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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

Featured photo courtesy of Pew Nguyen

Rancho Mission Viejo has taken steps to address fire safety in its community design, home construction, and landscape materials—which has been recognized with a Firewise USA designation from the National Fire Protection Association.

“We’re really proud to receive this designation from the NFPA,” said Mike Balsamo, Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Rancho Mission Viejo, in a news release. “When planning began on Rancho Mission Viejo, wildfires were considered in every major decision we made, and that continues with our present-day planning.”

RMV has partnered with Orange County Fire Authority and County of Orange to address fire safety. The master-planned community has reportedly exceeded county and state requirements on fire safety as they maintain the communities of Esencia and Sendero—and look to build Rienda, their newest neighborhood.

“In addition to exceeding codified fire protection measures, resident involvement at the individual homeowner level was a crucial element in receiving the NFPA’s Firewise Designation. Each village on The Ranch has an Action Plan, which focuses on resident education, volunteerism and engagement,” a press release said. “Items in the Action Plans include passive participation opportunities like knowing where to find evacuation information and reviewing the ‘Ready Set Go’ Program, to more active volunteerism like joining the Fire Watch Group.”

OCFA trains volunteers to stay alert during months when extreme weather is possible—generally September through November.

 Fire Chief Brian Fennessy said crews can respond more effectively with good design and educated residents.

“Rancho Mission Viejo has been a regional leader in Firewise planning for many years,” Fennessy said. “Our partnership and collaboration with Rancho Mission Viejo helps make these communities safer and as prepared as any in the county.”

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at

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