New Quick Guides! Promoting Fire Adapted Communities Through Property Assessments

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Throughout the country, community leaders are finding innovative ways to assess hazards, prioritize mitigation efforts, and train a workforce that can not only respond to emergencies, but also get out ahead of, and reduce, fire-related risks. These property assessment programs work at a range of scales and include an impressive array of approaches, from high-tech, app-based data collection on a county scale to in-depth one-on-one interactions with homeowners. Our newest set of quick guides provides an overview of this diversity of assessment programs, and offers examples of the data, tools and training materials involved in successful efforts across the country. … Continue reading

Using the Fire Science Exchange Network

Fire is a rapidly evolving field, subject to increasingly volatile natural and social processes. Science is thus at the heart of the issue, helping us understand and manage the complex dynamics that define fire. However, the integration of fire science remains a central challenge for scientists and managers alike. Scientists struggle to make their work relevant and digestible, and managers are left to interpret and incorporate existing science while keeping their fingers crossed that the critical questions they face in the field will be addressed by the science community. Enter the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), which has long recognized … Continue reading

FAC: It’s About Being Proactive and Making Investments

Workshop participants on an afternoon field tour. Photo Credit: Mike Caggiano

Written By: Mike Caggiano, South Central Mountain RC&D Council  Up until now, my view of fire adapted communities has primarily been interface communities with many homes interspersed through wildland vegetation that are at direct risk to wildfire. However, I recently attended a prescribed fire workshop in Wagon Mound, New Mexico that broadened my perspective of what a community working to become fire adapted can look like. Wagon Mound is a small ranching community in rural New Mexico, and our group quickly filled the small high school auditorium. Some, like myself, had come from several hours away. Hosted by the New Mexico … Continue reading

Collaborative Resilience Assessments Profiled by FAC Learning Network Partners

This video is a recording of the resilience assessment panel at the 2015 COCE conference.

Written By: Bruce Goldstein, University of Colorado, Boulder This June, FAC Learning Network research partner Bruce Goldstein organized a panel on collaborative resilience assessment at the 2015 Conference for Communication and the Environment, held at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The panel included four presentations: Molly Mowery presented on the design and use of the Fire Adapted Communities Self-Assessment Tool, describing what models the tool was patterned on and insights from its implementation so far, including how it fosters stakeholder engagement. Tom James (a UK-based researcher who attended the FAC Net annual meeting in Santa Fe) presented on his experience leading … Continue reading

Safe Growth Audits – Another Effective Tool for the FAC Practitioner

A screenshot of the Safe Growth Audit worksheet.

Many of us are familiar with plans and codes specific to wildfire (e.g., Community Wildfire Protection Plans, wildland-urban interface codes), but there is also a vast array of planning tools that could be useful to the FAC practitioner to help prevent future conflicts associated with an expanding wildland-urban interface. One of these tools, the safe growth audit, may be particularly helpful when relating wildfire concerns or discussion points to local planners and regulators. According to the American Planning Association’s “Practice Safe Growth Audits” (Zoning Practice issue number 10, 2009), the purpose of safe growth audits are to “analyze the impacts of … Continue reading

Facilitation Techniques and Ice Breakers

After my blog post about graphic recording, many people expressed interest in learning more about that creative technique for recording and facilitating meetings. Thinking about that post made me curious about what other creative or engaging facilitation techniques are out there (besides resources I have used previously for planning meetings like the ones found here). Here are some unique resources I found on this topic. Ever wish you could just have a toolbox of techniques and ideas to pull from? Well, this group did that for you. Click on the type of tool you need, with categories ranging from energizers … Continue reading

The Challenging Economics of Treating Fuels to Build Fire Adapted Communities

Experimental “slash-bundler”, designed by Forest Concepts, is designed to increase slash density to make for easier handling and transport.  It might serve as an alternative to a chipper, though costs/benefits and applications need additional testing. Photo Credit: Nick Goulette

Improving the economics of treating fuels to protect communities from wildfire is a daunting task. The National Fire Plan of 2001 marked our first nation-wide attempt at tackling this issue. On a state-by-state and community-by-community basis, folks have been grappling with reducing the costs and increasing the benefits of fuels treatments for even longer. The Cohesive Strategy reinforces this imperative. At their June meeting, members of the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network discussed the merit of starting up a Community of Practice (CoP) to share learning across communities and organizations from around the country who have been grappling with improving the … Continue reading

A different kind of note-taking: using art to capture conversation

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In June I attended the Resilient Communities pre-conference in Boulder, Colorado. While there was great conversation, learning and networking, one thing really stood out to me from the day: the graphic recorder. Karina Mullen Branson of ConverSketch stood up front and center, drawing and coloring as the participants exchanged ideas. As someone who spends a good amount of time taking notes at meetings, I really appreciated this creative way to capture conversation. “Graphic recording is a way to tap your group deeper into the content they’re listening to or discussing because participants are not only hearing the information, but also … Continue reading