Newsletter #41

April 21, 2016


Resilient Landscapes
Fire Adapted Communities
Safe & Effective Wildfire Response
A publication by the Western Region to highlight progress within the framework of the
Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy and demonstrations of success across the West. 

In this issue:

Cohesive Strategy in Motion

The Cohesive Strategy is alive and well in South Dakota where federal, state, tribal, county and local agencies and organizations are working together, across boundaries through community engagement and wise stewardship to increase the resilience of landscapes and create fire adapted communities. Click here for video.
Crews tend kilns as they make charcoal from pinion-juniper trees near Ely, NV. Photo: Nevada Division of Forestry

Using Pinyon Juniper for Bio Char

In Nevada, state land stewards are experimenting with an ancient method to improve the health of Nevada forests and make use of the renewable resource — baking tree trunks and limbs in a slow cooker to turn them into charcoal. This "bio-char" is used to improve soil nutrients and water retention.  

The idea is a result of the out-of-the-box thinking about the the untended, pinyon and juniper encroachment of Nevada's mountain ranges that are threatening sage-steppe habitat and at extreme risk of devastating wildfires, disease and insect infestations.
 More here.
SDG&E crews mitigate damage during a wildfire.  Photo: SDG&E

Private Partnerships Winning at Reducing Risk

Serving 3.4 million people in south Orange and San Diego Counties in California, San Diego Gas & Electric is no stranger to wildland fire issues.  In 2003, the company sustained $30 million in damage to their power lines and infrastructure from wildfire. In 2007, investigators found SDG&E equipment was responsible for three wildfires. As a result, SDG&E started a fire prevention and protection program that has grown into a proactive vegetation managment model for company and community success. 

In partnership with local fire departments, Cal Fire and local Tribes, SDG&E is reducing risk with fuel breaks and prescribed fire around communities and power line corridors.  They are most proud of their work within communities and have donated $900,000 to communities and local Fire Safe Councils for emergency response teams, community projects and wildfire prevention and education efforts.  SDG&E also provides a Type 1 helicopter and 10 Type 6 engines to support interagency response efforts in the region.  Full article here

Blue Mountain Forest Restoration Strategy Team field tour. Photo: US Forest Service.

Thinking Outside the Box
for LARGE Landscape Resiliency

When more than 2.3 million acres out of 6 million acres are in need of active restoration what do you do? Traditional planning efforts are not keeping pace with forest growth. If you want to promote a healthy and productive forest, you must plan differently, at a larger scale and faster pace.  The US Forest Service Blue Mountain Forest Restoration Strategy Team aims to address a landscape ten times bigger than current projects and complete the planning in just over a year. Planning big for big results. Read more here
 South Fork American River. Photo:

$5.1 Million for Cohesive Strategy Implementation

The Eldorado National Forest received $5.1 million in special supplemental funding this year to support Cohesive Strategy efforts to reduce the threat of wildfire and the risk of insects and disease in the South Fork American River Watershed. "The values to be protected in this watershed are critical to the local and regional economy and to ecosystem health," said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree.  "Most importantly, this is where we have the largest number of people living near the forest, the most recreational use, and a recurring pattern of difficult to control wildfires." More here.
John Magura of Kaibab National Forest.  
Photo: Taylor Mahoney, Arizona Daily Sun.

4FRI Gets
$10 Million Boost

The US Forest Service will inject up to $10 million per year for 10 years in Northern Arizona’s Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) to help accelerate work on the 2.4 million-acre forest health project. The funding will be used to hire and contract with more people and increase the amount of acreage in timber sales and stewardship contracts. More here
 Photo: Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership

Creative Ways to Raise Awareness
and Motivate Action in Communities

May is Wildfire Preparedness Month across many states in the West and each year the creativity blooms as organizations find innovative ways to engage communities, raise awareness and motivate action.  These efforts help communities become more fire-adapted! 

Let us know how you are helping to create Fire Adapted Communities in your area! 

How Can Communities Get More Involved in Federal Fire Management?


Bill Tripp and Darren Borgias, leaders in the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network and Fire Learning Network Community of Practice for Using Fire (CPUF), recently led a webinar that offers insights into some opportunities for doable, system-level fixes. Here are a few examples of the stages in the life cycle of a wildland fire and where CPUF may consider networking around innovations, especially on federally managed public lands.

  • Fire Planning - collaborators get together prior to federal planning to map things across the landscape that are important to them and their communities.
  • Tribal Consultation - tribes engage in dialogue with federal partners in a different way than the general public, more and at different times than dictated by the NEPA process.
  • During a Large Fire - Incident Management Teams work with local liaisons who bring valuable knowledge about the local area, local fire management practices, and stakeholders’ goals.
  • Wildland Fire Decision Support System - incorporates input from multi-stakeholder collaborations before, during and after wildfires. 
Read the full blog post here.

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

May 7, 2016 - Wildfire Community Preparedness Day / Everytown, USA   

July 17-20, 2016 - North American Prairie Conference—From Cemetery Prairies to National Tallgrass Prairies Illinois State University is hosting this conference, with presentations on prairie ecology, restoration, management and some innovative ideas on working lands.

November 14-17, 2016 - International Smoke Symposium  The IAWF and the NWCG SmoC (smoke committee) will be hosting this in-person / virtual symposium. The call for presentations is now open; submissions are due by May 16.     

November 28 - December 2, 2016 - Southwest Association for Fire Ecology Conference in Tucson, AZ.  Save the date for “Beyond Hazardous Fuels: Managing Fire for Social, Economic and Ecological Benefits,” hosted by AFE and the Southwest Fire Science Consortium. 
Articles and information from around the West that demonstrate collaborative efforts
and meaningful progress towards Resilient Landscapes, Fire Adapted Communities
and Safe & Effective Wildfire Response.

Contact:  Kate Lighthall, WRSC Coordinator:

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