Multiagency Cooperative Burning in the WUI

by Mike Caggiano, South Central Mountain RC&D Being fire adapted means taking a variety of approaches to protecting a community against high-intensity wildfires, and also recognizing fire’s natural role in the ecosystem. The first part includes a wide range of activities, such as reducing vegetation in the home ignition zone, prioritizing neighborhood fuel reduction projects, and conducting community education. The second part, recognizing the role of fire, can be more difficult but is equally important. We live in places that have evolved with fire, and putting fire back on the landscape is a necessary component of being fire adapted. Using … Continue reading

Making Things Happen for Rural America Is What RC&D’s Do

by Frank Riley, Executive Director, Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D Council Workers are the most valuable part of any program and they are usually the hardest component to gather up, but if you look under the right rocks in most communities there are groups that will pitch in and make a worthwhile project happen. One of these groups is a long-standing organization of community volunteers that many times are overlooked because for most of their history they were embedded in the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, formerly the Soil Conservation Service) and not visible. This group is the Resource Conservation & Development Council … Continue reading

Rapid City, SD Hires Veterans for Wildfire Fuel Mitigation

By Lieutenant Tim Weaver, Rapid City Fire Department The Rapid City Fire and Parks Departments announced a new program in June 2013 that is part of the city’s successful Survivable Space Initiative, which focuses on the removal of hazardous fuels. Partnering with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Rapid City hires veterans returning from active duty to conduct wildfire fuel reduction while they transition to civilian life. The program has many benefits: it is helping veterans, 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, … Continue reading

Youth Engagement in FAC Part II: Service Learning

Inquiry and exploration are important aspects of service learning. Photo by Piper McDaniel

In the first post in this series I shared several youth engagement approaches FAC Net participants have incorporated into their work. In this post, I’ll provide more information about one specific method of youth engagement: the service learning project. What is Service Learning? Service learning is an approach to experience-based learning that allows students to develop and execute service projects based on community needs. It relies on students and their community partners to work together to identify issues and co-create service projects to address those issues. This is in contrast to more traditional volunteer programs that provide experiential learning that … Continue reading

New USDA Forest Service Publication Highlights FAC

The latest edition of Fire Management Today includes nine papers related to FAC and wildland-urban interface issues. These articles, many of them written by FAC Coalition members, present a variety of perspectives related to helping communities learn to live with fire. As Pam Leschak states in her introduction to the series: “The articles in this issue of Fire Management Today illustrate how partners working collaboratively can accomplish more together than they can separately; indeed, that’s one of the keys to adapting communities to wildfire—working together for the greater good. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Below … Continue reading

How Can Youth Play a Role in FAC?

I grew up in a family of educators, so our lives were ruled by the school calendar. My parents still work at the local school district, as does my husband, and the familiar blend of anxiety, excitement and wistfulness that comes with the approach of the first day of school is nearly as palpable as the summer wildfire smoke that is currently hanging over the valley. As the first day of school approaches I find myself reflecting on how we can effectively engage youth in our fire adapted communities work. Why engage youth? Youth engagement offers change-makers the opportunity to … Continue reading

Sneak Peek at What’s Ahead from the FAC Learning Network Hubs!

As FAC Network coordinating team member Wendy Fulks mentioned in Tuesday’s post on increasing smoke acceptance, the FAC Learning Network hubs are in the midst of finalizing work plan activities for the coming FAC 2014/15 reporting periods. This process is an extension of the work planning that began during the Network’s annual meeting in Colorado Springs in June. With 18 hubs now actively participating in the Network, the number of creative FAC plans and activities has expanded significantly. There is also overlap among participants on themes related to regional expansion, training and learning exchanges, public outreach and education, and standard … Continue reading

Can Public Outreach Increase Smoke Acceptance?

The Network hub organizations are in the process of finalizing their work plans for the next 12 months and at least two (those working in Flagstaff, Arizona and Deschutes County, Oregon) are planning some outreach related to increasing public acceptance of smoke from controlled burns. So it was timely when I saw a link in last week’s Fire Learning Network e-newsletter to a new Joint Fire Science Program publication by Eric Toman, Christine Olsen and Paige Fisher. Their project was designed to examine the “social acceptability of smoke management practices, factors influencing acceptability, and the effectiveness of different communication approaches on … Continue reading