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Fire Tower, Yellow River State Forest
Firewise Communities Program

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:

+ Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant Program

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:


+ Iowa Wildland Fire Report Forms
+ DOD - Fire Fighter Program
+ Federal Excess Property Program
+ Fire Prevention Materials
+ Smokey Bear Program
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


Iowa DNR Area Foresters

Jeff Seago
Loess Hills State Forest

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