Pigeon Forge Receives National Wildfire Mitigation Award

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NASHVILLE – The city of Pigeon Forge is gaining national attention for its work to safeguard the community against wildfires.

Pigeon Forge has been selected to receive a Wildfire Mitigation Award, which is the highest honor a community can achieve for outstanding work in wildfire risk reduction.

Experts and leaders in the field established the Wildfire Mitigation Award in 2014 to recognize programs and projects that are making a difference nationwide. Recognizing the comprehensive challenge posed by wildfires, these awards applaud dedication to wildfire mitigation across a broad spectrum of activities and among a variety of individuals and organizations.

“The City of Pigeon Forge has been a wildfire risk reduction leader in Tennessee for more than a decade,” Tennessee State Forester David Arnold said. “Both their fire department and community development department have championed change to protect lives and save homes and businesses. Their past, ongoing, and planned actions clearly demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to wildfire risk mitigation—within and beyond the city limits.”

The 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Awards will be presented at the Wildland Urban-Interface Conference in Reno, Nev. on March 27, 2019. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is proud that the city of Pigeon Forge will be on stage with other national leaders to receive their award.

The Wildfire Mitigation Awards committee comprises the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

“Wildfire is as destructive and costly as ever before, but there are actions we can take to minimize these losses,” Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry Fire Chief Wade Waters said.

Pigeon Forge has taken several actions to address wildfire risk including:

  • Hosting a county-wide, interdisciplinary community leader workshop to promote wildfire risk reduction.
  • Providing a curb-side brush removal program for residents to reduce the risk of wildfire.
  • Being one of only nine pilot communities nationally to test the Ready, Set, Go! Program, which prepared home and business owners for evacuations.
  • Becoming a Firewise USA® Site in 2017 and holding public meetings to encourage all stakeholders to participate to reduce wildfire risk.

“We are greatly appreciative for this honor recognizing the hard work of the city employees,” Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster said. “We need to enjoy this significant moment, however, our work is far from finished. We are still encouraging neighborhood and business leaders from all disciplines to join us in integrating wildfire risk reduction into our short- and long-term community wildfire planning.”

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry is committed to helping all homeowners, communities, and cities to reduce wildfire risk. For more information about the award or ceremony, please contact Leon Konz at 865-414-5667 and visit www.stateforesters.org/mitigation.