It will been 9 summers since I was last in the Orleans area working as a wildland firefighter/ground thumper on the Six Rivers National Forest. This summer assignment sticks out in my mind for a number of reasons: (1) the beauty and ruggedness of the landscape (2) the perilous nature of this wildfire prone area (3) the remoteness of this area and (4) the icy cold and refreshing water of the Salmon and Klamath Rivers. There is a magnetic pull that attracts people of a certain ilk to these wild parts, some on the other hand like the Karuk people have lived in this valley since before Europeans settlement.
At the time of the Orleans Fire Complex in 2006, the unincorporated community of Orleans was not yet a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site. I can remember riding back to the fire camp on the windy Klamath River Hiway each evening, thinking this would be a perfect site for Firewise outreach activities. In 2011 Orleans became a nationally recognized Firewise Communities/USA site. With the community taking responsibility through leveraging Firewise principles and the recognition process, the journey to becoming more Fire Adapted is steadily being realized.
Upon becoming a Fire Adapted Learning Network Hub in 2013, this community and its leaders have spearheaded a return to tradition in northern California where more prescribed burning is being reintroduced onto the landscape to help mitigate the community's overall wildfire risk exposure. The practice of prescribed burning is and will continue to be a critical activity enabling long term community resilience and ecosystem sustainability. It is with great pleasure that I share this recent informative documentary and success story put together by community leaders Stormy Staats of Klamath Media and Will Harling, Director of the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council and FAC Learning Network. Enjoy.