After the Fire Toolkit in Action
Author: Annie Schmidt, 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 the National Weather Service and she was able to hand out the After the Fire trifold brochure (shown below) at the first public meeting during the fire! The willingness of the WIMT2 to create space for this important messaging was critical to its successful distribution. Post-fire impacts were highlighted in news releases from the incident (the IMT used portions of the Twitter/Facebook element of the tool). In addition, the ATF door hangers were given to the local fire district for distribution as soon as possible.
The development of the ATF has enabled information on post-fire impacts to be distributed during the incident itself, as opposed to later when the “teachable moment” afforded by the fire has closed. Wetting rain did occur on the Mills Canyon Fire, and while no debris flows occurred, information on post-fire impacts had already been distributed.
Key to successful distribution of post-fire impact information is early interaction with the Incident Management Team. Networking with your local Natural Resources Conservation Service and/or National Weather Service office is also critical. Once contacts are identified for the ATF materials, they can be printed and distributed through any means available.