Time to Get Serious about Implementing the Cohesive Strategy
Chris Topik, Director of NA Forest Conservation with The Nature Conservancy penned an insightful blog about getting serious with the implementation of the Cohesive Strategy. In summary, Topik writes, "In recent years, bemoaning our severe fire seasons has become an all-too common annual lament, heard from the coffee shop to Congress." The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy gave us a common platform for addressing our nation's wildfire issues and it's time to get serious about implementation. Citizen engagement and education is essential if people are going to prepare for nasty fires and perform the landscape and community mitigation we know reduces the intensity of uncharacteristic fires. Building meaningful capacity to engage in meaningful dialogue and preparation is much more cost effective than increasing firefighting once a fire takes off. Topik suggests that we must find a way to expand support to these grass-roots efforts that increase community, forest, water, wildlife and fire safety. What if we can mobilize the social and political will to perform wide-scale proactive forest treatments to better inoculate our communities, forests and waters from the worst of fire's destructive effects? We need a new wildfire paradigm - a new reality in which we stop automatically extinguishing all fires, significantly ramp up controlled burning, and engage and empower communities to help create a different, healthier and necessary new relationship with fire. This is after all, part of the vision of the Cohesive Strategy, to...as a nation, live with wildland fire. Read Topik's full blog post here.