Approaching Relationships with Landowners

Dave, The Watershed Center’s Forestry, Fire and Fuels Program Manager, came into the office yesterday wiping the sweat from his forehead. He’d spent the better part of the day driving out to meet a landowner in a remote corner of Trinity County (where remote means a couple of hours from the nearest gas station).  Dave has been working with landowners throughout the County to develop burn plans that we’ll implement as part of an upcoming TREX training exchange. Working with landowners isn’t easy. Dave’s had to put in the time cultivating relationships with people, at times traveling long distances to … Continue reading

Redstone Canyon – A Mitigation Success Story

In the spirit of sharing mitigation success stories, such as the prescribed fire that helped moderate the behavior of the recent wildfire threatening Weaverville, California, we are highlighting another story that came through our FAC channels this summer. The following story has been adapted from a previously published version. This success story showcases Redstone Canyon, an unincorporated community in Larimer County, Colorado with about 85 residences that are scattered throughout the 6,800-acre canyon. A seven-mile-long county road provides main access up the canyon, and there are an additional 24 miles of privately maintained roads accessing homes on the upper slopes. … Continue reading

The FAC Network is hiring!

We’re looking for a part time Program Assistant to work on FAC Network logistics and communications. The ideal candidate will be creative and organized with skills and experience developing and maintaining websites and other forms of remote communication. The FAC Network is a nationwide effort; we will be considering candidates based in locations throughout the US. Learn more about the opportunity by visiting: http://www.thewatershedcenter.com/?page_id=90. There you’ll find a full job description and instructions for applying. Please share this announcement with your networks and friends!

It takes all three to protect a community

OR fire-5 cent Rx

My home and neighborhood in Weaverville, CA was spared destruction by the Oregon Fire on the afternoon of Sunday, August 24, 2014.  Only a couple of hours after ignition, over 200 homes were under mandatory evacuation.  The narrative about why only one structure was lost, and no one was seriously hurt in this fast-moving WUI fire could focus on any of several factors.  Was it the timely and effective fire suppression response?  Or maybe the prescribed burn executed last fall that slowed the flaming front? Or perhaps the years of preparation local leaders and residents have engaged in to make … Continue reading

Tips to enhance online FAC Network meetings

The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network is made up of hubs, local and regional partners, and coordinating team members that are located in all corners of the country. The diversity of participants adds value to the network by promoting different perspectives and experiences. The nature of a national network, however, requires us to lean heavily on conference calls, webinars, and other means of remote and online communication. Anyone who has facilitated or participated in an online meeting knows that these forums bring their own set of challenges. To ensure our online activities keep network participants engaged and maximize our productive … Continue reading

Fire Adapted Communities: On the Front Lines in Ely, Minnesota

by Katie Fernholz, Gloria Erickson and Matt Frank – Dovetail Partners Each community in every region has its own relationship to wildfire risks. There are common themes – wildfire season, fuel loading, preparedness plans, etc. – but local conditions make for local needs, challenges, and opportunities. In Minnesota, even with 11,842 lakes over 10 acres in size, wildfire is still a threat. One area of the state that can be described as being on the “frontlines” of local wildfire risk is Ely, Minnesota. The community is within hiking distance of the Canadian border and a little over a 4-hour drive … Continue reading

Forest Service Reports on Budget Impacts of Firefighting

Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack recently unveiled a US Forest Service report on the impacts of rising firefighting costs on the budgets of other National Forest programs. According to a press release from the USDA Office of Communications, “The Forest Service’s firefighting appropriation has rapidly risen as a proportion of the Forest Service’s overall budget, increasing from 16 percent in 1995 to 42 percent today, forcing cuts in other budget areas.” As FAC practitioners many of us have experienced the disruption that “fire borrowing” can have on our work with Forest Service partners. While this dynamic doesn’t come as a … Continue reading

Common Grant Writing Missteps – and Solutions!

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend a Grant Skills Workshop in Colorado, sponsored by FEMA, Colorado United, American Red Cross, and several other key partners. The primary focus of the workshop was to help attendees develop better grant writing and management skills specific to fire and flood affected communities. Seasoned grant writers may already follow many of these tips, but in many communities it isn’t professional grant writers working to access funds for FAC. For those of you who are newer to grant writing, I wanted to share some candid tips from the workshop presenters that could … Continue reading