Newsletter #44

August 11, 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:

The "Flagstaff Model" of restoration works well in some areas, but not in others such as chaparral shrublands.
Photo: Stephen Pyne. 

Recreating the Forests of the Past Isn't Enough to Fix Our Wildfire Problems

Stephen Pyne, Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, lends his thoughts and consideration to the theory that restoration of forests is the answer to out-of-whack wildlands with bigger, hotter, more savage wildfires than in the past. Pyne submits that in the West, fire officers are pushing away from the former restoration ideal into something akin to a resilience model. More here
West Simms: A Burn Story

Using Prescribed Fire as the First Treatment Instead of Mechanical Entries


The Western Klamath Restoration Partnership (WKRP) continues to be one of the most successful collaborative efforts towards landscape resiliency, fire adapted communities and safe, effective wildland fire response - implementing the Cohesive Strategy on the ground.  

In this short video Will Harling and Bill Tripp explain the problematic paradigm of the last few decades and how they are approaching the need for treatment with prescribed fire as an initial tool instead of treating with mechanical efforts first. More
Log home in the wildland urban interface in Central Oregon. Photo:

Does Insurance Affect Home Development
on Fire-Prone Lands? 

Headwaters Economics has completed a review and concluded that it is unlikely that insurance rates and policies alone will determine whether or not a landowner decides to build a new home on fire-prone land.

The most likely way that insurance companies will play a role in reducing wildfire risk is by developing financial rewards, such as lower rates, that are tied to fire-safe practices such as the use of flame-retardant building materials, creation of defensible space, and reduction of flammable fuels near homes. Homeowners insurance alone however, is not a strong enough market force today to solve the problem of home development in the wildfire-prone WUI.  More
 Piling debris for biomass utilization in Arizona.  Photo:

Test Project in Arizona
to Burn Forest Fuels at a Coal Plant

The Salt River Project is exploring the feasibility of using forest debris as a supplemental fuel at its Coronado Generating Station, a coal plant, in St. Johns, Arizona, to improve the health of Arizona’s forests and watersheds. The project will not require any permanent modifications to the power plant.  More here

Clearing the Smoke from Wildfire Policy

The Wildfire Solutions Summit was held in Bozeman, MT July 21-22, 2016.  The event kicked off with a reception that featured "Entering Wildfire," and immersive art experience. Click above to see the display. 

Among the featured speakers, the Summit included presentations from Dean Lueck and Jonathan Yoder, co-authors of Clearing the Smoke from Wildfire Policy, on their recent publication and the evolution of wildfire institutions, policy and an analysis of proposed reforms. More here.


Winning at Communications

In our quest to share examples of great communications efforts within the Cohesive Strategy framework, our eyes landed on this fantastic publication. The Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership developed an eight-page color insert for the Arizona Daily Sun over the 4th of July weekend. It's packed with examples of treatments that made a difference during wildfires, great graphics to explain healthy forests, prescribed fire and fire adapted communities.  Read more and get full publication here.  
McClure Fire in the Santa Fe Watershed. Photo: USDA

To Manage or Suppress:
The McClure Fire Example

More and more, the conversation is moving around how fire management agencies are "managing" fires versus suppressing them, when it's the right decision to make for the landscape and natural resources, the communities, and for public and firefighter safety.  This is a substantial paradigm shift in fire operation strategy that the Cohesive Strategy supports.  But, that doesn't mean every fire is an opportunity for management over suppression. Making these risk-based decisions means considering many variables - why risk injury to firefighters on steep ground with limited access? Why respond aggressively to fire in a wilderness area where natural processes like fire are better left alone?  And why respond to a lightning caused fire that was in a place approved for prescribed fire?  

Read more about the McClure Fire here and why the Santa Fe National Forest chose to SUPPRESS this fire. And, read more here to find out how the Santa Fe National Forest looked at risks and chose to MANAGE the current Virgin Fire there. 

Occupy wildfires: the story of the 1% | Jessica Haas | TEDxBozeman

Using the 99% Fires to Combat the 1% Fires


Jessica Haas delivers a very relevant TEDx talk about the confluence of society and nature leading to catastrophic wildfires - the 1%.  With more and more people moving into the wildlands, the probability of these 1% fires is increasing.  Foresters, hydrologists, architects, engineers, community planners and community members must work together to design future fire resistant and fire adapted communities. Very Cohesive Strategy. Click above to watch.

The 4 Rights Campaign:
Prescribed Fire is Right 4 the Enviroment


The 4 Rights Campaign is being spearheaded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Pacific Region. It revolves around the notion of prescribed fire being done at the Right Time, with the Right People, in the Right Place, as the Right Choice.

The 4 Rights campaign is an important communications and engagement tool that can be easily adapted and used in local communities. It provides solid guidance on the basic factors needed to successfully conduct small-scale, family-based burning, or for large-scale, professionally structured burning practices. Different scenarios can be developed it can be scaled from an individual level to a Type 1 Incident Commander overseeing burning operations across jurisdictional boundaries. The campaign is encouraging more people to get engaged in the proper use of fire across all lands to accomplish balanced social, economic and ecological objectives for generations to come. Read the full blog post here

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

August 30, 2106 - 11 AM Webinar: Land Use Planning to Reduce Wildfire Risk: Lessons from 5 Western Cities by Dr. Kimiko Barrett, Headwaters Economics. Please share with your local city and county planners. 

September 19-22, 2016 - 2016 NASF Annual Meeting in Savannah, GA. Georgia Forestry Commission and NASF will bring together the nation's forestry and wildfire leaders for a week of business, learning and networking. 

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. 
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:

Copyright © 2016 Western Region, National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.  
All rights reserved.   

To UNSUBSCRIBE, please email Coordinator.  
DO NOT click on the unsubscribe link below.