Resources for Planning and Leading Effective Meetings and Collaborative Learning Processes

Meetings. Workshops. Conferences. We have all been to them; they are a routine part of working together. You know when you have been to a bad meeting, where the meetings outcomes weren’t clear, or the goals vague. You know that feeling of valuable time slipping through your fingers due to a poorly planned activity or ineffective facilitation. But, hopefully you have also been to those exciting meetings where work gets done, people learn, and the takeaways are practical. There are a variety of ideas about how to structure a workshop, and a lot of times it depends on your goals, … Continue reading

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Project Awards

Photo from last year: Volunteers in Durango worked on weed management and clearing in a local park.

The second annual National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day will take place on May 2, 2015. Many organizations choose to do activities to promote awareness within their communities, and this year State Farm is providing funding to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to give out 65 awards worth $500 each! Several FAC Learning Network communities participated in the inaugural event last year. For tips and advice on making the most of this opportunity, see this post by Michelle Medley-Daniel. Do you have a fun or interesting project planned for your Wildfire Community Preparedness Day? Read the announcement for qualifications, and apply … Continue reading

Fire Departments Conduct FAC Exchange

Written by Justices Jones, Austin Fire Department You can’t have steak with out the ‘taters; Texas and Idaho link up to exchange FAC ideas and best practices.  One of the challenges facing any wildland-urban interface community is determining what scale is most appropriate for integrating FAC concepts. The Austin and Boise Fire Departments are two of the largest municipal departments participating in the FACLN, and we share similar challenges associated with community wildfire safety and resilience. I first met Captain Jerry McAdams of the Boise Fire Department at the 2013 NFPA Backyards and Beyond Conference, where I attended his presentation … Continue reading

A Low-Income Wildfire Risk Reduction Pilot Program in Southwest Colorado

Written By: Rebecca Samulski, FireWise of Southwest Colorado With a grant from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, FireWise of Southwest Colorado designed a program to reduce fuels and ember ignition hazards around homes, and develop community fuel breaks for low-income communities. Applicants were required to own their home and have a household income below 80 percent area median income (AMI), which is common for many programs. Each applicant received a site visit to assess the wildfire hazards, which provided the foundation for the project design. The assessment considered everything from the vegetation to missing siding shingles, with a focus … Continue reading

New Post-Disaster Recovery Resources Available

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It’s rare that I come across a website that offers well-researched, applicable and timely information on the topic of post-disaster recovery. The American Planning Association’s (APA) Post-Disaster Recovery website, however, features up-to-date content that is worth spreading the word about. Accessing this type of information from APA usually requires a membership, but the good news is that all of these resources are free. The main feature is a 200-page report dedicated to helping practitioners understand and implement post-disaster recovery planning efforts. Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation provides an elegant argument for why recovery planning is needed and how pre-event … Continue reading

A New Networking Tool for FireWise of Southwest Colorado

Written by: Pam Wilson, FireWise of Southwest Colorado One of the challenges that we face at FireWise of Southwest Colorado is how to best communicate with partners across our three-county region. Sharing information online has some distinct limitations: our monthly E-News gets to be too long if we add success stories; our annual Accomplishment Report is also a robust 35-40 pages without even including partners’ accomplishments; and, not everyone follows Facebook. We fear that the important details in these documents can easily get overlooked, or that technological barriers limit partners’ ability to connect. So, in 2014, we decided to try … Continue reading

It’s Time to Tackle Global Fire Issues

Percent of the world’s fires by region, as detected by MODIS satellites from 2001-2006. Credit: NASA

My good friend and colleague Mary Huffman recently published an article in Fire Ecology in which she makes some proposals for addressing our planet’s inextricably linked fire- and climate change issues. While directed primarily at fire ecologists, Mary’s article contains some information and insights that should be of interest to FAC practitioners. The paper includes numerous case studies from around the world, including three from the western United States that are FAC Learning Network pilot communities. The following statements sum up the situation well: “In the past, each fire was local, affecting primarily local ecosystems and communities. Today, every fire is … Continue reading

Watershed Resilience & FACs: Quick Guides Now Available

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We are pleased to release our first set of FAC Learning Network quick guides! This four-part series, which focuses on Increasing Watershed Resilience to Promote Fire Adapted Communities, provides community leaders with new ideas and inspiration for developing watershed-wide forest resiliency and restoration programs. The quick guides are based on examples and insights from four communities in the West: Ashland, Oregon; Santa Fe, New Mexico; the Upper South Platte in Colorado; and Flagstaff, Arizona. The guides provide details on strategies and projects that have worked in those places, and they also emphasize the need for site-specific innovation in programs that … Continue reading