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October 26, 2011 Previous day Next day

Wildland fires are not only a problem here in the United States, but in countries around the world. Today in Denver, at a special pre-conference session, a group of international attendees met to follow up on discussions initiated at the 2011 International Wildfire Conference in South Africa. Together, they have formed a “Community Based Fire Management Working Group” aimed at promoting community level wildfire mitigation, prevention and education on a global level. Their goal is to have this information take a prominent place in sessions at the next International Wildfire Conference in 2015 in South Korea.

Front row (from left):
Kelly O'Shea, Partners in Protection Executive Director, Canada; Molly Mowery, NFPA Wildland Fire Operations Division; Alan Westhaver, Partners in Protection board, Canada; and Michele Steinberg, NFPA Wildland Fire Operations Division 

Back row (from left): Dave Nuss, NFPA Wildland Fire Operations Division Director; Kelly Johnston, Partners in Protection board, Canada; Zane Erasmus, Cape Nature, South Africa; Thomas Mackenzie, FFA Firewise Africa, South Africa; Jim Shannon, President, NFPA; Pieter van Lierop, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Italy; and Val Charlton, FFA Firewise Africa, South Africa.

- Mike Hazell

Up to 10,000 Colorado residents were without power today as the season's first snow storm dumped up to 12 inches of snow across the state, according to FOX 31 Denver. Photo: Kelly Caudle/FOX 31 Denver

A little snow (well, OK, a good amount of snow) couldn’t stop the steady stream of attendees from arriving at the DoubleTree Hotel here in Denver for the start of this week’s “Backyards & Beyond” conference. Over the next few days, NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division is hosting this event, offering more than 45 educational sessions in five tracks.

This conference couldn’t be any more timely. The 2011 wildfire season is on its way to becoming one of the worst on record. And it’s not just a problem here in the United States. During this conference, we’re welcoming attendees from South Africa, Australia, and Canada, who join us to learn from the experts - and each other - how we can tackle our world’s wildfire problem.

Keep checking back on this blog, as we’ll be offering session overviews, photos, and video from NFPA's “Backyards & Beyond” conference.

If you like to get your conference updates in 140 characters or less, you can also follow this conference on Twitter at

And last but not least, check out our Firewise Communities Facebook page for updates, photos, and general information about wildland fire safety. 

- Mike Hazell

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