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November 13, 2013 Previous day Next day

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Author Linda Masterson


I'm honored to help moderate a session tomorrow at Backyards & Beyond in Salt Lake City featuring author Linda Masterson. She'll be talking about her book, +Surviving Wildfire: Get Prepared, Stay Alive, Rebuild Your Life+ and its impetus from her own experience of doing just that. 


Linda and her husband lost their home near Fort Collins, Colorado, in the Crystal Fire in 2011. After working through the insurance claims process and rebuilding her life, she used her significant talents to research and write a handbook that every property owner in the WUI should own. I was privileged to review and provide comments on her draft manuscript. Linda has so much important information to convey that every homeowner should know. 


Linda will also be a featured speaker along with Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association &#0160;during our lunchtime presentation on Friday. I&#39;ll be moderating this discussion about "Why Do We Prepare? A Property Insurance Perspective".</p>

James ShannonLast June, the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona killed 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. Over the past century, we have come to see events such as the Yarnell Hill Fire as infrequent but inevitable, says NFPA President Jim Shannon in "First Word" in the November/December issue of NFPA Journal. We treat the wildfire problem as though it is some sort of fluke, he says, when it is a problem that will grow steadily worse over the next generation, inflicting death on the scale of Yarnell Hill again and possibly much sooner than in the past.

The federal government's response has been uneven, pulling resources away from the most basic needs of communities threatened by wildfire. While the government supports excellent programs to help communities adopt policies to make them safer, such as the Firewise and Fire Adapted Communities programs, those efforts are not enough. To prevent another Yarnell Hill, Shannon says we need a better coordinated national effort to deal with fundamental changes in the nature, scope, and consequences of wildfires.

--By Kathie Robinson

Blog - snippet montage 11.13

Within a couple of minutes of recently talking with Chris Chambers (Forest Division Chief) and Ali True (Firewise Communities Coordinator) with the City of Ashland Fire & Rescue, I instantly knew they’re part of a robust team fully committed to making Ashland, Oregon a fire adapted community

The collaborative undertakings of this city are impressive; they’ve worked hard to incorporate the many concepts that make them a great example of how much can be accomplished when stakeholders work together to make a plan come to fruition.   

After our conversation, I couldn’t stop thinking about the progress that’s been made in reducing their community’s wildfire risk, their proactive actions, and acknowledgment of surrounding resources and assets is a model for others to emulate.  In addition to Ashland Fire & Rescue, actively involved stakeholders include the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon Department of Forestry, BLM and the Nature Conservancy, along with private and city owned properties, all working together to perform cross-boundary wildfire fuels reduction work.

A recently produced video from the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project demonstrates the collaboration that has been embraced by the community, businesses, elected officials, along with environmental and safety leaders.  Everyone with a role in wildfire mitigation should take ten minutes to watch this video and share it with their partners and residents.  There's lessons we can all learn from our sister community's successes -and this story takes those lessons into the major leagues.

Their efforts have extended into outreach projects with youth, including the Ashland Watershed Youth Training and Employment Program, Firewise classroom outreach to fourth graders, and clean-up days sponsored by the local sanitation company; along with events during their Firewise Week campaign. Twelve communities participate in the national Firewise Communities/USA recognition program and the fire department provides wildfire assessments to every resident.

Ashland is proving what can be accomplished and is setting the bar very high for others to follow!

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