Friday, December 11, 2015

NACo's Safe & Secure Symposium Focused on Disasters Such as Wildfire

Mobile workshop to Waldo Canyon Fire site in Colorado Springs, CO.  Photo: NACo
The National Association of Counties (NACo) sponsored the Safe and Secure Counties Symposium in Colorado Springs, CO last week.  Over 200 county commissioners and supervisors attended the conference and received valuable education around a variety of disasters including wildfire and subsequent flooding, cyber threats, crisis communications and other  challenges that counties are facing today. The Western Region for the Cohesive Strategy was on the agenda to discuss management strategies with local fire and water officials who have the unfortunate experience of dealing with two large wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes in the recent past - the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012 and the Black Forest Fire in 2013. The session ended on a high note with a field visit to the site of the Waldo Canyon Fire where county commissioners and supervisors heard more about the response to the fire, what local jurisdictions have implemented since then to reduce the risk of future large scale losses and the challenges still being confronted. 

Counties across the West are a valuable partner in the implementation of the principles and goals of the Cohesive Strategy as they are the first line of information and response when wildfires break and when the incident is over and residents are seeking assistance for damages caused by fires or subsequent flooding.  Many counties across the west have implemented innovative, "all-hands, all-lands" solutions to mitigating future risks from wildfire and improving local resiliency to such disasters.  See more about one example discussed during the session - the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project here


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