A national program to raise awareness of fire hazard protection in wooded and forested areas continues to gain traction after those huge blazes in California and Australia.

New Jersey Forest Fire Assistant Division Warden Joseph Battersby says the Firewise program educates communities on taking responsibility for themselves by reducing their fire risk.

Thy also provide grant support for wildfire mitigation projects — like underbrush removal to reduce fire risk on private land.

"They can be as simple as moving the leaves and gutters or reducing the brush or types of species of plants around a home or even removing some of the mulch around your home. Because when it dries out, that mulch, if there was to be a wildfire in the area, the embers in your mulch can catch the mulch on fire," Battersby said.

According to Battersby, partnering with communities "really helps us."

In New Jersey, 27 communities are signed up for  Firewise, which has about 1,500 members nationwide.

  • Brighton at Barnegat, Barnegat Township, Ocean County
  • Cheesequake Village Association, Matawan, Middlesex County
  • Country Walk of Lake Ridge, Manchester Township, Ocean County
  • Crestwood Village Six, Manchester Township, Ocean County
  • Four Seasons at Mirage, Barnegat Township, Ocean County
  • Free Acres Association, Inc., Berkeley Heights, Union County
  • Greenbriar Oceanaire, Ocean Township, Ocean County
  • Harbor Bay Community, Little Egg Harbor Township, Ocean County
  • Hardwick Township, Hardwick, Warren County
  • Horizons at Barnegat, Barnegat Township, Ocean County
  • Horizons Woods Landing, Hamilton Township, Atlantic County
  • Lake Plymouth Community Association, Newton, Sussex County
  • Leisure Towne Assoc., Southampton Township, Burlington County
  • Mystic Shores HOA, Little Egg Harbor Township, Ocean County
  • Paramount Escapes, Barnegat Township, Ocean County
  • Pheasant Run at Barnegat HOA, Barnegat Township, Ocean County
  • Pheasant Run HOA, Lacey Township, Ocean County
  • Pine Ridge Residents Association, Manchester Township, Ocean County
  • Pinewood Estates, Barnegat Township, Ocean County
  • Shawnee Country Open Space Association, Medford, Burlington County
  • Tavistock, Hamilton Township, Atlantic County
  • The Grande at Burrs Mill, Southampton Township, Burlington County
  • Tranquility Ridge, Southampton Township, Burlington County
  • Victoria Crossing, Hamilton Township, Atlantic County
  • Washington Township in Burlington County, Egg Harbor City, Burlington County
  • Waterford Zone 6, Atco, Camden County
  • Wharton Run , Waterford, Camden County