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Fire Tower, Yellow River State Forest
Firewise Communities Program
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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.

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.

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 .


Additional resources:


The Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant program provides matching funds to fire departments for the purchase of wildland fire related equipment. For more information please contact Gail Kantak, Iowa DNR Fire Supervisor, by phone at 515-233-8067 Ext. 1 or by email at Gail.Kantak@dnr.iowa.gov.

2019 Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Grant Applications are due October 15, 2019
2019 VFA Grant packet:

 

The Department of Defense - Fire Fighter Program, under the guidance of the US Forest Service provides the Iowa DNR the opportunity to provide equipment and vehicles to fire departments. Equipment that is no longer needed by the federal government, but is still suitable for conversion to fire service may be obtained by fire departments. Once obtained, departments will have one year to complete the necessary modifications for the equipment to be put into service. The fire department will notify the Iowa DNR Forestry- Fire Program staff that the item is ready to be inspected. Upon a successful inspection, title/ownership of the item will be transferred to the fire department.

Fire departments bear the cost of transportation, conversion, painting, storage and maintenance. The equipment usually requires some conversion, but the cost is much less than purchase of comparable equipment.

Fire Departments are responsible for making conversions in a safe and timely manner; protecting the equipment from theft, vandalism and weather; painting vehicles in fire service colors; and maintaining appropriate liability insurance.

 

The Federal Excess Property Program provides permanent loans of equipment and vehicles to Fire Departments for use in wild land fire protection. Equipment that is no longer needed by the Federal Government, but suitable for conversion to fire service may be obtained by fire departments. Once obtained, departments are expected to paint it, add other equipment and modify it into a working fire vehicle.

The program is administered by the USDA Forest Service and the General Services Administration in cooperation with the State Forester to provide low cost ways for communities to protect their citizens and natural resources from fire. Departments that provide fire protection to wildlands may participate.

Most equipment obtained under this program are trucks suitable for conversion to tankers or pumpers. Generators, pumps, fire hoses and breathing apparatus may also be available. Power units can be used to provide emergency lighting or to power a radio base station. 

Fire departments bear the cost of transportation, conversion, painting, storage and maintenance. The equipment usually requires some conversion, but the cost is much less than purchase of comparable equipment.

Fire Departments are responsible for making conversions in a safe and timely manner; protecting the equipment from theft, vandalism and weather; painting vehicles in fire service colors; maintaining appropriate liability insurance and returning the equipment, less any added equipment, to Forestry Bureau when no longer needed.

Fire prevention materials are provided to schools, fire departments and other organizations for the purpose of educating the public about fire safety and the conservation of our natural resources through wildfire prevention. Fire prevention posters, coloring books, song sheets, book marks and other items are available.


The DNR Forestry-Fire Program provides several Smokey Bear Costumes for use by fire departments and others in promoting fire safety and the wise use of our natural resources through wildfire prevention. The costumes are shipped to the user upon request pending availability.

For information or to reserve a costume please contact Anthony Shellenberger at 515-233-1161 or anthony.shellenberger@dnr.iowa.gov.

 

Contact Information

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
p: 515-233-8067 Ext. 1
f: 515-233-1131


Gail Kantak
Iowa DNR Fire Supervisor Gail.Kantak@dnr.iowa.gov

Ryan Schlater
Fire Specialist, Training Coordinator Ryan.Schlater@dnr.iowa.gov

Karl Harris
Fire Specialist, FEPP Manager Karl.Harris@dnr.iowa.gov

Anthony Shellenberger,
Smokey Bear/ Costume & Materials Request

anthony.shellenberger@dnr.iowa.gov


Iowa DNR Area Foresters

Jeff Seago
Loess Hills State Forest
Jeffrey.Seago@dnr.iowa.gov

John Byrd
Shimek State Forest John.Byrd@dnr.iowa.gov

Jessica Flatt
Stephens State Forest Jessica.Flatt@dnr.iowa.gov

Bruce Blair
Yellow River State Forest Bruce.Blair@dnr.iowa.gov