Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fall Meeting of WFLC in Boise

WFLC members and others on field tour of Pony and Elk Complex Fires near Boise, Idaho September 7, 2016.  Photo: KTVB.com

The Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) met September 7th and 8th in Boise, Idaho. The activities for their fall meeting included an eye-opening field tour of the 2013 Pony Fire, a tour of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and a productive face-to-face.


"We're actually learning a lot from Idaho about how to get things done to reduce the threat of fire in the first place. Restoration activities, improvement of rangeland conditions, fire breaks, all of those things," said Robert Bonnie, Deputy Undersecretary with the Department of Agriculture. 

The face-to-face meeting kicked off with an informative presentation about Resiliency on Tribal Lands and show from members of the Yakama Nation and the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.  

The US Forest Service updated the Council on the "Life First" engagements around the country. It is clear that this initiative has impact far beyond the Forest Service as many states and other fire agencies are embracing the concepts of "stop, think and talk before acting," and risk-based decision making (a core principle of the Cohesive Strategy). WFLC examined how lessons from these engagements and those learned from the 2016 fire season can expand the learning environment and tie these concepts to existing agency protocols. 

Other meeting highlights included the National Strategic Committee (NSC) which updated the WFLC with outcomes from its face-to-face meeting two weeks prior where members finalized a review of Cohesive Strategy ideas and opportunities spanning the last six years. The NSC also challenged the WFLC with the questions - what is the role of the NSC moving forward and what is its composition? WFLC was supportive of the work to date and appreciated the candid conversations about how the NSC might evolve to  better serve the WFLC and the greater objective of implementing the Cohesive Strategy. The group committed to a refreshed look at the structure and purpose of the NSC over the months ahead. 

WFLC also heard updates on the original four priorities: Large Landscape Collaboration, Smoke Management, Environmental Compliance and Reducing Risk to Communities, as well as the efforts underway for the 2017 National Cohesive Strategy Workshop which will bring best science and Cohesive Strategy implementation together for greater understanding and achievement. 

The local news captured the WFLC visit here.

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