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Fire Adapted Community Roles: Are We Being Homeowners or Neighbors?

on Wed, 07/13/2016 - 7:45pm

Written by Andrea Ely, Yakima County Fire Marshall's Office

In June of 2015, I had the pleasure of meeting a homeowner in a most surprisingly inopportune way. Most of the homeowners I meet are through the usual fire prevention strategies: group mailings, door to door visits, or, as I prefer, personal introductions through neighbors. As many know in prevention education, finding those “spark plugs” in the community can be a very tedious task. In the case of this spark plug I didn’t have to try very hard or look very far...

Making an Impact Through Hands-On Learning

on Wed, 07/06/2016 - 4:11pm

Written by Ashley Lara, Jackson County Fire District 3

Editor's note: The original verison of this post was written for the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network and can be found at

Okay, let’s get real. In today’s society, how am I supposed to gain any amount attention from children on the topic of wildfire? Where is the time–when you already have a full day jam packed with Grand Theft Auto, MTV and texting Jonny, the cutest boy in school? To add to the challenge, most parents work full-time and are completely maxed out. Who can blame them? I can think of five excuses right now that would prevent me from attending a two-hour presentation on this year’s wildfire season at the local fire department on a weekend (or really any day of the week). So what is a fire outreach professional to do?

Xeriscape or Bust

on Tue, 06/28/2016 - 9:28pm

By Linda Prado, Lincoln County Conservation District

My first day as an intern and I’m already hitting the ground running- literally, as my new boss, Val, and I make our way through town to get to the community garden. Ok, not literally. We’re actually just walking. While we’re strolling, Val tells me about the new renovations the Lincoln Conservation District is planning to make on the garden. She warns me how badly it needs a make-over, and I tell her I had an idea of what she meant.

Constructing a Fire Adapted Methow: Builders’ Workshop

on Wed, 06/15/2016 - 3:55pm

Written by Kirsten Cook, Okanogan Conservation District

The heart of our communities is in our homes. The more fire-resistant those homes are, the more resilient we can be as individuals and as neighborhoods. The Methow Valley has a diverse housing stock, from mansions to mobile homes. The one thing many of them have in common is, unfortunately, their susceptibility to wildfire. Most of the homes that we see during risk assessments are rated as high or extreme risk.

As homebuilding continues to rebound...

How a Homeowner Association Successfully Developed into a Fire Adapted Community: Ways to get H.O.A. members involved with community projects

on Wed, 06/08/2016 - 11:00pm

Written by Dan Holman, Flowery Trail Community Association

A challenge for Homeowner Associations is getting membership involvement in projects that benefit all members. This was an issue for Flowery Trail Community Association ( F.T.C.A.), a community developed and platted in 19727 and consisting of 101 individual lots and a 4-plex condominium. During the early development of F.T.C.A., the emphasis of activity was installation of water, sewer, phone and electrical lines, and the building of roads. All lot holders are required to be members of F.T.C.A. and are responsible for...

Using Social Media to Engage Your Community Around FAC

on Wed, 06/01/2016 - 12:53am

Written by Emily Troisi, Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network

Editor's note: The original verison of this post was written for the Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) Learning Network and can be found at

Social media. It sometimes feels like it is something everyone is “supposed to do,” whether for networking, outreach or just garnering attention for the work you do. And in the past eight to ten years, it has shifted from something for just college students into something that everyone–from teens to grandparents, big businesses to small non-profits, and everyone in between–must use. Recognizing that there are good and bad reasons to use social media...

Balancing Snowy Winters with Fire Adapted Summers

on Wed, 05/25/2016 - 3:57pm

Written by Val Vissia, Lincoln County Conservation District

Standing in the garden in the early heat of June 2015, the smell of smoke was already in the air as the first fire of summer had started and they just kept coming. The first fire in Lincoln County started June 15th and burned 350 acres in an accidental farm fire - and we were off and they just kept coming. Field fires, lightning strikes and more lightning strikes, more accidental farm fires and even a fire caused by a tire coming off a truck on I-90 igniting grass and becoming a large fire event.

National Fire Networks Meeting Emphasizes Partnerships and Fire Adapted Ecology

on Tue, 05/17/2016 - 11:52pm

Written by Ryan Anderson, WA FAC LN Executive Director

During the week of April 25th through the 29th, I travelled to the annual workshop of the Fire Learning Network, the National Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network and the Indigenous Peoples Burning Network in Jacksonville, Florida. These groups are working primarily on two of the three “legs” of the Western Cohesive Wildland Fire Strategy- Resilient Landscapes and Fire Adapted Communities, although, response is represented by outstanding people in each network.

Yakima County Leaders Support Multiple Community “Roles” Engaged in Community Wildfire Resiliency

on Tue, 05/10/2016 - 10:58pm

Written by Andrea Ely, Yakima County Fire Marshal's Office

Like many areas in Washington State, the Yakima Valley contains many areas that have high to extreme wildfire risk. Our demographically diverse lands span from heavily forested vegetation to sage brush and grasslands. Our agricultural community with our desert hot summers add a significant amount of challenges in the event of a wildfire. It is these specific factors that make people like me, in the fire prevention field, hesitant to even speak those three little words: ”The Big One.”

A Trusted Translator: The Role of the Community Liaison in Creating Better Wildfire Outcomes

on Wed, 05/04/2016 - 7:57pm

Written by Karuna Greenberg, Salmon River Restoration Council

Editor's Note: A version of this post originally appeared on

If you’ve lived in the rural West for very long, chances are you’ve been affected by at least one major wildfire. Nearly every year a large number of communities are experiencing the real impacts of large wildfires in their backyards, and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.