Pictured are the winners of the 2015 Firewise Landscaping Contest sponsored by the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership and the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network.

On Tuesday, June 30, staff and officials from the City of Flagstaff, Coconino County, Arizona State Forestry Division, Coconino National Forest, Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership and NAU’s Ecological Restoration Institute gathered to honor five area residents selected as winners of the 2015 Firewise Landscaping Contest.

Recognized for their wildfire risk reduction efforts, this year’s contest winners dispel the myth that implementing Firewise principles results in a sterile and desolate landscape.

“Not only is their landscaping an attractive accent to their homes, but it greatly reduces their vulnerability to wildfire,” says Mark Brehl, from Flagstaff Fire Department’s Wildland Fire Management Division.

The contest, organized by the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership and Flagstaff Fire Department, was funded by the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network along with additional support from the National Fire Protection Association and State Farm Insurance. The contest winners are: $500 Grand Prize, Bill and Mary Jo Heher; $200 First Place, Tom Knights; $100 Honorable Mention, Paul McGuire; $100 Honorable Mention, Reid Miller; and $100 Honorable Mention, Shawn Mahoney.

According to a press release, implementing Firewise principles around a home is a key component of what it means to become fire adapted. A fire adapted community is one that accepts fire as part of the natural landscape. It’s a community that understands its fire risk, and takes action before a wildfire to minimize potentially devastating impacts.

Flagstaff residents can reduce the density of flammable vegetation, clean up pine needles, remove flammable debris and use appropriate fire resistant landscaping to improve the safety of homes and families. For more information on how to become fire adapted, contact the Flagstaff Fire Department at 213-2500. For more information, visit, or


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