NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program Announces New Advisors

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s Firewise Communities Program has added six regional Firewise Advisors to help expand its community wildfire safety activities. 

“With the number and intensity of wildfires on the rise, there is greater need than ever before for people to take action to protect their families and homes from the threat of wildfires,” said Michele Steinberg, manager of the NFPA Firewise Communities Program. “There are some simple steps that can help individuals and communities avoid disasters.” The advisors will help foster successful Firewise Communities/USA® recognition by assisting sites that are new to the program and supporting the ongoing work of existing sites, in coordination with state forestry leadership. Firewise Advisors will provide information and technical support for communities throughout the country. 

The Firewise Communities Program is part of NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division, and is cosponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters. The national Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program is its voluntary community action model, adopted by approximately 700 communities in 40 states. To learn more about how your community can become a recognized Firewise Community and connect with a Firewise advisor in your area, please contact Michele Steinberg at 617-984-7487 or

NFPA’s new Firewise Advisors are:


Todd Chlanda – Firewise Advisor, Central Region 

Most recently an assistant fire chief with the Redings Mill Fire District in southwest Missouri, Todd Chlanda assisted the first 10 communities in the state to become recognized Firewise Communities/USA sites. He has also served as a fire protection specialist with the Southwest Missouri Resource Conservation & Development Council. Chlanda’s region includes the following states:  Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.


Heidi Wagner – Firewise Advisor, Northeast Region

An experienced wildland firefighter and former member of her local volunteer fire company in upstate New York, Heidi Wagner is also the manager of Sam’s Point Preserve and an employee of The Nature Conservancy. She successfully guided the hamlet of Cragsmoor to enroll as the first Firewise Communities/USA site in New York. Wagner’s region includes the following states:  Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.


Gary Marshall – Firewise Advisor, Northwest Region 

Gary Marshall is a deputy fire chief in Bend, Oregon, and an outspoken advocate of Firewise in the fire service community. He has partnered with residents and local governments to support the Deschutes County “Project Wildfire” and “FireFree” programs. He is also an NFPA instructor for the Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone seminar. Marshall’s region includes the following states:  Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming.


Patrick Mahoney – Firewise Advisor, South Region

During his tenure as a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist in southwest Florida, Patrick Mahoney has helped dozens of small neighborhoods, many made up of active retiree residents, achieve Firewise recognition. A two-time “Firewise Leadership Award” winner, he also serves as a Public Information Officer on fire incidents large and small. Mahoney’s region includes the following states:  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee.


Faith Berry – Firewise Advisor, Southwest 1 Region

Faith Berry helped form 30 small Fire Safe Councils in San Diego County over the past several years, where she integrated Firewise materials and concepts. She brings a range of experience to the Firewise position, from firefighting to park management to writing and grant-writing. Berry’s region includes the following states:  Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada.


Keith Worley – Firewise Advisor, Southwest 2 Region

A resident and “sparkplug” in one of the first Firewise Communities/USA sites in the nation, Keith Worley of Colorado is an experienced Firewise leader as well as a professional forester and certified arborist. Keith is well-known for his creative hands-on training courses and compelling Firewise presentations. Worley’s area includes the following states:  Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas and Utah.


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