Last week, I presented with my colleague Lucian Deaton on Firewise and wildfire safety topics at a symposium for continuing education credits for Arizona attorneys as part of the CLE program administered by Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. We were invited as part of a symposium titled The Wildfire Menace: Will the West Learn or Burn? How to Learn From History Instead of Repeating It. The two-day seminar was held at the Salt River Project PERA Club in Tempe, Arizona, to a group of about 70 participants. Lucian and I, along with Faith Berry and Tom Welle with our wildland fire team, were pleased to meet Arizona attorney Lou Jekel, a former NFPA Board member and former member of NFPA's Technical Committee on Forest and Rural Fire Protection.
The symposium focused on the critical issue of protecting Arizona’s forests, especially in terms of their value to watersheds. The presentations focused on diverse legal issues that arise from this concern. Among the presenters were Stephen Pyne (author and regents professor), Kenneth A. Hodson, Esq., Former Chairperson of the environmental and Natural Resources Law Section of Arizona State University (ASU), the Honorable Jon Kyl, former United State Senator, and the Arizona State Forester, Jeff Whitney. Topics included the important role fire plays in healthy ecosystems as well as the important role homeowners play in mitigating the negative effects of wildfire, which is where Firewise and Fire Adapted Communities concepts come in. Several presenters referred to the Firewise program and noted the more than 60 active Firewise Communities/USA throughout the state where residents are working to reduce fire risks.
Look for more information as NFPA staff will be part of a published Law Review symposium in the coming months.
Photo credit: Faith Berry, NFPA. From left, Michele Steinberg, NFPA; Jeff Whitney, Arizona State Forester; Lou Jekel, former NFPA Board member.