When Help Arrives: Is Your Community Ready?

By Branda Nowell, Ph.D. and Toddi Steelman, Ph.D. A complex fire event that threatens a local community can quickly overwhelm local resources.  If this occurs, it can necessitate the involvement of a regional or federal incident management team (IMT) that comes into the community to manage the fire.  These teams come with a wealth of resources, knowledge and experience in incident response.  However, each incident is different because communities are different.  In order for this outside assistance to be the most effective, they need help from the local community. For several years now, our research team, Firechasers, has been asking the … Continue reading

After the Fire Toolkit in Action

By Annie Schmidt, Director, Chumstick Wildfire Stewardship Coalition The After the Fire Toolkit (ATF) made its debut during the Mills Canyon Fire, outside of the town of Entiat, Washington. Designed to help communities get the word out about post-fire impacts quickly, the ATF is customizable. Simply enter appropriate contact information and local resources into the PDF document (a fillable form) and you can print from any printer. All of the ATF resources (door hangers, press releases, brochures, public service announcements and one-pagers) are available for download at www.afterthefirewa.org. During the Mills Canyon Fire, Washington State Incident Management Team 2 (WIMT2) introduced Katherine Rowden from … Continue reading

Guide to Fire Adapted Communities

The Fire Adapted Communities Coalition recently released a Guide to Fire Adapted Communities. The six chapter guide covers everything from “What is a Fire Adapted Community” to “Collaboration and Outreach” and “Planning and Regulatory Considerations.” In addition to foundational concepts and resources, the Guide offers snapshot case studies that illustrate the principles outlined. Intended to “help leaders, planners, emergency professionals, and citizens learn the best approaches and programs to help their community become more fire adapted,” the Guide is a clear and handy resource to share with partners. The Guide features several helpful graphics that demonstrate the roles of all … Continue reading

What Makes a FAC Program Worth Investing In?

By David Burchfield Recently in Colorado Springs, Colorado the annual Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network workshop and a meeting of Fire Learning Network (FLN) leads overlapped. This led to some great opportunities for the two groups to meet and share stories, insights and encouragement with one another. Investing in FAC and Fire Restoration Projects On their first night together, practitioners from both groups enjoyed drinks and appetizers and attended a poster session, during which they had the opportunity to invest $250,000 in “firebucks” in one another’s projects. Representatives from each FLN landscape and FAC community took turns standing by posters that … Continue reading

Three tips from other hazard professionals you can apply to FAC

Every year mitigation and hazard professionals from across the globe gather to attend the Natural Hazards Center’s annual workshop in Broomfield, Colorado. An associated symposium, organized by the Natural Hazard Mitigation Association, brings academics and practitioners together to discuss innovative research, science, and experiences related to hazards and community resilience. This June, I had the opportunity to attend both the workshop and symposium. It is one of the rare conferences I attend that doesn’t focus exclusively on wildfire. More often, practitioners are discussing the latest significant flood event, earthquake insurance, tornado shelters, regulatory changes, or updates to floodplain mapping.  All … Continue reading

Fireworks safety tips minimize wildfire risk for the holiday weekend

With the Fourth of July weekend nearly upon us, there is a flurry of outreach to increase public awareness about fireworks’ potential to start wildfires. The reason for this heightened awareness is critical: a 2013 report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that, in a typical year, fireworks on Independence Day account for two out of five of all reported fires, more than any other cause of fire. According to NFPA, in 2011, an estimated 17,800 reported fires were started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated 40 civilian injuries and $32 million in direct property damage. … Continue reading

Cultivating Community Leaders

We all know that engaging community leaders is key to local FAC efforts, but what’s the best way to enlist, educate and cultivate passionate, dedicated, action-oriented citizens? What is the Network Doing Currently? The first step is to identify key individuals. Most of the Network hub organizations are working with or planning to form steering groups composed of interested citizens, public land managers, fire chiefs, emergency managers, etc., to help catalyze and oversee local FAC activities. Network participants also regularly give FAC presentations at city council meetings, churches, community colleges and events sponsored by other civic organizations. At the national … Continue reading

Fire Science Consortium Hosts Field Tour of Slide Fire

Contributed by Meredith Flannery, intern at the Forest Guild. On June 13, the Southwest Fire Science Consortium (SWFSC) hosted a field trip to the site of the recent Slide Fire, which started in Slide Rock State Park outside of Sedona, Arizona and moved north and west across 21,227 acres. Burn severity (as determined by the Burned Area Emergency Response [BAER] team) ranged from low (48 percent) to high (14 percent) across the area, and the fire necessitated evacuation of several wildland-urban interface (WUI) communities in Oak Creek Canyon between Flagstaff and Sedona. The field trip represented a critical learning opportunity … Continue reading