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WRSC Newsletter #22 09/10/2014
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The Western Regional Strategy Committee (WRSC) delivers articles and stories each month that demonstrate the collaborative efforts of agencies, organizations and communities supporting and promoting the three goals of the Cohesive Strategy: Restoring Resilient Landscapes, Creating Fire Adapted Communities and Responding to Wildfire. The newsletter is our primary communication tool with our partners and the public. Past issues of the WRSC newsletter are available on our blog. Feel free to contact us with ideas for articles or comments. 

Web Portal for Colorado Westwide Risk Assessment Info 

Have you explored CO-WRAP, the Colorado State Forest Service’s online web portal yet? The website provides access to Colorado’s information from the Westwide Risk Assessment, with some enhancements, and can create a 78 page report on wildfire risk for any area in just minutes! The report will have maps and charts showing wildfire risk, wildfire threat and wildfire effects. Wildfire Risk is comparative across the state and combines the attributes of fire threat (the likelihood of fire occurring at any place) and the effects of fire on important values. The portal is a web-mapping tool that helps community leaders, professional planners, and citizens determine the location of areas of high wildfire risk to create fire protection plans, community wildfire protection plans, forest stewardship plans, or to identify priority fuels treatment areas.
Information contained in the Westwide Risk Assessment was delivered to each state and to the US Forest Service in December 2012. Contact your State Forester for information on your state. Colorado is the first western state to set up a web portal. Since the website was launched in the Spring of 2013, the website has been visited over 5,000 times, over 400 people have registered to use the advanced mapping tool, the Professional Viewer, and 350 wildfire risk summary reports have been generated. Web portals for the Southeastern Region included the Texas portal and the Southeastern Regional portal, SouthWRAP.  Visit the CO-WRAP website, or contact Rich Homann, for more information.

New Mexico Protects Watersheds and Water

Governor Susana Martinez recently announced $6.2 million for watershed restoration on public lands throughout New Mexico to help restore and rehabilitate vulnerable watersheds, improving water quality and quantity. The funding will treat approximately 7,700 acres in 14 high priority watershed areas on public lands, as identified in the New Mexico Forest Action Plan. One project will remove invasive species along two rivers. Another will thin an overstocked watershed and use the cut material for erosion control in an adjoining burn rehabilitation area. The projects will also reduce threats to public and firefighter safety, as well as reduce ecological threats. Healthy watersheds provide economic benefits such as improved recreational opportunities, forest products, livestock forage, and wildlife habitat. The projects will also bring jobs to rural communities. These projects are consistent with the Western Regional Action Plan's goals of restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes, creating fire adapted communities and improving fire response.

Utah Develops Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy

Utah's Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy was developed following the severe wildfire season of 2012. The program is Utah's interpretation of the National Cohesive Strategy, and takes a holistic approach to effectively reducing the frequency and impact of damaging wildfires. During the initial implementation period, the focus of the program is on fuel treatment projects to restore and maintain resilient landscapes. Projects are strategically positioned to support or augment existing treatments completed by state or federal cooperators.

As the program moves forward, the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands will also address the Cohesive Strategy goals of Fire Adapted Communities and improved suppression response and capacity. The Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy also includes a state based risk assessment and prioritization matrix based on the Westwide Wildfire Risk Assessment. Utah will integrate an improved state risk matrix to accurately focus funds on areas of highest risk, and to use funds efficiently.  See the Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy Report, or contact Nate Barrons, CatFire Coordinator, for more information.  

Keep Oregon Green Kicks Off Campaign   

Keep Oregon Green has introduced a new education campaign using 30 second PSAs featuring the state's college football coaches. Coaches Helfrich and Riley give tips on defensible space, debris burning and campfires, while also supporting the Ducks and the Beavers. Good advice includes, " Shore up your defensible space by making your home lean, clean, and green!" "Don't fumble by leaving a fire unattended!" And, "Score a touchdown by keeping Oregon's forests green and beautiful!" The PSAs are featured on the Keep Oregon Green website, and each is supported by more detailed information. 

Arizona Wildfires Managed for Forest Health

The Belknap Fire in Arizona's Tusayan Ranger District was started by lightning, and is being managed for resource benefits, rather than suppressed. Fire managers are using both aerial and hand ignitions to establish low-intensity fire at the tops of ridges, to reduce the risk of undesirable high-intensity uphill runs. The fire has grown to approximately 3,000 acres. "I am extremely pleased with the success we've had with managed fire this year on the Kaibab National Forest, " said Mike Williams, Forest Supervisor. "We've been able to treat more than 28,000 acres since the monsoons began, which is an incredible accomplishment and a huge step toward improving forest conditions in those areas." Read more here >.

Arizona's accomplishments with wildfire in 2014 also include notable results with the Slide Fire and the San Juan Fire. In a recent op-ed called "The Two Wildfires Everyone Should be Talking About", Wally Covington describes how fuels treatments were instrumental in reducing losses and protecting communities. The Western Regional Action Plan supports fuels treatment and using fire for resource benefits under Goal 1, Restore and maintain resilient landscapes.

San Diego Utility Pays for Helicopters

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) has signed agreements with the City and County of San Diego to pay up to $300,000 for helicopter support for wildfires. SDG&E's contribution will cover the services of an Erikson Air-Crane helitanker. The money will also cover the addition of a Type II helicopter from Helistream Aviation through November. Officials praised the partnership, calling air support crucial to battling wildfires before they can race out of control. "Collaboration between public and private entities over the past several years has been vital to ensuring that our region is well prepared for the next emergency", said San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts. The Western Regional Action Plan supports collaboration and partnerships in increasing response capacity under Goal 3, Improve response effectiveness. Read more here >.

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

September 16 Eureka Fire, Centennial Valley MT Contact Nathan Korb for more information.

September 16-18 State-and-Transition Simulation Modeling Conference - Ft. Collins, CO. Conference information >

October 23-24 National Workshop on Large Landscape Conservation, Washington, DC. Conference information >

November 6-8 Wildland Fire Smoke Workshop - Albuquerque, NM. Conference information >
Stay up-to-date with the WRSC by visiting our web channel! We invite your comments!
Does your agency or community have a project or event you'd like to see featured in the WRSC Newsletter? Tell us about it! Just contact Cheryl Renner.
Tony Harwood
Co-chair (Tribal representative)
Confederated Salsih and Kootenai Tribes
Ann Walker
Co-Chair (Non-federal representative) 
Western Governors' Association
Brad Washa
Co-chair (shared Federal representative)
Bureau of Land Management
Denise Blankenship
Co-Chair (shared Federal representative)
US Forest Service
Katie Lighthall
Coordinator, Western Region
Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy 
Cheryl Renner
Communications Support, Western Region
Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy
Copyright © 2014 Western Regional Strategy Committee, All rights reserved.

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