Photos Capture the Faces of the Fork Complex Wildfires

firefighter mural in hayfork

Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network coordinating team member Michelle Medley-Daniel recently wrote a wonderful post for our blog about the realities of living in Hayfork, California during the Fork Complex fires and what it is like to live surrounded by smoke. The fires around Hayfork got national attention, including two features by National Geographic. National Geographic photographer Mark Thiessen wrote a story for National Geographic and featured the faces of the firefighters of the Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority crew, a type two fire crew responding to the Fork Complex fires. Mark Thiessen wrote another first-person account that took the readers on a journey with … Continue reading

Don’t Forget to Listen

Sarah McCaffery

Sarah McCaffrey, Ph.D., is a USDA Forest Service social scientist researching public attitudes toward wildfire. She is also an advisor to the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network. FAC Net: You’ve been in the fire community for 18 years now, ever since you began your 1998 dissertation research on the beliefs and mitigation efforts of homeowners in Incline Village, Nevada. You’ve seen a lot of approaches come and go, and taken part in countless discussions about addressing our wildfire woes. Do you think the “fire adapted communities” approach is here to stay, and if so, why? Sarah: I hope it is … Continue reading

I See Skies of Blue…

smoke in hayfork

Sunday night was the first time that I could open my bedroom window since lightning started over 40 wildfires around Hayfork on July 30-31st. Yesterday morning was the first time I could see the sky and the mountains that surround my community. Twenty-three days of hazard-level air quality, forcing residents to stay in their homes, takes a physical and psychological toll. There is only so much worried pacing that you can do in a 1,500-square-foot house—and it’s no substitute for real exercise. Of the original 40 fire starts, many were extinguished on initial attack, and the rest merged into the … Continue reading

Shevlin Fire Lends a Teachable Moment for Shevlin Commons Residents

Written By: Alison Green, Project Wildfire Twenty-five years ago, the Shevlin Commons neighborhood near Bend, Oregon had not even been platted for development when the Awbrey Hall fire consumed much of the natural vegetation, leaving a barren landscape in its wake. Now, in the fire scar that Awbrey Hall left in 1990, there is mature decadent bitterbrush and manzanita blanketing the landscape, mixed with homes. Last summer’s Two Bulls wildfire sparked action in the Shevlin Commons community when many could see flames from their decks. Creating a space that was both fire resistant and healthy for wildlife was the balance … Continue reading

Wildfire Season is Underway: The Best Time to Take Action is NOW

If you have turned on your TV or computer in the last month, you are probably aware that wildfire season is upon us, and it has already been pretty devastating in parts of the country. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) produced their July 2015 wildfires map which shows the active wildfires in July. This post by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) talks a little bit about the map and the current state of wildfires in the country. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), as of August 13th, our National Preparedness level was raised to a level … Continue reading

Summer 2015 Network Update


This time of year, with wildfires raging in parts of the West, the need for a new fire approach, or paradigm, is crystal clear. A new General Technical Report, Wildland Fire Management Future: Insights from a Foresight Panel, says it well: “As conditions change, the traditional fire prevention and suppression approach to wildland fire management will prove unsustainable…. A new fire resilience approach is emerging as an alternative to traditional viewpoints and practices.” And while the report doesn’t use the term “fire adapted communities,” the FAC work that practitioners across the nation are doing is clearly tied into the new … Continue reading

Reframing Failure to Facilitate Change

Earlier this summer I was able to attend a webinar hosted by the Society for Organizational Learning. The webinar explored ideas that an organization called Fail Forward developed. Fail Forward offers people and organizations new ways of looking at failures–as opportunities to enhance their practice rather than events to sweep under the rug. You can listen to a recorded version of the entire webinar here, or explore Fail Forward’s website where you’ll find several free resources and a helpful reading list. Among the resources and tools for leveraging failures into valuable learning were three that I found particularly interesting: Failure Reports: … Continue reading

Island Park Sustainable Fire Community Wildfire Awareness Days

Written By Liz Davy, Ashton/Island Park District Ranger Island Park, Idaho is a small town with big wildfire challenges. Our local FAC collaborative, the Island Park Sustainable Fire Community, has an Outreach and Education Committee that oversees the group’s work to raise awareness about wildfire risk and the need for homeowners in particular, to take steps to protect their homes and be ready to evacuate. For the second year in a row IPSFC has hired two outreach representatives to spend their summers going door-to-door in Island Park neighborhoods. Susan and Bronwyn are talking to homeowners about wildfire and opportunities to … Continue reading