The Victorian Country Fire Authority in Australia runs the Community Fireguard (CFG) programme to assist individuals and communities in preparing for fire. The objective of this qualitative research was to understand the impact of CFG groups on their members' fire preparedness and response during the 2009 Australian bushfires. Social connectedness emerged as a strong theme, leading to an analysis of data using social capital theory. The main strength of the CFG programme was that it was driven by innovative community members; however, concerns arose regarding the extent to which the programme covered all vulnerable areas, which led the research team to explore the theory of diffusion of innovation. The article concludes by stepping back from the evaluation and using both applied theories to reflect on broad options for community fire preparedness programmes in general. The exercise produced two contrasting options for principles underlying community fire preparedness programmes.