Newsletter #46

October 20, 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 successful implementation across the West. 

In this issue:

Over 100 stakeholders participate in shared learning in Casper, WY.  Photo: Kate Lighthall

Wyoming and South Dakota Cohesive Strategy Workshop a Great Success

Stakeholders in Wyoming and South Dakota gathered October 13th-14th to learn from their peers about how the Cohesive Strategy is being implemented there and make recommendations for collaborative, cross-boundary actions for continued and increased efforts towards "living with wildland fire" through Resilient Landscapes, Fire Adapted Communities and a Safe, Effective, Risk-Based Wildfire Response. The diverse group shared case studies and discussed barriers and opportunities for further success across local landscapes.  Read more here.    
Vicki Christiansen, Associate Deputy Chief, US Forest Service at
IAWF's 5th Fire & Fuels Behavior Conference, April, 2016.  Photo: IAWF.

Shared Problems, Shared Solutions

In September's issue of Wildfire Magazine, the International Association of Wildland Fire shares a compelling presentation by Vicki Christiansen, Associate Deputy Chief of the US Forest Service. In her comprehensive conversation about the challenges we face today, Ms. Christiansen describes a realistic picture of the "gnarly complex problem" and the scale of our fire challenges today. She offers a forecast for where we need to go next in the context of the Cohesive Strategy, and how a key element of our steps forward should focus on "life first."  A must-read (and watch) for those of us implementing the Cohesive Strategy.  Find it here

Climate Change Has Doubled Fires

A new study says that human-induced climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the western US over the last 30 years. Since 1984, heightened temperatures have dried out forests, causing fires to spread across an additional 16,000 square miles than they otherwise would have. Scientists and public officials have in part blamed climate change for this increase. This study quantifies that assertion. Read more here

Walk Into Wildfire

Always on the lookout for creative educational success stories, "Walk Into Wildfire," provides an immersive visual production in Bozeman, Montana that allows the audience to confront wildfire's presence, and explore its behavior, hazards and beauty.  Read more and watch the video here.   
Lemhi Mountain Range in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Photo: Lemhi Forest Restoration Group.

Idaho Makes Good Use of
Good Neighbor Authority

Idaho Governor Butch Otter recently shared his thoughts on how Idaho is fighting wildfires through the power of partnerships. He touted the diverse interests working together in unprecedented ways to improve the health and resiliency of Idaho's lands.  

He pointed to the overall goal of reducing large wildfires as he outlined the Idaho Department of Lands' recent auction of a federal timber sale for the first time in Idaho. Under the Good Neighbor Authority, Idaho is working with the US Forest Service, Tribes, timber companies and other forest partners, on an "all lands" approach to restoring forested lands and providing additional wood to sustain Idaho's forest products industry - very Cohesive Strategy.  Read more here

Love Your Beer, Love Your Forest

Beer is 90% water and 50% of our water comes from forests that capture, store and filter our water. Over 82 million acres of our forests (the size of Colorado!) need restoration. Beer's main ingredient is at risk!  The Nature Conservancy is pairing up with breweries to raise awareness about the need for healthy forests and forest restoration. Read more and watch the video here.
Prescribed fire near Naches, WA in September, 2016.  Photo: Shawn Gust, Yakima Herald-Republic.

How Do You Want Your Smoke?

The Forest Resiliency Burning Pilot aims to expand the use of prescribed fire and address its limitations: smoke impacts, complicated planning and costs. Passed by the Washington State legislature in Spring 2016, local fuels managers are putting fire to work now under the new legislation. In addition to the goals above, the Pilot hopes to change the misperceptions about fire as the enemy and raise community support for more prescribed fire being used as a tool in the future. More here.

Insurance and Wildfire


The FAC Network recently interviewed Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. With millions at stake each year for claims resulting from wildland fire, insurance companies can and are playing a role in reducing risks of wildland fire transmission and losses.  In a two-part blog post, the FAC Network shares compelling questions and Ms. Walker's answers about insurance and wildland fire. Read interviews here.

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

November 2-6, 2016 - Society of American Foresters National Convention in Madison, WI.  The 2016 SAF National Convention will explore the rich history of forestry, land stewardship, and the connections that unite all who create, manage, use, and conserve forests and associated resources to meet desired goals, needs, and values. Registration open now. 

November 10, 2016 - Fire Adapted Cities: Prescribed Fire Use in Urban and Community Forest Management. Webinar - 10:00 AM Pacific / 11:00 AM Mountain / Noon Central / 1:00 PM Eastern.  Justice Jones (Austin, TX) and Mike Wharton (Athens, GA) will be the presenters for this webinar hosted by the Southern Regional Extension Forestry and Southern Fire Exchange.

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.  “Beyond Hazardous Fuels: Managing Fire for Social, Economic and Ecological Benefits,” hosted by AFE and the Southwest Fire Science Consortium. 

December 7-9, 2016 - Changing Fire Regimes in Manhattan, Kansas. Workshop will address safe use of prescribed fire to preserve prairies and reduce flammable fuel loads in rural areas, starting a prescribed fire burning association and finding equipment and training to safely conduct prescribed fire. Contact Paula Matile for more information. 
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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