Fire adaptation is for everyone
Within the FAC framework, everyone has a role to play.
When taking on fire adapted communities work, it is important to ask who is at the table, who is not at the table, who you could be working with, and what might be possible if you work together.
There are no constraints on each role – and we can’t do it alone. This effort is large and complex and we need all hands on deck. Let’s tap into our collective creativity, tools, knowledge, and understanding, and listen to a diversity of perspectives to make this work and fit the unique context of our special place.
Here are a few resources for you.
Stay on top of fire and smoke information, find toolkits, or connect to industry experts who can help you before, during, or after the fire.
Wildfires in Washington State (InciWeb)
Weather, Air Quality, and Smoke
Weather Alerts (National Weather Service)
Tips for How to Protect Myself and Family from Wildfire Smoke
Agricultural and Forestry Recovery Assistance (WSU Extension)
Resources for mental health, insurance, finances, clean-up, land management, and more for residents, businesses, local governments, and scientists (Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc.)
Living in Washington means living with wildfire. Your family, home, pets, and property are at the center of your life, and it is up to you to prepare for a broad range of inconvenient, and possibly tragic, outcomes. Whether it’s before, during, or after the fire, we understand that the way forward can be daunting. Take simple steps to get started.
Check out these recovery resources for children and families. (Southern Oregon Fire Ecology Education)
It’s neighbors that count during emergencies. When disaster strikes, “46% percent of individuals expect to rely a great deal on people in their neighborhood for assistance within the first 72 hours after a disaster”. (Source: ready.gov.) So, get connected! Get to know them and how you can help each other during a wildfire.
Here are a few programs to help you get organized and collectively take action.
Organizing Your Neighborhood
Get involved before a disaster occurs. (Ready.gov)
Start a Map Your Neighborhood program to help enhance neighborhood communications, improve disaster readiness, and prepare to help each other before emergency responders arrive. (Washington Emergency Management)
Learn how WAFAC members are using the Map Your Neighborhood program.
Join a Citizen Corps program to help build capacity for first responders.
For an example of a neighborhood program, check out the Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare (SNAP) program.
COMMUNITY GROUPS AND LOCAL LEADERS
Nongovernmental organizations, local leaders, city planners, and elected officials are constantly weighing what programs, projects, regulations, and resources will help our communities withstand wildfire and keep the homeowners’ ability to choose at the center of their decisions.
Community Planning Tool
Use this County Leadership Guide to plan and recover from wildfires. (National Association of Counties)
Request Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) to reduce wildfire risks through improved land use planning. (Headwaters Economics)
Collaborate with local partners to create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). (National Fire Administration)
Partner with state, tribal, and local governments to develop long-term strategies to protect people and property from natural hazards through hazard mitigation planning. (FEMA)
Community Recovery is always done at the local level!
A MUST READ: Joplin Pays it Forward – Leaders Share Recovery Lessons Learned
Develop a Community Organization Active in Disaster (COAD) before a disaster strikes so that you are ready to provide assistance to disaster victims. (Extension Disaster Network)
Use this Local Government Guide to Recovery or this Concise Guide to Developing Coalitions Active in Disaster as a framework to coordinate community recovery efforts. (Colorado Recovery and Resiliency Collaborative)
Contact WA Emergency Management to help with pre- and post-disaster recovery planning. Check-out these examples of long-term recovery plans shared by FEMA.
To connect with other professionals working on fire adaptation in the State, contact WAFAC members.
To learn how other professionals are applying fire adaptation practices and strategies in their place, read inspirational stories from the national Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network blog.
Up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen. (Source: Insurance Information Institute) When Washington business owners approach wildfire preparedness as an essential business activity, they protect their livelihoods and support their communities.
LAND OWNERS AND MANAGERS
In Washington, forest experts remove brush and vegetation and use controlled burns to mitigate unhealthy forest conditions. It’s technically, physically, and logistically demanding work that ultimately helps everyone live more safely with wildfire.
Check out this extensive list of livestock and farm assistance recovery resources. (WSU Extension)
The Post Wildfire Flooding Committee and WSU Extension offer technical assistance and extensive lists of post-fire recovery and flooding resources.
Learn about Burn Restrictions and obtain Burn Permits from DNR (where DNR provides wildfire protection on forested lands).
Contact the Washington Prescribed Fire Council or attend a prescribed fire training exchange to learn more about how to use prescribed fire as a tool for landscape restoration.
Local fire departments and state and federal firefighters navigate the challenging and dangerous frontlines of wildfire suppression, and above all, are charged with public and personnel safety. Because first responders typically experience a high level of community trust, they have a unique opportunity to support their community not only during the fire but before and after, as well.
STATE AND FEDERAL ASSISTANCE PRROGRAMS
State and federal entities offer community wildfire assistance programs focused on cooperation and collaboration. They provide funding and technical expertise for hazardous fuel reduction on non-federal lands, Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), prevention efforts to reduce human-caused fires, wildland fire training for fire departments, and rangeland fire protection associations (RFPAs), business continuity planning, and community recovery efforts. Check-out a few resources available in our State.
Financial Assistance Programs
- FEMA grant funds are available for pre and post-emergency or disaster-related projects. These funds support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, and many other programs.
- Check-out these blogs from the national Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network: “Post Fire Recovery Resource Round-up” and “Understanding Post Fire Federal Resources“
- Washington Emergency Management offers Disaster Assistance for individuals, businesses, government, public assistance, and community organizations and grants for state and local jurisdictions.
- Non-federal owners of fewer than 5,000 acres of forestland seeking to improve forest health and reduce the threats of wildfire and bark beetle damage are eligible to sign-up for cost-share opportunities for Central and Eastern Washington.
- USDA is here to help you prepare, recover, and build long-term resilience to natural disasters. Visit https://www.farmers.gov/recover for more information and to get started.
- USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service helps agricultural producers and communities through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) to quickly address serious and long-lasting damages to infrastructure and to the land after disasters, including wildfires.
- USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers disaster assistance and low-interest loan programs to assist agricultural producers in their recovery efforts following wildfires or other qualifying natural disasters. For more information on these programs, visit or contact your local FSA office.