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Collaboration in Action Under the Cohesive Strategy
The Blue Mountain Cohesive Strategy Project is located in northeastern Oregon, southeastern Washington and western Idaho. It encompasses 7.5 million acres of land of mixed ownership, including two national forests, private land protected by Oregon and Washington, tribal lands, and most of 8 counties. The project is a proving ground for the Cohesive Strategy, where multiple partners are working together to develop a model for forest resource and wildfire management with stakeholder engagement. The goals and principles of the Cohesive Strategy form the basis for the development of forest management and fuels treatment projects. "We try to incorporate the three goals of the Cohesive Strategy in every action we take", says Mark Jacques, Project Manager.

Accomplishments to date include:
•       Established the Pilot Project Steering Committee, which also acts as a collaborative for fire suppression and management.
•       Adoption of the Pilot Project Action Plan.
•       Engagement with local collaboratives for restoration and forest management.
•       Community outreach and stakeholder engagement.
•       Workshops and outreach on biomass feasibility.
•       Fuels management projects focused on CS goals, such as protecting communities and treating the middle ground.
•       Wildfire simulations for improving wildfire response.
The Cohesive Strategy’s approach to dealing with wildfire issues recognizes the need for active forest management in reducing fire extent, severity, and hazards across all ownerships. Blue Mountain Pilot Project is one of three pilot projects in the West that will lead the way. Jim Douglas, Director of Wildland Fire at DOI, Caitlyn Pollihan, Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, and Jim Hubbard, State and Private Forestry, US Forest Service will visit the project site this week.
New Website for Wildfire Info is a new website which pulls together incident reports and other information on all current fires. provides timely and official information with updates from original sources. This is an important communications tool that fits the Western Regional Action Plan action 0.1. "Maintain and enhance communication efforts". Visit Page >
Defensible Space Saved Homes in Yarnell
An initial study of the Yarnell Hill Fire area using satellite imagery found that only 11% of the homes in the area were prepared for wildfire. Of the 63 homes with adequate clearances, 60 were found to have survived the fire.  The Western Regional Action Plan supports increased preparation of homes under Actions 2.2 and 2.4 for Fire Adapted Communities.  Read article >
Flagstaff Raises $10M in Bonds to Treat Fuels on Public Lands
The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP) was overwhelmingly approved by city voters. The $10 million bond will fund forest treatments on federal and state lands in two key watersheds, protecting the watersheds and the city from wildfire and subsequent flooding. This relates to Action 1.1b. "Maximize state and local authorities for implementation". Read article >
Just released"Driving Innovation on the Fireline" by James K. Steele, a new article on the Wildland Fire Lessons Center's website. The article offers information on improving wildfire operations with mechanized equipment, relating to Action 3.3. "Integrate local, state, federal, tribal, and private response capacity". James recently retired as the Fire Management Division Manager, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Montana. Read it here >
Fire on the Mountain
The Tribes use Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to manage their lands, incorporating prescribed fire for a multitude of benefits. In this article, Bill Tripp, Eco-Cultural Restoration Specialist of the Karuk Tribe, describes the cultural use of fire and how it fits into the Cohesive Strategy. Western Action 0.5.A. "Establish a tribal collaborative landscape management program with pilot projects", encourages the use of cultural fire. The article appears on page 14 of Smoke Signals. Read article >
Kate's Corner

Two firefighters have died in the last couple of weeks here in Oregon. Their tragic deaths are impacting our communities. I want to fix it. I want to heal my friends who are hurting. But I cannot fix it.

The Cohesive Strategy does provide us however with a strong framework to get involved to resolve some of the biggest challenges facing fire management today. The draft National Strategy and Risk Analysis Report is now available for review and comment. Please take this opportunity to participate in this collaboration. The Wildland Fire Executive Council (WFEC) is receiving public comment on the draft on August 19th, during its meeting or via the feedback form.


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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
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