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WRSC Newsletter #10 01/21/2014
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The WRSC delivers articles and stories here each month that demonstrate the collaborative efforts of agencies, organizations and communities supporting and promoting the three goals of the Cohesive Strategy: Restoring Resilient Landscapes, Creating Fire Adapted Communities and Responding to Wildfire.
The newsletter is our primary communication tool with our partners and members of the public. Feel free to contact us with ideas for articles or comments. 

Safety First in Lewis and Clark County, Montana

A new ordinance in Lewis and Clark County, MT puts firefighter safety ahead of protecting homes in the wildland urban interface. The resolution is consistent with the Guiding Principles of the Cohesive Strategy, which state: "Reducing risk to firefighters and the public is the first priority in every fire management activity". The short resolution confirms prioritizing fire protection services based on the threat posed to firefighters, provides training in fire behavior to firefighters, and supports fuel mitigation efforts to improve the survivability of structures. Read the article here > 
Full text of the resolution is here >

Studies Provide Insight on Protecting Homes

Two new studies by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) are shedding light on ways homes can defend themselves from wildfire.

The NIST report "A Case Study of a Community Affected by the Witch and Guejito Fires: Report #2 - Evaluating the Effects of Hazard Mitigation Actions on Structure Ignitions" is the first case study that evaluates hazard mitigation technology effectiveness while accounting for fire and ember exposure and factoring in defensive actions. The study found that the level of fire and ember exposure played a significant role in structure survivability. Defensive actions were over two times more effective in saving structures in low exposure areas compared to high exposure areas.

Since most buildings that burn during a wildfire are ignited by embers, not by direct flame contact, the IBHS is conducting real-life simulations of ember storms on houses. Ember storms created at the IBHS research center test the resilience of various construction practices and materials, and provide useful information on how homes can protect themselves from wildfire. Dramatic videos of ember storm test conditions document the mechanisms by which houses ignite. Watch the videos here >

These studies will provide useful information for Fire Adapted Communities. The West's Action 2.1.11. says, "Continue and expand existing programs to integrate fire science into the local context for fire adapted community efforts."  Understanding the mechanisms that cause home losses in wildfire is an important first step in building and retrofitting homes to withstand wildfire.

"The Fire Line: Wildfire in Colorado" New Video

A new video produced by The Denver Post portrays wildfire as a complex issue of fire dependent ecosystems, residential growth, fire response concerns, fuels mitigation needs, fire behavior, weather, and economics. First-hand interviews with fire chiefs, residents, and experts paint a dramatic picture of how fire affects people and landscapes in the West today, and will affect them in the future. The video includes scenes from the Black Forest Fire, Waldo Canyon Fire and the Yarnell Hill fire, and is a great tool for educating the public about the issues involved in wildfire management, as in Western Action O.1.3. "educate and inform the public on the Cohesive Strategy and Western fire issues". See the video here > 

FY14 Appropriations Include Provisions for Wildfire

The FY 14 Budget Bill has passed Congress and is now on its way to be signed by the President.The Good Neighbor Authority (GNA)  is reauthorized for five years and expanded to other states. GNA is a successful pilot program in Colorado that allows agencies to work collaboratively across state and local boundaries to reduce wildfire risks and improve forest health. Stewardship Contracting is also reauthorized for another year. These programs support several Western tasks under Goal 1, including 1.1. "promote collaborative planning and management"; and 1.1.b. "maximize state and local authorities for implementation."  Senator Mark Udall of Colorado spoke on the floor of the Senate and discussed several key elements of the budget related to wildfires, forest health, and flood recovery, talking about what else he would like to see authorized in future legislation. Watch the video here >  

National Cohesive Strategy 2013 Year in Review 

The agencies, organizations, and groups collaborating on the National Cohesive Strategy achieved many milestones this past year. A recap of the year, and our achievements, are posted on the Forests and Rangelands website.
Read more here >

Upcoming Learning and Networking Opportunities

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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