Backyards and Beyond Conference 2015
Authors: Molly Mowery
This year’s Backyards and Beyond conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina gave a group of FAC Network folks the opportunity to share their insights and network with wildfire colleagues from across the country. The following network members presented:
- Pam Wilson (FireWise of Southwest Colorado), Ed Keith (Project Wildfire, Deschutes County) and others discussed best practices for maintaining and growing a fire adapted community program.
- Frank Riley (Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D), Mike Davis (Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest) and others presented on the importance of collaboration in fire adapted communities.
- Jerry McAdams (Boise Fire Department) and Justice Jones (Austin Fire Department) highlighted their recent FAC learning exchanges (link to blog) in Texas and Idaho.
Personally, I was excited to learn from a number of sessions that focused on policy and regulations. Planners from across the country shared challenges and opportunities for incorporating land use planning into local community development and wildfire risk reduction projects. I was reminded that some regions may favor development restrictions more than others, and there is no one-size-fits all approach to creating and implementing regulations.
Here are a few other reflections from other FAC Network attendees:
“I am continually impressed and inspired by those who are truly dedicated to mitigation. Those who are committed to doing the work on the ground that results in real risk reduction. The enthusiasm and commitment to the larger mitigation effort and the innovation which results is what’s needed to reduce wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface.”
-Pam Leschak, National WUI/FAC Program Manager, USDA Forest Service
“I was especially interested in hearing from folks with practicable experience in certain areas. They involved the funding for and implementation of Community Wildfire Risk Assessments, Policy and Regulations Recommendations and Wildland Fire Response Improvements. I came away with information which both educated me and validated some of my notions.”
-Doc Bloodworth, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, Florida Forest Service
“Probably the most informative or educational portion for me was more information about the insurance industry. Insurance is something we talk about a lot but something that most of us don’t really understand the inner workings of. Through conversation and the USAA presentation I was able to learn more about how the insurance industry looks at wildfire risk. To hear that wildfire makes up only 1.5% of catastrophic losses puts things in perspective, but also to hear that insurance is paying closer attention to wildfire and the effects mitigation has on losses was promising.”
-Ed Keith, Deschutes County Forester, Deschutes County
Presentations will be made available on the conference website by the end of November.