West Virginia Firewise in the Classroom curriculum was developed in 2007 modeled after the Minnesota Firewise in the Classroom curriculum. Based on the success of the program USFS awarded a second grant in 2009 to allow for an upgrade of the program allowing for WV Firewise in the classroom to assess other communities in West Virginia. A detailed description of how the WV Firewise curriculum was developed.
WV Firewise curriculum was developed using Minnesota's AtlasGDS desktop Geographic information System (GIS). Even though the curriculum was developed in 2007 using AtlasGDS to conduct Level 1 and Level 2 Hazard Risk Assessments and to perform GIS analysis, the majority of the lesson material and presentations are still relevant to new GIS technologies used in K-12 schools. In an effort to update the curriculum, new Level 1 and Level 2 lessons using ArcGIS Online are under development. The new lessons will be posted onAGO New Lessonswhen they are finished. An updated WV Firewise in the Classroon curriculum is listed below.
Firewise in the Classroom Curriculum
Examples of how GIS was used in the WV Firewise in the classroom project go to the following links:
New WV Firewise in the Classroom Curriculum, Presentations and Handouts
The long term goal of the WV Firewise in the Classroom Project was to develop a curriculum that could be used by other states. The WV Firewise in the Classroom curriculum, presentations and handouts displayed below are a first attempt at that goal. Click on the links below to view and download the lessons.
Background and development of the WV Firewise in the Classroom Project
West Virginia used Minnesota Firewise in the Classroom curriculum as the model for their program. U.S. Forest Service Firewise grants to Minnesota mandated that software and curriculum developed for the Minnesota Firewise project be made available to other states. With the assistance of GIS 4 Schools the Minnesota curriculum was adapted to meet the needs of West Virginia's Firewise Program.
As GIS consultant to EPCF West Virginia Firewise in the Classroom Project, Mr. Ken Pekarek built a West Virginia version of the Minnesota AtlasGDS desktop GIS system, downloaded a complete set of GIS data layers and developed the capability to access detailed air photos hosted on the West Virginia University’s web site. This allowed the WV Firewise project to use air photos via the web. With GIS system and data in place, Mr. Pekarek modified the MN Firewise curriculum and developed a custom GIS training manual. In the summer Sun Schroyer, the HHS science teacher and John Anderson, WVDOF Firewise Specialist, attended two training sessions in Minnesota to learn how to teach WV Firewise in the Classroom. All presentations and curriculum handouts were added to a WV Teacher Resource DVD
In the fall of 2007, Mr. Pekarek traveled to West Virginia to help HHS students conduct Level 1 Wildfire Risk Assessments of the Woods Resort. Over 90 students in 4 class periods conducted Level 1 assessment of all homes visible from aerial photography. Over two class sessions, the students coded over 1400 homes in the Woods and another 300 in Sleepy Hollow. GIS 4 Schools consultant reviewed all the data to verify accuracy. Using a special feature in the GIS program, users could click on a home see the L1 rating assigned to the house. Mr. Pekarek quality checked all the L1 assessments and then generated a GIS Density Surface Model (DSM) Map that identified “Hot Spots” in The Woods Resort. The DSM map identified Sections 1-3 as the worst areas.
In preparation of field trips to the Woods, Mr. Pekarek GeoCoded the L1 assessments to add Parcel IDs and addresses for all homes in the Woods. From this data base, Ken prepared Home Hazard Assessment sheets for all homes in The Woods. In the spring of 2008, Mr. Pekarek, again traveled to WV and taught students how to conduct a Level 2 Home Fire Hazard Assessments. Ken assisted Terry Mallett and Sun on the field trip to section 1 to conduct L2 assessments. At completion of the field trip, Mr. Pekarek entered all L2 data from the home hazard assessment forms into AtlasGDS and prepared a Section1 L2 Hazard map. Mr. Pekarek returned in the Spring of 2009 to assist HHS students conduct Level 2 Hazard Assessments of homes in Section 2 of The Woods Resort.
In 2009, EPCF received a second Firewise Grant. Mr. Pekarek reprogrammed AtlasGDS to run from a flash drive. This allowed students the ability to assess homes in other communities in West Virginia. Students conducted Level 1 assessments in Sleepy Hollow and Timberline. Mr. Pekarek assessed homes in The Crossing and River Ridge communities. As of the fall of 2011, students have completed over 2,000 Level 1 Wildfire Risk Assessments in five communities.
Over the years, five field trips were conducted at The Woods completing 715 L2 assessments. At completion of each field trip, Mr. Pekarek entered all L2 assessments into AtlasGDS and prepared L2 hazard reports/maps for each of the sections.
A major goal of the second grant was to create a Firewise web site. Mr. Pekarek researched Firewise related videos, training and educational material. He prepared reports and graphics that summarized all L2 hazard data for each of the sections of The Woods. Mr. Pekarek also prepared summary reports on 5 communities that were analyzed. Working with the HHS web page designer and students, Mr. Pekarek prepared over five complete website designs to the Web page designers before a final design was accepted. Mr. Pekarek prepared all the graphics and reports that are displayed on the Education, Class Curriculum, Class Project and Class Hazard Assessment web pages.
Over the last 10 years, U.S. Forest Service and USA schools migrated to using ArcGIS Online as their preferred GIS system. Mallett is closing out all work related to the USFS WV Firewise in the Classroom Project Firewise Grants. Mr. Mallett has asked Mr. Pekarek to help prepare new Level 1 and 2 lessons using ArcGIS Online. Mr. Pekarek will post new WV Firewise lessons on his website GIS 4 Schools. To see new ArcGIS lessons click on: New ArcGIS Online Lessons
Additional Firewise Links
Overview Summary for Additional Firewise Links
The Additional Firewise Links provided below have been organized by major five categories. They are: Wildland/Urban Interface; National Links; Other States Firewise; National Firewise Courses and Resources; and Additional Firewise Information. These web site links all provide Homeowner with additional Firewise information in making their homes Firewise.
Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI)
Fire is a natural occurrence in wooded areas of America. Homes are being built in or near forested areas and are now at risk of being burned by these wildfires. Homeowner must take proper fire safety precautions to protect their homes.