Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Mexico and Utah the Newest States for USAA Homeowner Discounts

Up to seven states now, USAA added New Mexico and Utah last week with approved filings to give homeowners insurance discounts to members living in communities recognized by the Firewise Communities/USA program. 

This discount applies to policies issuing or renewing on the following dates in the states listed below:
  • California - Policies effective on or after 10/1/2014
  • Colorado - Policies effective on or after 5/30/2015
  • Texas - Policies effective on or after 6/30/2015 
  • Arizona - Policies effective on or after 2/15/2016
  • Oregon – Policies effective on or after 6/30/2016
  • New Mexico - Policies effective on or after 1/1/2017
  • Utah - Policies effective on or after 1/5/2017
The Cohesive Strategy encourages incentives to help increase participation in wildland fire mitigation programs. Thanks to USAA for being a great partner in Firewise efforts!   

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Northeastern Wyoming Awarded Over $1.4 Million for Collaborative, Cross-Boundary Projects

Alva, Crook County, Wyoming. Photo: Landwatch

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced their 2017 investment of $225 million for conservation projects across the nation. Of those, two are in northeastern Wyoming.
The Northeast Wyoming Forest Resiliency Project was awarded $1,285,540 to improve forest and rangeland health and resiliency, decrease wildfire risk and enhance wildlife habitat. The mountain pine beetle epidemic and drought conditions have negatively impacted the landscape and this project will address issues on 2,200 acres of private lands across Campbell, Crook and Weston Counties. The project will be further extended on adjacent lands managed by federal agencies as they are currently working to implement similar forest management on their lands. 
In addition, the Northeastern Wyoming Sage-Grouse Habitat Enhancement project will receive $200,000 to help expand conservation efforts with a focus on restoring sage-grouse habitat while maintaining viable agricultural operations. Projects include sagebrush and rangeland restoration, grazing management, invasive species treatment, streambank restoration and restoration of wildland fire and other disturbances to minimize erosion.
Both projects will build on existing collaborative efforts among landowners, state and federal agencies, academia and other conservation organizations working in northeast Wyoming. 
These types of public-private partnerships are strongly supported by the Cohesive Strategy because the increased benefits achieved by working collaboratively across boundaries.  Congratulations! 

Read more here and here.  

From CWPP Recommendation to Implementation on the Ground in Colorado

Firefighters from the Stonewall Fire Protection District help thin the forest at North Lake State Wildlife Area. Photo: CSFS.

Nestled in the mountains 35 miles from Trinidad, Colorado lies the North Lake State Wildlife Area.  A recreation mecca, the area is also a part of a large watershed that delivers fresh water for Trinidad's municipal, industrial, agricultural and other uses.  
“A catastrophic wildfire within this watershed would in all likelihood negatively impact water quality and delivery infrastructure, affecting thousands of people within Las Animas County,” said Mark Loveall, assistant district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) La Veta District.
Through a project that stemmed from a 2014 Community Wildfire Protection Plan, firefighters from the Stonewall Fire Protection District have been hand-thinning the forest at North Lake State Wildlife Area by removing unhealthy, suppressed and dying trees, as well as trees in overly dense stands.  
The main goal of the project is to protect the water quality of the North Fork of the Purgatoire River watershed, which supplies water to Trinidad and almost 85 percent of Las Animas County residents.  
Forests that have become unhealthy and overly dense can set the stage for exceptionally intense, devastating wildfires that directly impact water supplies by introducing ash, soot and other contaminants into waterways, and increasing erosion and resulting sedimentation downstream. But active forest management, including forest thinning to reduce fuels and create fuel breaks, can mitigate wildfire concerns and resulting watershed impacts.
The project is a collaboratively supported effort between the Colorado State Forest Service, the Stonewall Fire Protection District, Colorado's Department of Natural Resources Wildfire Risk Reduction Grant Program, the City of Trinidad, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Spanish Peaks/Purgatoire River Conservation District and the Bar NI Community Service Fund.  
This project highlights a number of Cohesive Strategy behaviors including a strong Community Wildfire Protection Plan, restoring resilient landscapes to protect watersheds, communities and future firefighting efforts, collaborating with a diverse stakeholder group to get this project from a recommended action to implementation on the ground and continued communication with the local public to help them understand what living with wildland fire is all about.  


Great Outreach Idea - New Year's Resolution

Pitkin County, Colorado takes advantage of the New Year to include an important message: Make wildfire safety a New Year's Resolution! With links to local resources and Firewise, this is a great idea! Worth sharing and/or stealing!  :)

See full ad here.  

WiRē Uses Science to Help Communities Address Wildfire Risks

The Colorado-based Wildfire Research group is an interdisciplinary team of experts who use scientific data to make fire-prone communities safer. Photo: WiRē.
The damage wildfires cause to homes and the costs of containing these fires are expected to rise sharply as climate change and land use patterns put ever more communities in the path of danger.  With that premise, the the Colorado-based Wildfire Research (WiRē) group has been helping to make fire-prone communities safer since 2012 by applying scientific data to tailor wildfire education and outreach programs to better meet local needs, beliefs and attitudes. 

The interdisciplinary team of experts in economics, sociology and wildfire risk mitigation works together to find a better way for scientists to collaborate with those running on-the-ground wildfire prevention programs or creating fire-related policies.

By tackling assumptions about what's happening in fire-prone communities, the WiRē group assists by gathering data and providing insights that allow wildfire education and outreach programs to do their work in ways that are informed by science. The group works with communities, wildfire councils and those managing wildfire education programs.

Learn more here about WiRē's recent work to assist the Town of Mountain Village in Colorado.  And visit the WiRē website here.

The Cohesive Strategy is firmly based in sound science and strongly supports implementation efforts to achieve its three goals that are rooted in science.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Fire Department Learning Exchange - Mutually Beneficial Tool in Learning to Live with Wildland Fire

The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network is big on learning.  From each other. Big on the power of continued learning from the sharing and engagement of partners, neighbors, friends and allies facing similar challenges around wildland fire. The goal?  Better fire outcomes and learning to live with wildland fire. Very Cohesive Strategy.  

In this video, the FAC Learning Network documents the Fire Department Exchange between departments in Boise, Idaho and Austin, Texas.  Take a look.  

Drought Linked to Wildfires and Air Quality

Simulation of summertime haze in Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness. Photo:University of Utah/EPA/NPS

From United Press International:
Scientists have identified a link between droughts in the West and air quality in the Rocky Mountains. Researchers suggest prolonged droughts are encouraging haze in the mountains.
In a new paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, scientists at the University of Utah argue wildfires at least partially explain the link between drought and haze.
Haze is the accumulation of dust, soot, ash and other particulates trapped in the atmosphere. Depending on the types of particles, haze can have both warming and cooling effects.
Previous studies have suggested haze levels are decreasing across the United States. But the study identified a few anomalies, small pockets of the alpine West where peak summertime haze levels continue to rise.
Atmospheric scientist Gannet Hallar confirmed the findings using instruments designed to measure aerosol optical depth, a metric for the amount of aerosols between the sensor and the sun. 
Read more here