In 2018, The City of Gatlinburg was recognized as a Firewise City. The City is only one of three municipalities in the entire state of Tennessee to earn this designation.
To become Firewise, the Gatlinburg community conducted wildfire hazard assessments and developed protection plans to address safety concerns with guidance from the Gatlinburg Fire Department, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry. Residents then worked together to implement the plans to reduce fire risk.
“Tennessee’s forested landscapes and rolling hills are assets to our great state, however they also put communities like Gatlinburg most at risk for wildfire,” State Forester Assistant Commissioner Jere Jeter said when announcing Gatlinburg as a firewise city. “We commend the people of Gatlinburg for coming together to make their community safer and more prepared for any future threat. Being Firewise benefits residents and the many visitors who come to enjoy the mountains. We are pleased to have been a part of this accomplishment and proud to see the recognition, as it is extremely well deserved.”
The free and voluntary Firewise USA recognition program allows communities to apply for grants from the Division of Forestry to implement projects specified in their Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
ABOUT FIREWISE COMMUNITIES
The Firewise Communities program is a multi-agency effort which drives to reach beyond by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers and others in an effort to protect people, property and resources from the risk of a wild fire, before one starts.
Firewise USA helps communities implement programs to identify wildfire hazards and develop mitigation to the dangers of fires at the local level. The National Fire Protection Agency encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfires. The program is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior and the National Association of State Foresters.
The approach of being a Firewise Community emphasizes responsibility for planning in the design of a safe community, as well as effective emergency response and individual responsibility for safer home construction, design, landscaping and maintenance.
While many organizations and agencies play important roles in making homes safer from wildfires, no one has more control over the safety of a home, than the homeowners themselves.
The Chalet Village Firewise Community in Gatlinburg has made their neighborhood into a Firewise Community!
See the below links for information on how to make your neighborhood a Firewise Community and to better protect yourself against wildfires.
Tennessee Firewise Communities Program
National Fire Protection Agency Firewise USA
Tennessee Division of Forestry
See the below video, courtesy of the Tennessee Division of Forestry, for more information on how to make sure your home is Firewise. This video is one of a complete series of Firewise Videos by the Tennessee Division of Forestry.