Wildfire Risk Reduction Program

MN DNR Firewise webpage
FIREWISE pamphlet

Clifton Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a FIREWISE grant from the DNR for Hazard Mitigation: Improved Planning and Wildfire Risk Reduction. The grant is for a total of $31,900 with Clifton Fire Department and community volunteers providing at least half of that amount through in-kind services.
Some of the grant activities will include:

  • An on-site survey of Duluth and Alden Townships to determine which homes need up-to-date 911 signs.  We will be providing up to one hundred 911 signs and mounting posts.
  • Demonstrations by a DNR forester at one or two local properties on fuel reduction practices that can be done at our own sites.  Our first demo is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 16th.  The location will be announced on the township website and in the newsletter.
  • “Chipper Days” with centrally-located free chipping of brush for residents who perform fuel reduction clearing on their properties.
  •  It will be important to keep track of any time that is spent clearing fuel on our properties, as this time will all be counted towards our “in-kind contribution” to the grant.  Please let the grant administrator know the date and how many work hours were spent in the activity and we will add this to our report.
  • Education and outreach to residents via direct mailings, the Township website, Newsletter articles, a presentation to the Homesteaders, the Fire Department Open House, and at the fuel reduction demonstrations and chipper events.
  • If you are interested in helping with the grant activities or have questions, please email the grant administrator, Sherry Rovig or call her at 218-525-0489.

Emergency Entry Check, September, 2017
As part of the FIREWISE grant, the Department  traveled roads in Duluth and Alden Townships to check on fire number signs to see if they exist and are visible at each residence or business. Driveways were visually checked from the road to see if a large fire truck could make it in without knocking off lights or equipment.
Preliminary results:
22% of households in Duluth and Alden Townships have no fire sign
58% have an old (one-sided, not reflective) fire sign
20% have a new (two-sided, reflective) sign
Several signs were misplaced and many were obstructed by weeds or branches.

Driveways were visually checked from the main road to see if there was enough space for a large fire truck (12’ wide by 12’ high, free from overhanging branches, is preferred). Overall, 21% were seriously problematic and 79% of driveways appeared to be satisfactory.

Imagine a fire or medical emergency call on a dark 2am in a wintry morning before a fresh snowfall has been plowed. A volunteer EMR or fire fighter is awakened from sleep after a day of work at his or her regular job. The dispatcher gives an address and the search begins.
With luck the fire sign is visible in the truck lights or search light. Sometimes a mailbox has an address but many have it only on one side of the box and some don’t have any visible markings. Maybe someone from the address is out at the roadside to summon emergency personnel. Sometimes volunteers will have a personal GPS and take the time to enter the address but often this isn’t an option and emergencies may make electronic devices unusable. Anyway, you get the problem that may hamper volunteer emergency personnel. Please help out. Make sure your sign is easily visible as you drive by.

Steps that you can take to optimize emergency entry

Make sure that your fire sign is easily visible as you drive by.

If you don’t have a new, 2-sided, reflective sign, call 218-726-2921 to order one…it’s a good $35 investment. Installation instructions are included.

Check your driveway to be sure there is ample clearance ( 12 feet wide, 12 feet high) for large fire trucks.

Upcoming FIREWISE events:

  • The fire department had a successful event in October with residents bringing  brush they had cleared to reduce fire risk around their homes to hall 1 on Ryan Rd.  It was chipped up on Saturday, the 21st, and the chips are available to any who wish to pick them up.
  • We will host another fuel reduction demonstration, followed by brush drop off and chipper day next spring.
  • Any questions or requests for a firewise presentation can be directed to Sherry Rovig 525-0489, or by email to


FIREWISE Volunteers Needed

Volunteer to put your name on a Township call list for residents who are physically unable to do the trimming or can’t haul brush to the drop-off site. Please call volunteer Bruce Hauger at 590-2768 or leave your name and contact information at the Town Hall at 525-5705