FAC Network at the WUI Conference
Authors: Wendy Fulks
Fire adapted communities was a primary theme of this year’s Wildland Urban Interface conference, which was organized by the International Association of Fire Chiefs. There were approximately 500 attendees. The Peppermill Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada was the venue for the conference again this year. I counted at least a dozen FAC Network members at the conference, several of whom gave talks and sat on panels. The exhibition hall was a great place to mingle, network and pick up swag. The event even garnered some media coverage that features Frank Riley. During the evenings, I noticed FAC Network members enjoying themselves in the casino – one group even went bowling one night.
We asked FAC Network attendees to share a little bit about what they took away from the event:
Forest Schafer: The WUI conference this year emphasized the connections between regional policies and local action by bringing together policy makers and implementers at all levels to learn from each other and share what works.
Mark Brehl: I was impressed with the conference and common thread of FAC woven into nearly every session I attended.
Ed Keith: Perhaps the thing I was most impressed with is the fact that there are many approaches to solving our collective challenges. All the different programs out there have aspects they have tailored to the needs of their specific communities, and hearing about those inspires new ideas.
Jerry McAdams: The benefits of attending the WUI conference, or any conference that incorporates the FAC concepts, are twofold. First, the educational sessions are interesting and informative. Of particular value was the session on community evacuation planning, which seems to be a lacking FAC concept in numerous jurisdictions, including our own. Secondarily, but more importantly, the networking that takes place during these types of conferences is invaluable. Being able to talk one on one with researchers and practitioners, in the field of wildfire mitigation, provides the ability for an individual to take away key FAC concepts and apply those concepts to their own communities.
Frank Riley: I learned and was inspired that I’m not alone with my challenges and bumps in the road trying to help our people protect their lives and property because sometimes it’s like trying to push a rope and we all have the same rope!
Justice Jones: The IAFC WUI Conference reinforced that continuity of relationships are key to implementing and sustaining a local cohesive strategy. To accomplish this in the Fire Service will necessitate a paradigm shift that incorporates new perspectives and nontraditional resources to effect that change.
Katie Martel: I felt honored to be there amongst the leaders and innovators of wildfire prevention and mitigation. I was also incredibly moved by the humility of the presenters, award winners and attendees.
John Cowie: I am always inspired by the dedication and knowledge of all who attend….. The WUI conference is a great way to recharge my efforts for the upcoming year!
We hope you enjoy this slideshow from the conference. I’m already looking forward to next year.