Fire Adapted Communities at the Colorado Wildland Fire Conference
Authors: Emily Troisi
Last week I had the opportunity to go to the 2015 Colorado Wildland Fire Conference in Snowmass. This conference was packed with speakers who covered topics ranging from Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), to what it takes to create fire adapted communities, to the realtor’s perspective on wildfire, and more. The hardest part of the conference was trying to choose which session to go to because the agenda was stacked with interesting and informative concurrent sessions. One of the conference sponsors was FAC Net member organization Firewise of Southwest Colorado.
I think one of the unique things about the conference was that according to the goals, “this year’s conference [was] designed to provide the framework for becoming a Fire Adapted Community.” To achieve that end, they welcomed anyone “wishing to learn more about how they can reduce their community’s vulnerability to wildfire.” I found that the presentations were informative and engaging, which I think was a goal for the presenters because attendees had diverse backgrounds, from insurance agency representatives to firefighters, to land managers and more so they had to make their presentations accessible for a wide range of audiences. Additionally, people traveled from outside Colorado to learn from communities in Colorado working to become fire adapted.
While I really enjoyed all of the presentations I went to, I particularly liked Katie Lyon’s and Courtney Peterson’s presentation on community perceptions of the efficacy of CWPPs. Based on a study they did in Colorado, they provided data on how their respondents look at the effectiveness of CWPPs. I found their work particularly relevant for the work that our Community of Practice (CoP) on CWPPs is pursuing. Katie and Courtney will have a report coming out in the next couple of months, which I hope to follow up on with a blog post.
Scroll through our slideshow below for a taste of the topics that were part of this year’s conference:
(All photos by: Emily Troisi)
FAC Net’s own Molly Mowery gave a keynote speech on Saturday about utilizing the FAC approach. She touched on the history of the fire adapted communities concept, and how she feels that Colorado communities can benefit from becoming more wildfire-resilient and engaging with the new Fire Adapted Colorado network (FACO). She identified key steps in the development of a “FAC movement” that consisted of “transforming communities to live harmoniously with wildfire,” drawing on social movement research. Click here to view her slides.
Although 2015 has not been a big wildfire year in Colorado so far, I’m hopeful that the networking and learning opportunities afforded to conference attendees will ultimately strengthen a host of local FAC programs and help prepare residents for wildfires in future years.