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WRSC Newsletter #14 05/16/2014
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The WRSC delivers articles and stories here 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 members of the public. Feel free to contact us with ideas for articles or comments. 

2013 - Oregon’s Worst Fire Season in 60 Years

Oregon State Forester Doug Decker said, “It was a fire season of a lifetime”.  “2013: An Epic Fire Season” is a video produced by Oregon Department of Forestry which chronicles the state's worst fire season since the 1950’s. More than 100,000 acres burned on state protected land, and three firefighters died. There were 6,000 firefighters from 35 states deployed on fires in Oregon. The ODF notes the importance of coordination of federal and state agencies and relationships with landowners to address the threats. Coordination and collaboration are the heart of the Cohesive Strategy! Watch the video >

Protecting Air Quality and Forests with a Biomass Plant

A new biomass gasification plant located near the north end of Lake Tahoe will recycle biomass harvested from the surrounding forests, reduce air pollution from pile burning, and provide energy for local needs. Phoenix Energy will build and operate a 2-megawatt plant that will utilize forest biomass from Placer County’s fuel reduction activities to make electricity, heat, and biochar. The plant will reduce the county’s reliance on pile and burn methods of reducing fuels, which was creating unacceptable air pollution levels. The Western Regional Action Plan supports biomass utilization under Goal 1, Restore and Maintain Resilient Landscapes, and the reduction of smoke emissions under Goal 2, Create Fire Adapted Communities. Read more and watch a video about the benefits of the gasification plant here >

Spring Prescribed Fire Training in Nebraska


In preparation for fire season, The Nature Conservancy led a ten-day prescribed fire training exchange at the Niobrara Valley Preserve and Loup River area, in Nebraska. The exchange drew firefighters from around the country and as far away as Spain, to learn how to use fire to reduce fuels to reduce fire severity. In addition to providing training to firefighters and university students, the prescribed fires treated over 3,000 acres of private land to reduce encroachment by invasive eastern red cedars and increase forage for grazing animals. The Western Regional Action Plan supports the use of prescribed fire under Goal 1, Restore and Maintain Resilient Landscapes. Read more >

Western Wildfires Bigger and More Frequent


Shades of red in the map above show the areas of high risk of large, long-duration wildfires from the Cohesive Strategy's Phase III National Strategy document. The high risk of large areas of the West is also documented in a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters

The study of wildfire size and severity in the West since 1984 shows an increase in the number of wildfires over 1,000 acres and the number of acres burned. The researchers used satellite data to measure areas burned by large fires each year, and related it to climate variables during the same period. They found a direct relationship between fire severity and drought. The strongest rise in fire activity was found across the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada and Arizona-New Mexico mountains; the southwest desert in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Texas; and the southern plains across western Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Eastern Colorado. Read more here > 

See the National Cohesive Strategy Priority Maps here > 

Insurance Discounts for California Firewise Communities

Homeowners in recognized Firewise Communities/USA in California will receive discounts on their homeowners insurance from USAA Insurance. “USAA realizes that it’s not just about one house in a neighborhood. When a whole neighborhood or community takes action, everyone can benefit by reducing the threat of a wildfire,” said Michele Steinberg, NFPA’s Wildland Fire Project Manager. The Western Regional Action Plan supports incentives for homeowners to reduce fuels under Goal 2, Create Fire Adapted Communities. Read more here >

Photos from Community Wildfire Preparedness Day - May 3rd, in Oregon and Colorado 

Squaw Creek Canyon Estates

Central Oregon FireFree

Ashland Firewise

Ashland Firewise

FireWise of Southwest Colorado

FireWise of Southwest Colorado

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.
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

WRSC e-Newsletter produced by Renner Associates LLC

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