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Knifley Area VFD Earns National recognition for wildfire preparedness

  • BRAGGING RIGHTS: Department is First in Kentucky to receive this recognition
  • BRAGGING RIGHTS: Only 114 communities in US have received designation

Story updated August 18, 2005, at 4:52 p.m. Complete Roster added
KNIFLEY, KY--Because of its efforts to reduce the vulnerability of homes and landscapes to wild, the Knifley Area Volunteer Fire Department, which serves the Knifley, Pellyton, and Roley communities--the area of Adair County north of Green River--has earned Firewise Communities/USA recognition in the Firewise Communities program.

"This should help the property owners and residents in preventing and protecting their homes, farms, and valuable timber assets," Tom Fisher, Firewise coordinator for the Knifley Volunteer Fire Department.

Knifley, Roley, and Pellyton worked with the Knifley Area Volunteer Fire Department to conduct a wildfire hazard assessment and develop a plan to address safety concerns. The residents are working together to implement the mitigation plans.

The area the KAVFD serves is particularly prone to wildfires, Mr. Fisher said. "We have 57,000 acres of farm and timber lands. That includes 20,00 acres within the US Army Corps of Engineers lands around the lake, which is in our service area, so it is very important that we prevent wildlife fires," he said.The KAVFD has 29 firemen and has two stations. The headquarters station is at the original station in Knifley; the Pellyton KAVFD Station was certified in March of this year.

Jackie Perkins is the KAVFD chief; the assistant chief is Tracy McCarroll.The other firefighters that made this possible are: Darrell Baker, Charles Wethington, Tom Fisher, Dallas Cole, Alan Grimes, Gayla Baker, Margaret Wethington, Devin Feese, Matthew Humphress, Kenneth Humphress, Jason Upchurch, David Giles, John Martin, Todd Akin, CR Drake, Kevin Jones, Terri Drake, Logan Wilkerson, Brett Farmer, Dannie Streeval, Thersa Giles, Deanna Cole, Manning Walker, Bill Bray, and Jason Rector.

The Knifley Area Firewise Board members are: Kerry Jones, Mike Sapp, Bill Bray, Jackie Perkins, Tom Fisher, residents of the area. The following board member represented: Adair County by Joe Rogers, Kentucky Division of Forestry by Kenny Pyles, US Army Corps of Engineers Green River by Jim Goode.

Kentucky Division of Forestry provided direct support for this project by these individuals: Belinda Smith Campbellsvills Firewise Technician, Cindy Bennett State Firewise Technical Specialist, Jennifer Turner Environmental Education Specialist.

"This will make it a lot easier to suppress and control a wildfire in this area. If a wildfire does occur, it will reduce the time it takes to control it," Mr. Fisher said.

The recognition for the fire deparment makes this community the First in Kentucky to be recognized as Firewise Communities/USA, joining just 114 other communities nationwide that have been recognized since the program's inception in 2002.

To receive Firewise Communities/USA recognition, the Knifley Area Volunteer Fire Department area communities met a rigorous set of requirements. The community completed the following activities:
  1. Assessed the wildfire hazards in the KAVFD service zone

  2. Reviewed KAVFD firefighting procedure in the light of hazards, which are resulting in the re-writing of KAVFD procedures

  3. Presented wildfire prevention programs in the Knifley Grade Center

  4. Held an information breakfast at the Knifley KAVFD Fire Station about wildfire dangers

  5. Met with natural gas pipeline companies to develop an emergency plan

  6. Met with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, to develop an emergency plan
"Achieving Firewise recognition is not a quick or easy process. The KAVFD has done an outstanding job of creating a local Firewise task Force and implementing Firewise principles," said Jim Smalley, manager of the Firewise Comunities program.

"By preparing homes, structures, and landscapes before a wildfire occurs, Knifley has dramatically increased the chance that homes and structures will be protected when a wildfire occurs."

Working through the national Association of State Foresters (NASF), state forestry agencies support the Firewise Communities/USA recognition effort. The program is a nationwide initiative that recognizes communities for taking action to protect people and properties from he risk of fire in the wildland/urban interface. this program is of special interest to small communities and neighborhood associations that are willing to mitigate against wildfire by adopting and implementing programs tailored to their needs. The communities create the programs themselves with cooperative assistance from state forestry agencies and local fire staff.

Fire-prone communities can work with local professionals to earn Firewise Communities/USA status by meeting the following criteria:
  • Enlist a wildland/urban interface specialist to complete a community assessment and create a plan that identifies agreed-upon achievable solutions to be implemented by the community.

  • Sponsor a local Firewise task Force Committee, Commission or Department, which maintains the Firewise Communities/USA program and tracks its progress or status.

  • Observe a Firewise Communities/USA day annually, dedicated to a local Firewise project.

  • Invest a minimum of $2.00 per capita annually in local Firewise projects. (Work by municipal employees or volunteers using municipal and other equipment can be included, as can state/federal grants dedicated to that purpose.)

  • Submit an annual report to Firewise Communities/USA that documents continuing compliance with the program.
Communities interested in earning recognition may visit www.firewise.org/usa for more information.
Firewise Communities/USA is a part of the national Firewise Communities Program, an interagency program designed to encourage local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire. The national Firewise communities Program includes Firewise Comunities workshops, Firewise Communities/USA recognition program, and support for fire organizations and community groups. The National Firewise Communities Program is sponsored by the national Wildfire Coordinating Group's Wildland/Urban Interface Working team, a consortium of wildland fire agencies that includes the USDA Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, the National Association of State Foresters, the US Fire Administration, and the national Fire Protection Association. For more information, visit www.firewise.org.


This story was posted on 2005-08-17 13:16:06
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