Newsletter #45

September 26, 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:

WFLC field tour of 2013 Pony Fire and management activities near Boise, ID. Photo:

WFLC Holds Productive Fall Meeting in Idaho

The Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) met September 7th and 8th in Boise, Idaho. The activities for their fall meeting included an eye-opening field tour of the 2013 Pony Fire, a tour of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and a productive face-to-face meeting. Meeting highlights here.  
Prescribed fire training exchange (TREX) in northern California in 2015. Photo: Mid Klamath Watershed Council

Native Traditional Methods Revived to Combat Drought and Wildfire in California

California Native American Tribes are sharing traditional methods for tending the land with the US Forest Service to help ease droughts and create barriers to wildfires. The Amah Mutsun, Karuk, Yurok, Hupa and North Fork Mono Tribes, among others, have traditionally carried out controlled burning every year in the fall, to preserve useful plants and prevent larger fires.  The revival of these traditional land management practices, such as the restoration of meadows, can help contain wildfires and lessen the effects of drought by keeping more water in the ground and thinning the forest canopy, thus creating more open, wetter buffers to large fires. Read more here
Blue Cut Fire in California August 2016. Photo: Mike Nelson, EPA

Carrots, Sticks and the "Stupid Zone"

Tucked among the fire reports this month have been articles about the need, and justification, for more robust land use planning regulations, development standards and codes and ordinances that level some of the responsibility for home and fire protection back on the homebuilders, developers, cities and counties.  The Cohesive Strategy supports these efforts in communities as a valuable component to becoming more fire adapted.  Developers in Washington and Oregon are proactively choosing to build Firewise Communities from the ground up.  In Plumas County, California and Deschutes County, Oregon, officials have adopted regulations that ensure Firewise standards will be utilized throughout developments in "the Stupid Zone" - the term one humorist gives to areas with identified hazards where people choose to build homes anyhow.  Read more about these examples here

Using Fire for Resource Benefit Helping Restore Sierra Nevada Forests

In our continued support of using fire for resource benefit, a recently published study suggests that fire management approaches used by the National Park Service in Yosemite National Park can assist in the restoration and maintenance of Sierra Nevada forest ecosystems. More here
Beaver Creek Fire, Colorado.  Photo: Helen Richardson, Denver Post. 

38,000 Acre Learning Laboratory

We continue to see a paradigm shift in the firefighting strategy across the West. The Beaver Creek Fire is providing an opportunity to learn about how fires behave on beetle killed landscapes, how the strategy of point protection can be the right approach, and how the US Forest Service's Life First Initiative is being embraced by fire managers and saving lives.  More here

Northern New Mexico and Southwestern Colorado field tour.  Photo: Paul Orbuch

Cross Boundary Field Tour Demonstrates Cohesive Strategy in Action

On August 18 and 19, community members, land managers and community groups embarked on a two-state field tour that demonstrated how they work together to make landscapes more resilient and communities safer. US Forest Service State & Private Deputy Chief Jim Hubbard and Associate Deputy Chief Vicki Christiansen were among the visitors for the tour as part of a cross-boundary Cohesive Strategy visit to Northern New Mexico and Southwestern Colorado. At each stop, the group learned about successful projects and efforts that are the direct result of diverse partners working together, across boundaries to protect headwaters and communities.  Read more here


2016 State & Private Forestry Report Out

The 2016 State and Private Forestry Report is out. The report illustrates just a few of the accomplishments, new initiatives, and on-the-ground impacts that are a result of more than five years of Forest Action Plan implementation.  Lots of great Cohesive Strategy behavior highlighted! More here

Prescribed Fire Road Show


In an effort to increase the use of prescribed fire here in the West, the Fire Learning Network supported a recent "road show"  between practitioners from the midwest and those in northern California and southern Oregon. Six guests from the Great Plains shared information and best practices about alliances and collaborative efforts with private landowners over the last 15 years that have led to tens of thousands of acres of prescribed fire each year. The road show consisted of workshops and field tours with local land managers and ranchers, and it generated rich discussions about what it would take to use more prescribed fire on private lands. Read details here.

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

October 18-21, 2016 - Natural Areas Association Conference in Davis, CA.  This conference will address “Climate Change Adaptation and Natural Areas Management: Turning Words to Action.”

October 24-28, 2016 - Wildland Fire Canada 2016: Building Resilience in Kelowna, BC. Registration open now.

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. 
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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