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WRSC Newsletter #8 11/22/2013
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Rangeland Fire Protection Associations

"Neighbors Helping Neighbors"

Providing fire protection for unprotected acres is an important part of the Western Regional Action Plan. Action 3.1 says, " Eliminate unprotected areas by establishing/extending jurisdictional responsibilities." Oregon provides a model for reducing unprotected acres with Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPA) of local landowners. Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) provides training and access to equipment for RFPAs. In 2012, ODF assisted Idaho in forming Idaho's first RFPA, near Mountain Home. The RFPA works with BLM and adjacent landowners to fight fires while they are small, reducing the acres lost to wildfire. This video tells the story of the Idaho RFPA and the Stoutt Fire. Watch the video >
Direction to DOI Wildland Fire Leadership

The Directors of the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Fish and Wildlife Service have issued direction to their leadership in support of the National Cohesive Strategy. They say, "To realize the vision of the Cohesive Strategy and to achieve its three principal goals, we must continue internal and external engagement throughout implementation. Success in protecting our landscapes, communities, and responders will require all of us to do our part. As we consider what is at stake -- lives, and valued tribal, cultural, and natural resources -- we are convinced that collectively we can and will meet the challenge."

The WRSC newsletter is our primary communication tool with our partners and members of the public. Feel free to contact us with ideas for articles or comments.

Prescribed Fire Training
A prescribed fire training exchange took place in northern New Mexico in October, hosted by the Forest Guild, with support from the Fire Learning Network. The burning was part of a larger Collaborative Forest Restoration Program, and was aimed at improving forest health and community safety near Angel Fire, while building local capacity. This video shows the mop-up procedures the crew used to prevent escapes from the burn, in an area near homes. Local news stories before and after the burn showed a shift in public attitudes toward prescribed burning. Before the burn, homeowners expressed some concern, as they remembered the Los Conchas fires. After the burn, the local fire department and homeowners were more positive about prescribed burning. Watch the video >
WRSC Annual Meeting 2013

Members of the WRSC met in Salt Lake City on November 12 and 13 to hear the findings of the National Science and Analysis Team. Danny Lee of the US Forest Service described the national science analysis process and showed maps that will be in the National Cohesive Strategy Phase III document. Other presentations at the meeting included demonstrations of the collaborative efforts on the Blue Mountain Pilot Project; increasing the pace and scale of landscape level treatments; increased fire protection through RFPAs; and the far-reaching efforts of the Fire Adpated Communities Learning Networks. The group also reviewed the top priority actions in the Western Regional Action Plan and assigned specific actions to Work Groups for advancement over the next year, which will lead up to a comprehensive review of the Action Plan. The work will continue with our monthly WRSC conference calls, so stay tuned!  
Are Actively Managed Forests More Resilient than Passively Managed Forests?

Jay O'Laughlin, Director of the University of Idaho's College of Natural Resources Policy Analysis Group, was asked a question by Gov. Butch Otter’s office: "Do we have data showing the benefit of managed lands vs. unmanaged lands in mitigating fire risk?" This question is at the core of the Cohesive Strategy goal of restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes. Using existing studies as well as the Western Regional Risk Analysis Report and the Western Regional Action Plan, Dr. O'Laughlin’s response to the Governor's question is that active management in strategic locations and at appropriate scales can have a positive benefit-to-cost relationship when the avoided costs of future wildfire suppression are considered. The paper concludes that, "active management can provide a triple win by improving forest conditions, especially wildfire resilience; providing consumer products with renewable energy feedstocks as a byproduct; and revitalizing rural communities by putting people to work". Read more > 
Upcoming Learning Opportunities

December 10 10:30 - 12:00 MST "Human Side of Restoration Webinar Series". Register here >

December 11 12:30 - 2:45 EST "National Stewardship Contracting Virtual Meeting", sponsored by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation. For more information, contact Brian Kittler.

December 12  10 AM - 4PM PST "Still Standing - Wildland Fire and Resiliency" Dialog Session 11 on issues that affect the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades.  Find more information here >
Katie Lighthall
Coordinator, Western Region
National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy
Ann Walker
Co-Chair Western Region
Western Governors' Association
Tony Harwood
Co-chair Western Region
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Kent Connaughton
Co-Chair Western Region
US Forest Service

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