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Development of this project was supported through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Urban and Community Forestry, Fire and Aviation Management, and Cooperative Fire programs.

This concept for this project was submitted to the U.S. Forest Service, Mid-Atlantic Center for Urban and Community Forestry as a technology transfer proposal by Bob Hannah, State Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator, West Virginia Division of Forestry. This project would not have been possible without the support of the Urban and Community Forestry and Firewise programs in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and New Jersey.

We would like to dedicate this tool to Alan Zentz, USDA Forest Service, who we lost during the course of project development. Without his assistance it would not have been possible.  H. Alan Zentz, 56, of Rising Sun, MD, died Friday, August 27, 2010 at home surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Frederick, MD, on September 20, 1953. He dedicated his professional life to local, state and national wildland fire protection and his personal life to his family and friends.

From 1974-1999 he worked for the Maryland Forest Service, first as the Forest Ranger in Cecil County, then as the Regional Fire Manager for the Central Region and finally as Maryland State Fire Supervisor. In 1999, Alan joined the USDA Forest Service as the Cooperative Fire Program Specialist for the Northeastern Area. Throughout his career he worked to improve forest fire protection for millions of people in the Northeast. He provided response assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the World Trade Towers during the attack of 9/11, and on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. His work in the arena of emergency response has helped provide a foundation for incident management implementation throughout the nation.

Some of Alan's happiest days were spent with his wife Sue planting and nurturing the flowers, trees and shrubs at their home, enjoying the koi pond they built, playing golf, and bird watching. One of his greatest pleasures was watching the sun set at the end of the day. Alan was a lifetime member of the Guardian Hose Company, Thurmont, MD.

The flammability ratings that were used in the plant selector database for trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, herbaceous perennials, and grasses were generated by using a step-by-step method, which includes the use of a flammability key. The original method was developed for the Southern Unites States by the USDA Forest Service - Southern Research Station (SRS-4952), the University of Florida - School of Forest Resources and Conservation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For the purposes of plant selector database, this method was modified slightly in response to seasonal changes in vegetation due to dormancy found in the Northeast.  Additional information related to fire performance was based on the knowledge and experiences of Firewise professionals, urban foresters, and horticulturalists.

The method for rating flammability is described in the fact sheet titled “Fire in the wildland-urban interface: Preparing a Firewise plant list for WUI residents” (Behm, Anna L.; Long, Alan J.; Monroe, Martha C.; Randall, Cotton K.; Zipperer, Wayne C.; Hermansen-Baez, L. Annie. 2004. Fire in the wildland-urban interface: preparing a Firewise plant list for WUI residents. Circular 1453. School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. 9 p).

The prototype for the Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector was developed by Larry G. Steward, Associate Professor, Horticulture Technologies, The Ohio State University/Agricultural Technical Institute. Professor Steward provided plant attribute data, photographs and the adapted the flammability key from Florida Cooperative Extension Service Circular 1453 for the Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector. Donna Murphy, U.S. Forest Service, NA S&PF, Morgantown Field Office and Rodger Ozburn, State Firewise Liaison, West Virginia Division of Forestry provided assistance in the development of the protocol and the website content. The introduction was adapted from an introduction in Ohio State Extension Bulletin #921, Firewise Landscaping (2006) authored by Larry Steward, T. Davis Sydnor, and Aaron Kloss.

The website was made possible through an interagency agreement with the US Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and Urban Forestry South, Athens, Georgia. The website was developed by Matt Howell, Southern Regional Extension Forestry, University of Georgia, Athens, and Dudley R. Hartel, Center Manager at Urban Forestry South.

Special thanks to Maureen Brooks, Community Fire Planner, Fire Prevention, WUI USDA Forest Service for her input.


Carson City, Nevada. City Hall. 201 North Carson Street, Carson City, NV 89701. (Accessed 22 September 2010.)

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