In the States served by the Northeastern Area, even small wildfires threaten structures due to heavy population and a large proportion of wildland-urban interface. In 2016, 74 residences and 167 other structures were destroyed by wildland fires across the area. Of the almost 26,000 ignitions that occurred, 99% were human-caused. In total wildfires burned over 98,000 acres.
Mitigation includes actions that reduce or eliminate the wildfire risk to people, property, and natural resources. Mechanical treatments like mowing and thinning, as well as prescribed fire, are used to reduce fuel buildup. For example, the Delaware Forest Service has been working to control phragmites--a flammable grass that invades wetlands, crowds out native vegetation, and grows near homes and structures in coastal areas. Spraying, mowing, and burning of phragmites has returned native vegetation to treated wetlands.
Community Wildfire Protection Plans, home assessments, and programs like
Ready, Set, Go!
engage communities and local fire departments to take action. An example is the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, Fire Safety Council, and Barnegat Fire Adapted Community Learning Network teaming up with
to offer incentives to help communities adapt to wildfire.
It is Federal and State agencies, communities, fire departments, nonprofits, and homeowners working together that make progress towards restoring resilient landscapes, protecting communities, reducing human-caused fires, and promoting safe and efficient wildfire response.