MANHATTAN, Kan. – The lakeshore community of University Park, Kansas has been recognized for its standing as a Firewise Community/USA for the past 10 years.
Located by Tuttle Creek Lake in Riley County, University Park received national recognition in 2006 from the Firewise Communities/USA Program for being proactive in reducing wildfire risk, and preparing and protecting its homes against the threat of wildfire. It’s the first and only community in Kansas to be recognized as a Firewise Community/USA. It joins nearly 1,141 others nationwide that have been recognized since the program’s inception in 2002.
University Park Firewise committee co-chairs Susan Turner and Laura Soash were on hand July 18 to accept the award, presented by Brian McNulty, battalion chief of Riley County Fire District #1, and Jason Hartman, of the Kansas Forest Service.
“This is a great recognition of the outstanding work done by a great community with strong support from the Kansas Forest Service, and Riley County Fire District #1,” Turner said.
To receive the “Firewise Community/USA” designation, University Park met a challenging set of requirements and has continued to do so annually for the past decade. They include obtaining a wildfire risk assessment, creating an action plan based on the assessment, forming a committee, planning a community event day that involves residents, and investing time and money in its local Firewise actions.
Communities benefit in different ways from the designation, including wildfire education for residents, community relationship-building, citizen pride in their location, publicity for the community, peace of mind that the risk of destruction is reduced, and potential access to funding and assistance when grant money is available made for wildfire safety.
Visit Firewise for more information.
Story by: Jennifer Williams