FAC Advocate Receives Silver Smokey Award
Authors: Wendy Fulks
A 27-year Forest Service veteran who has been promoting FAC efforts across north Georgia (including the FAC Network pilot community of Towns County) recently received national recognition for his work. Mike Davis, Fire Management Officer for the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests in Georgia, received the 2014 Silver Smokey Bear Award at the Annual Southern Group of State Foresters’ Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 21.
According to a Forest Service press release, “the award is the highest honor one can receive for outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire prevention at a regional level.”
FAC practitioners will appreciate the fact that Mike’s success fostering partnerships was called out during the awards ceremony. Davis was said to possess “an uncanny ability to develop partnerships on a forest that covers some twenty-six counties across Georgia.”
Frank Riley, executive director of the Chestatee/Chattahoochee RC&D Council, is a FAC Learning Network participant who works closely with Mike. He had this to say about the award: “Mike is one of our main FAC & Firewise partners up here in North Georgia and is well deserving of this award. Our programs would not be nearly as successful without his help.”
The Towns County Fire Adapted Communities pilot project citizens coalition was listed among the diverse group of partners with whom Mike has worked. Davis and Riley actually convened the coalition, which has taken ownership of county-wide FAC efforts. According to Riley, Firewise and Ready Set Go! have been two of the most effective FAC tools in this setting. Nine new Firewise Communities (for a total of 12) have been designated in the county in just the last year or so. One of the citizens coalition’s priorities is to work with the county fire department to develop evacuation plans for the area.
The Silver Smokey Bear Award is an honor given to organizations or individuals for outstanding wildfire prevention service over at least a two-year period that is regional (multi-state) in scope. This merit award has been bestowed on well deserving groups and individuals annually since 1957. The National Association of State Foresters, the USDA Forest Service, and The Advertising Council sponsor the awards, and nominations are considered and voted upon by the members of the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention (CFFP) Committee.