Wildfire Risk Reduction Program
The goal of our Wildfire Risk Reduction Program is to identify land management strategies that will reduce “fuel loads” of highly flammable vegetation on Foundation properties, especially where they occur in close proximity to homes, while also complementing existing ecological and passive recreation management objectives. Many of Nantucket’s unique natural communities contain highly flammable vegetation capable of producing extreme fire behavior when ignited. Additionally, these habitats are fire-dependent and contain many rare and endangered species that require ecologically-appropriate land management to survive. For a copy of the Wildfire Risk Reduction Program’s mission and goals please click here.
Prior to initiating on-the-ground management work associated with this program, our Science and Stewardship staff developed detailed Wildland Fire Management Plans for several of the Foundation’s high risk properties, including Head of the Plains and the Middle Moors. These plans have been reviewed and approved by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. A third plan is under development for the area between Nantucket Airport and Tom Nevers along the south shore of the island. These plans identify priority sites for conducting various land management techniques aimed at reducing fire danger, including brushcutting firebreaks, conducting prescribed burns, and undertaking other mechanical vegetation removal strategies based on public safety threats and ecological management needs. For more information about prescribed burns, the precautions that are taken to ensure that they are done in a safe and controlled manner, and the benefits of utilizing this management technique, click here.
We launched a program in the summer of 2012 to raise funds for implementing the management recommended in this plan. Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, this program has been very successful and we have been able to make excellent progress in cutting firebreaks and planning to implement prescribed burns. However, this effort will take many years to complete and there will be ongoing maintenance in perpetuity. If you would like to make a donation to this important effort that will go into the Program’s restricted fund, click here.
An additional key component of this effort is to increase public awareness of wildfire danger on the island and educate local neighborhood groups about steps that individual homeowners can take to reduce their vulnerability to property damage by wildfire. Members of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and staff have been visiting various neighborhood associations and community groups to help educate year-round and seasonal residents about the risk of wildfire on Nantucket. To view a copy of the PowerPoint presentation that is shown to these groups, click here. For a copy of the brochure that is handed out to attendees, click here.
The Foundation has been working closely with the Nantucket Fire Department and other government agencies to help prepare materials to assist our education efforts, including the brochure “How to Protect Yourself, Property, and Nantucket”. We will also be updating this site with more information on the program as progress is made.