Newsletter #47

December 23, 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. 

The WRSC wishes you all the happiness and festivity of the holiday season and a wonderful New Year!!


In this issue:

WRSC Face-to-Face meeting, November 14, 2016, Long Beach, CA.  Photo: Kate Lighthall

Cohesive Strategy's Western Regional Strategy Committee Sets Priorities for 2017

Cohesive Strategy's Western Region met November 14-15 in Long Beach, CA to review 2016 activities against our Program of Work and our Strategic Communications Plan, and confirm goals and priorities for 2017. Top priorities include our commitment to communications and facilitating new learning opportunities for our stakeholders across the West.  Full notes and links to presentations here
WFLC meeting November 30, 2016.  Photo: Kate Lighthall

Wildland Fire Leadership Council Prepares
for Administration Transition

The Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) gathered in Washington, DC on November 30th. A key issue on the table was the upcoming administration transition and the impact to WFLC's membership as over half of its members are administration appointees and will be leaving their current positions. The group conveyed overall support for the three goals of the Cohesive Strategy and recognized the need for landscape-scale restoration. WFLC also discussed pre-fire season opportunities for coordination and reviewed the Strategic Alignment Report which provides a strategic picture of Cohesive Strategy activities to date and recommends opportunities for WFLC engagement going forward. The Report will be a great tool in briefings to help new appointees understand the Cohesive Strategy, its development and implementation. Find the Report, notes from the meeting and the Transition Briefing paper here
The Mahogany Fire, September 2016. Photo: US Forest Service.

More Fire in Utah but Tolerable and Healthy

After four years of minimal wildfire activity, Utah's 2016 fire season saw more than 99,000 acres burn, making it the worst since 2012. But the fires were tolerable and, in some places, healthy. A $1 million shot from the state legislature and early intervention, such as thinning vegetation and prescribed burns are credited with keeping the fires small. More here


Management and Restoration Indicators
for Forests in Eastern Oregon

The Federal Forest Dashboard Project provides a "dashboard" approach to tracking management and restoration of Oregon's 30 million+ acres of federal forestland. The Dashboard provides indicators for six national forests in eastern Oregon. In the easy-to-read format, the Dashboard presents clear "takeaways" that are intended to provide valuable insights about the collaborative, landscape-scale efforts taking place in eastern Oregon.  More here

Veterans workforce in Rapid City, SD.  Photo: Tim Weaver. 

Veterans Workforce for Mitigation in South Dakota

Rapid City Fire and Parks Departments in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management have hired veterans returning from active duty to conduct wildfire fuels reduction projects while they transition to civilian life. The program has many benefits: restoring fire-adapted ecosystems, raising wildfire awareness and improving the safety of Rapid City neighborhoods. Veterans in the program receive training in firefighting, emergency preparedness, equipment operation, forestry or their desired field of interest - a win/win for Rapid City and returning Veterans!  More here.  

An unprecedented 40-year experiment in a 40,000 acre valley of Yosemite National Park strongly supports the idea that managing fire, rather than suppressing it, makes wilderness areas more resilient to fire, with the added benefit of increased water availability and resistance to drought.

After a three-year assessment of the Park's Illilouette Creek Basin, UC Berkeley researchers concluded that a strategy dating to 1973 of managing wildfires with minimal suppression and almost no prescribed burns has created a landscape more resistant to catastrophic fire, with more diverse vegetation, forest structure and increased water storage. More here
A helicopter drops water on flames near a home in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, in September 2016.  
Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP  


Firetopia - It's Not a Fantasy

In Firetopia, communities live safely with wildfire on the landscape. Headwaters Economics is providing leadership and expertise to 13 communities in nine states seeking Firetopia through the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) program. The program provides expertise and research and uses a collaborative process, gathering together homeowners, land management agencies and city/county planners to identify the steps each can take to reduce community wildfire risk. Kimiko Barrett, a research and policy analyst for Headwaters Economics, says it's possible to reduce the risks of natural fire by focusing on landscaping, building materials and where to locate subdivisions. Very Cohesive Strategy. More here


Cohesive Strategy Implementation and Science

At the beginning and throughout all stages of planning and development of the national strategy, science was at the center of both the vision statement and goals. Continued advancement and accomplishment of Cohesive Strategy goals hinge on reinforcing the importance of science in implementation activities and improving mechanisms to facilitate science integration with implementation. Please save the date for this valuable workshop!  Call for papers out now.  More information here

Workshop Objectives:

  1. Provide clear understanding of the importance and critical role of science in all Cohesive Strategy planning and implementation. 
  2. Reinforce that the focus of the Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy implementation is "all hands, all lands" and that seamless access to the best available and correct science is vital to success at every level and every action.
  3. Identify examples and opportunities where implementation (current and planned) is informed by the "right" science and information.
  4. Identify processes to ensure science integration in all planning and implementation activities and identify future research needs in support of Cohesive Strategy implementation. 
  5. Utilize the Workshop format to develop recommendations for continuing actions on this subject.

Photo: Michelle Medley-Daniel. 

Learning Exchange Highlights
Mitigation and Culture Change


Firewise of Southwest Colorado and Fire Adapted Colorado recently hosted a Learning Exchange to bring together local implementers and participants to share experiences, fire impacts and demonstrations of mitigation work that is leading to fire adapted communities and better fire outcomes.  Read the blog post here

Upcoming Learning Opportunities

January 26, 2017 - Restoring Fire's Role in Fire Adapted Communities Webinar, Noon Mountain Time. Justice Jones (Austin Fire Department) will discuss the use of prescribed fire in the wildland-urban interface in Texas in this Southern Fire Exchange webinar. 
February 16, 2017 -
 A Four-Step Approach to Planning for Wildfire in the WUI.
Webinar, Noon Mountain Time.  Stephen R. Miller will be the presenter in the first webinar in the California Fire Science Consortium’s 2017 WUI Webinar series. 

March 1-2, 2017 - Collaboration: Evolution and Innovation.  Riverside Hotel, Boise, ID. This annual event brings together leaders from the timber industry, local government, conservation organizations, community groups, and land management agencies from across the state.  The collaborative groups in Idaho continue to evolve and innovate in their efforts to restore forests at a landscape scale.  The Partners have structured this workshop to review progress to date and design strategies to sustain effective performance of consensus based collaboration. Registration open now. 

March 30 - April 1, 2017 - New Mexico Wildland Urban Interface Summit.  Sheraton Airport Hotel in Albuquerque, NM.  It is becoming essential for fire management professionals, emergency responders, local government officials, and residents to partner and increase wildfire preparedness so that future fires are not absolute devastations.
April 19-21, 2017 - Colorado Wildland Fire Conference.  Pueblo, CO. The conference theme is “Fire Adapted Communities: Moving from Awareness to Action, Messaging to Mitigation, & Words to Work.” Registration is now open.
April 25-27, 2017 - National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop All Hands, All Lands: Implementation Rooted in Science.  Reno, NV.  A workshop intended for all stakeholders interested in applying sound science to the implementation of the Cohesive Strategy. 
May 10-12, 2017 - Klamath Fire Ecology Symposium.  Orleans, CA. Every three years, land managers, scientists, tribes, conservationists and community members gather to discuss fire management, history and ecology in the Klamath Mountains and beyond. Nowhere else in the country are the social, cultural, and ecological realities of fire discussed with such candor and connection to place. For more info,
November 28 - Dec 2, 2017 - AFE International Fire Congress.  Orlando, FL. The Association for Fire Ecology (AFE) and Southern Fire Exchange will be co-hosting “Fire Vision 20/20: A 20 Year Reflection and Look into the Future.”
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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