guide.
Firewise and Ready, Set, Go! are components of the Fire Adapted Communities strategy. A “Fire Adapted Community” incorporates people, buildings, businesses, infrastructure, cultural resources, and natural areas working together to prepare for the effects of wildfire.
The Washington Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network (WAFAC), funded by the Bureau of Land Management, is a statewide group of organizations supporting communities confronting the threat of wildfire. The project provides member communities with resources to engage with other WAFAC participants, to share best practices and ways to manage wildfire threats.

Additional Resources