Firewise Communities

The Firewise Communities program is a national organization of wildland fire management agencies. These agencies are working together to supply information to community members who are living with the possibility of wildfire. The Iowa DNR is proud to be a part of this national program and be able to provide Iowans with information about how they can work together to reduce wildfire risks. 
Househouse on fire
Becoming Firewise is a process. Being Firewise is not difficult, but requires commitment. A Firewise person or community pays attention to the details in their environment that might start or encourage the spread of a wildfire.
Take the possibility of a wildfire seriously and prepare before a fire starts. When adequately prepared, a house and its surrounding community can be both Firewise and compatible with the area's ecosystem. To help you get started with becoming Firewise in Iowa, please click on a topic from the list below:
To help you measure your home's fire risk and determine what improvements need to be made, use the Forest Home Fire Risk Form. Please take the time to fill out the form carefully and honestly.

 Additional resources can be found on the following links:

  • The national Firewise Communities website Information on Firewise projects, trainings, and communities from across the USA. 
  • The Wisconsin DNR Firewise website This has a nice Midwest connection with many downloadable documents that can greatly assist you in preparing your home, property, and community against the spread of a wildfire.

If you have specific questions contact an Iowa DNR Wildland Fire Expert:

Wildland Fire Program Headquarters 
DNR State Forest Nursery
2404 S Duff Ave., Ames, IA 50010 
Phone: 515-233-8067 Ext. 1; Fax: 515-233-1131

Gail Kantak, Iowa DNR Fire Supervisor -
Ryan Schlater, Fire Specialist, Training Coordinator -
Karl Harris, Fire Specialist, FEPP Manager -
Kandy Weigel, Smokey Bear/Prevention -

Or contact your Iowa DNR Area Forester: 

Brent Olson, Loess Hills State Forest -
John Byrd, Shimek State Forest -
Jessica Flatt, Stephens State Forest -
Bruce Blair, Yellow River State Forest -

firewise logo To take Firewise to the community level, attend city meetings and talk with your local urban planners as they consider spreading urban growth into natural areas. Another way to get information into the community is to organize a yard waste chipping day. Working with neighbors to thin out overgrown vegetation and to share expenses, makes wildfire preparedness affordable as well as your neighborhood fire resistant.

If your neighborhood would like to participate on the national level of Firewise, visit Firewise Communities USA Recognition Program