Wildfire Adapted Partnership (WAP) provides education, planning and implementation support to residents across the five southwest counties of southwest Colorado (Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan). WAP manages a unique Neighborhood Ambassador Program which is the backbone of our organization. Volunteer ambassadors lead by example and serve as catalysts within their neighborhoods, encouraging their neighbors to become more aware, active and prepared for wildfires. Ambassadors receive training, support, ongoing education, access to wildfire information experts, and notice of grant opportunities to help their high-wildfire-risk neighborhoods become more fire adapted. In 2018, WAP is supporting about 135 Ambassadors representing 95 communities.
WAP offers planning support in the form of Community Wildfire Risk Assessments and Community Wildfire Protection Plans and we also offer several incentive programs (Kickstart, Chipper Rental Rebate, Defensible Space Cost Share Program) to help residents with both mitigation work and the disposal of slash.
WAP offers a wide variety of workshops and tours to help residents better understand both the impacts of fire and how they can reduce those impacts. WAP brings many partners together twice a year to share information and discuss regional issues.
In 2015, WAP (then FireWise of Southwest Colorado) started a collaborative group — the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative (DWRF) in Montezuma County that is looking at ways to protect water quality in McPhee Reservoir through forest restoration in the Upper Dolores watershed.
Our organization consists of an Executive Director and Coordinators in La Plata, Archuleta, and Montezuma counties.
Fire Adapted Communities Neighborhood Ambassador Toolkit
A fire adapted communities (FAC) neighborhood ambassador approach is a mechanism for
reaching out to and engaging with neighborhoods to help them understand their wildfire
risk and encourage and motivate residents to take action to reduce that risk. The very
nature of the approach builds community and promotes taking personal responsibility for
where you live—regardless of whether you live within or outside of the wildland-urban
interface. Within this approach, offerings can be tailored to the needs and context of a
community while still meeting the overarching purpose of engaging residents in fulfilling
their role in living with fire.
Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative
In 2015, WAP (then FireWise of Southwest Colorado) was a founding partner of the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative (DWRF). In anticipation of natural disturbances, such as wildfire, flooding, drought, and beetle outbreaks in the 667,000 acre upper Dolores River basin, the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative is an inclusive local group who share collective knowledge and resources, taking responsibility to meet the broad needs for community disaster readiness and a resilient watershed.
Stakeholders interested in the protection of the Upper Dolores River watershed have been meeting since July 2015 to assess wildfire risks to the watershed and to determine a course to accelerate active forestry practices across boundaries that protect or restore watershed health and other resources. Wildfire Adapted partnership holds the contract for coordinate this ad-hoc collaborative group and facilitate the dialogue with partners, who include the USFS, BLM, CSFS, Dolores Water Conservancy District, county and town governments, timber industry representatives, Dolores Fire Protection District, San Juan Citizens Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Mountain Studies Institute, and more. More on this collaborative can be found at www.dwrfcollaborative.org.
Biomass Working Group
A regional working group came out of regional wildfire collaborative meetings, with the acknowledgment that there is not always an outlet for the biomass removed during fuel reduction projects, and building the forest product industry will improve the economics of some forest treatments. The group commissioned a biomass study in 2015 to weigh a variety of potential biomass opportunities with an understanding of current harvesting and processing capacities. WAP is facilitating the initial efforts with participants including the USFS, CSFS, Mountain Studies Institute, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Southwest Colorado Conservation Corps, and Southern Ute BIA.