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WRSC Newsletter #21 08/27/2014
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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 Resilient Landscapes, Fire Adapted Communities and Wildfire Response. 

Archived issues of the WRSC newsletter are available on our web channel. Feel free to contact us with ideas for articles or comments. 

A Day in the Life of a Smokejumper

A recent KQED news feature takes an inside look at the job of California's Smokejumpers. This crew of 40 smokejumpers is one of only nine teams in the country that parachute into very remote areas to fight fires that can't be accessed any other way. The video embedded in the story shows the job, not just the excitement of the jump, but also the days of work fighting fire that follow. Smokejumpers provide aggressive initial attack in areas inaccessible to vehicles, implementing one of the guiding principles of the Cohesive Strategy -- "Safe aggressive attack is often the best suppression strategy to keep unwanted wildfires small and costs down". Well worth the 4 minutes it takes to watch the video!  

Military Surplus Equipment Program Reinstated

In June, the Department of Defense (DoD) froze two programs that supply state and local firefighters with trucks, pumps, generators, and engine parts that are used in firefighting, citing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. The NASF and fire department representatives responded quickly by contacting members of Congress. A letter was sent by a group of 25 senators urging Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to restart the program saying, "We are deeply concerned that this decision was made during the peak of wildfire season". On August 19th, the DoD announced that the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and EPA have reached an agreement that will allow the full resumption of the Federal Excess Personal Property and the Firefighter Property programs. Many Western fire departments and rangeland protection associations are dependent on the federal excess property programs for resources to fight wildfire. Without this equipment, the ability to fight fire would be severely compromised. The Western Regional Action Plan supports increasing local capacity to fight fire under Goal 3. Read the story here >.

As an example of the bargains available, the photo above shows a wildland fire truck owned by the Juniper Flat Rural Fire Protection District. Their cost for this truck was: Oregon Department of Forestry fees - $1925.00, shipping - $600.00, and less than $1000.00 out of pocket to build, using surplus parts and grant awarded equipment, including: 1700 gals, five bumper nozzles, one manual monitor by driver mirror, 500' quick lay, two 200' Blitz attacks crossways which can be used with hose packs to make a progressive hose lay, 1000' hose packs, wireless firecom headset/intercom system (moves from truck to truck), 6" dump, and 24 hp pump. Chief Eugene Walters tells us, "I scrapped a 40 year old, out of service fire truck for all the valves; the pump and hose came from a Rural Fire Assistance grant some years ago, and was moved to this truck. The tank was acquired from FEPP/USFS 15 years ago. It took about a month to put together. We are looking for donations for the paint." 

2013 Communities at Risk Report

National Association of State Foresters (NASF) has released the latest report on Communities at Risk (CARs) and actions those communities are taking to reduce wildfire risk. The State Foresters have identified 72,681 communities at risk nationwide. Of those, 17,060 are covered by a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), or 23%. In the West, there are 7,606 CARs and 6,108, or 80%, are covered by a CWPP. However, only 1,184 Western communities at risk, or 15%, are recognized as being at reduced risk. There have also been national increases in firefighting capacity, with 61,204 firefighters trained and 12,041 communities assisted by State Fire Assistance or Volunteer Fire Assistance funding.  Goal 2 of the Western Regional Action Plan addresses encouraging Fire Adapted Communities. Read the report here >.

Does National Fire Policy Impact the Small Woodland Owner?

The editors of Northwest Woodlands asked Ann Walker the question above, and she answers it with a discussion of national laws relating to wildfire, the development of the National Cohesive Strategy, and insight into what woodland owners need to consider before a wildfire. The article asks important questions like, "What if you live in an area that doesn't have a fire department or a state forestry department to respond to your fire call?" The answer is not simple, and it involves becoming involved and proactive. "Private and industrial landowners, large and small fire/forestry agencies, tribes, and non-governmental groups have all felt the impacts of national fire policy and will need to continue to come together to address our nation's wildfire problems." The article begins on page 20 of the Summer 2014 issue. Read the article here >

WUI Wildfire Mitigation Reference Guide

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group has just released a WUI Wildfire Mitigation Desk Reference Guide which provides basic background information on relevant programs and terminology for those who seek to enhance their community's wildfire mitigation efforts. The Guide defines terms like wildland urban interface, mitigation, fire adapted community, community wildfire protection plan, and homeowner wildfire mitigation. It provides descriptions and links to the various mitigation programs including: Fire Adapted Communities Coalition, Fire Learning Network, Fire Safe Councils, Firewise Communities, Living with Fire, and Ready, Set, Go!. Background material and a glossary are also included. The Desk Reference Guide provides a great resource for communities! 

Wildfire Accentuated by Climate Change

A video produced by the White House ties Western wildfires to climate change. The video, Climate Change & Wildfires Explained in Less than Three Minutes, is based on the National Climate Assessment and explains that wildfires accentuated by climate change are putting communities, lives, health, jobs, and valuable natural resources at risk.

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

August 27 A Panel Perspective on Regeneration in Southwestern Pine Forests After High Severity Wildfires 1:00 PM MDT - Register for webinar

August 29 Deadline for submitting a proposal to speak at 2015 Backyards & Beyond Conference. Conference information >

September 11 Centennial Valley Sage Grouse Project, Centennial Valley, MT. Contact Nathan Korb for more information.

September 5-7 and September 12-14 Women in Wildland Fire Boot Camp, Arizona and New Mexico. Apply by August 29th. For more information >

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 >

Stay up-to-date with the WRSC by visiting our web channel! We invite your comments!
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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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