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The Agoura Hills Firewise Program

Firewise was developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and is a cooperative effort among local, state, federal and private agencies and organizations to promote fire safety in the wildland/urban interface.

Firefighters do not have the resources to defend every home during a wildfire. Firewise communities are those that have taken appropriate measures to mitigate or prevent wildfire structural damage.

There is a 2,500 dwelling maximum for a Firewise community. Because Agoura Hills has approximately 7,500 dwellings, we have elected to take an HOA-by-HOA approach to qualify for the program. Therefore, at a local level, you can form a Firewise Community in your HOA or neighborhood, which will eventually provide better protection for the entire community and potentially qualify for a discount on Homeowners Insurance. Each HOA or neighborhood can qualify for Firewise Status as soon as it meets the requirements.

Agoura Hills is on its way to achieving the objectives of the Firewise program by addressing the four major components of the program below. However, as HOAs and Firewise community leaders, we must work together to tackle this challenge, community by community, for Agoura Hills. The following six steps are required to become a Firewise-recognized community:

Creating a Firewise USA® Community

The Firewise USA program, run by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and reviewed by CAL FIRE, helps communities enhance fire safety in wildfire-prone areas. With 2,000+ recognized communities nationwide, the decade-long program has proven multiple instances of structure loss during a wildfire event.

AHFSC helps communities each step of the way to become a recognized Firewise community. 

To earn recognition as a Firewise site, interested communities must complete six steps.

Create a board or committee with 2-5 representatives, including a Resident Leader as the point of contact. You may invite local stakeholders to join.

AHFSC will assist you in completing the Firewise USA Community Risk Assessment and updating it every 5 years. Outline boundaries with a minimum of 8 – 2,500 homes.

Fill out a 3-year Action Plan, specifying annual goals with measurable progress. 

Each year you must report your wildfire risk reduction activities on your Firewise portal. A minimum investment of 1 volunteer hour per dwelling unit.

Each year you must host an annual outreach event for your community that discusses your Action Plan.

Create an account at Choose an official community name, upload completed documents, and submit the application.

More information about each step:

  1. Form a team – You will need to find 2-5 people from your HOA or neighborhood who will represent your community for Firewise recognition.
  2. Assess Wildfire Risk – Your HOA (or committee or team) will need to fill out the Firewise USA Community Risk Assessment (CLICK HERE to view). The Agoura Hills Fire Safe Council, the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department will collaborate with you on this.
  3. Develop and Action Plan – Your team or committee will fill out a three-year action plan (CLICK HERE). This is a simple four-page document that details your annual goals for each of the three years.  Again, your local Fire Safe Councils and the Fire Department will work with you to complete this form.
  4. Report Investment & Vegetation Removed – A Firewise community is required to provide evidence of an average of one volunteer hour per dwelling annually on Firewise-qualified activities. So, if there are 100 homes in a community, that community would need a total of 100 Volunteer Hours annually. This is much simpler than it sounds. We will enable you to enter your hours on our website, and we then provide a monthly report for each HOA or neighborhood to see its progress against its annual goal. CLICK HERE to see how you submit your Firewise Volunteer Hours. You can also get credit for dollars spent on materials or services to improve your home or defensible space. Each $31.80 spent can be converted to one Volunteer Hour to help meet your annual goal. For example, if you pay your gardener $100 per month, that is approximately the equivalent of 3 hours. The Agoura Hills Safe Council will also be sending out periodic surveys and reminders to update your hours We have worked hard to make this a very simple, ongoing process.
  5. Host an Annual Outreach Event – You will need to host an annual outreach event to your Firewise community informing them of your Action Plan. This can be done online.
  6. Apply Online – Once you have created your account at, location, borders, and number of dwellings, you will need to upload your information on an annual basis.

Firewise USA® Insurance Benefits

The primary reason for creating Firewise Communities in Agoura Hills should be to save lives and property. However, in doing so, in October 2022, Commissioner Ricardo Lara, from the California Department of Insurance (CDI), signed into law a regulation that requires insurers to reflect and take into account specified mitigation factors in their rating plans.

CDI provides many resources and information regarding this regulation. Below are some links to information provided by the CDI:

  • CLICK HERE to see the regulation and please note the paragraph on “Property-level mitigation efforts
  • CLICK HERE to learn about the CDI “Safer from Wildfires” program
  • CLICK HERE to see what “Safer from Wildfires” means for your home insurance

Once you have familiarized yourself with the science and insurance regulations, you need to ask yourself, “Would you insure you?

Technology today is allowing insurance companies to better assess their risks. We have to step up to the plate and do our part.

Today, there is a shift to “risk prevention” for both homeowners and insurance companies.

  • CLICK HERE to see a list of Qualifying Firewise activities
  • CLICK HERE to view the California Department of Insurance’s list of Insurers that sell Difference in Conditions (DIC) Policies that complement a FAIR Plan policy.

For a tutorial on how to get your community up and running on Firewise, please see the links below.

You will have a lot of support as you go through the process of applying for Firewise recognition. Once Firewise-recognized, you will have achieved greater protection for your family and community from wildfire, and you will have potentially earned a discount on your Homeowners Insurance.

Some helpful links when setting up your Firewise USA community:


Firewise USA® is a registered trademark of the National Fire Protection Association, Inc. (NFPA). CLICK HERE for more information from NFPA.

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