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The rustic area of Norphlet, AR is surrounded by tall pine trees and rolling grassy fields. Despite being a sparsely populated area, Norphlet is a tight-knit neighborhood full of people concerned for the well-being of their town, knowing full well about the very real threat of wildfire. “We joined the ranks of the Firewise Communities in 2004,” says Wesley Harper, Fire Chief of the Norphlet Fire Department. “I thought it was an excellent program to get involved in. By becoming Firewise, we got the chance to help our community through education and various Firewise projects, which helped our neighbors understand the importance of keeping the wildland off of their doorstep.”

Over the years, Norphlet has carried out a variety of actions in response to a wide range of natural disasters. While also preventing wildfires from destroying their homes, the community has cleared roads from debris left behind from raging storms and, on a few occasions, has even had to recover from tornados. For their Firewise Day, Norphlet cleaned their city park and various athletic fields of wildfire fuel.

As a winner for the Firewise Challenge, Norphlet has earned $5,000 to put towards future Firewise efforts thanks to the generous support of State Farm, NFPA’s partner in the Firewise Challenge. “We have an assortment of aging chainsaws and limb saws that we’ve been using in our Firewise efforts for the past 10 years. Thanks to the grand prize winnings, we can now replace this old equipment with more efficient tools so we can take our Firewise efforts even further,” says Harper.