Wildfire Risk Reduction

house fire

Homeowner issues

Review these tips for reducing the risk of wildfire for your home.  Debris burning is the most common cause of wildfires in Pennsylvania. Understand the issues and download these tips for safer waste management.

wildland development

Firewise Communities

Firewise communities reduce risk of fire emergencies by addressing and correcting fire hazards. Municipalities can participate in the new Pennsylvania Firewise Medal Community program.


Census figures for the first decades of the 21st century show more people in the Northeastern U.S. moving from suburban to rural areas to make their home near or within the forest. As forested areas on the east coast are logged and subdivided into building lots, fuels such as logging slash and volatile understory vegetation are left on site, increasing the potential for wildfires. Firefighters call the area where homes and development meet and intermingle with undeveloped wildland the “Wildland Urban Interface”.

People moving into the wildland urban interface are not familiar with their new environment. They make choices which increase the potential for their homes to be destroyed by wildfire. In addition, with more people there is increased risk of fires caused by debris burning, equipment use, smoking, campfires and arson. While broadcast media give more coverage to spectacular western wildfires, more fires occur east of the Mississippi River than west. Wildland fire does impact Pennsylvania.

In the wildland urban interface it is especially important to properly plan new housing areas and to develop good standards for existing ones. Planning for wildland fire protection considers local fire codes, roofing materials, landscaping and road placement. 

PA Wildland Urban Interface map 2000