Friday, April 14, 2017

Firesafe Flathead - Building Fire Adapted Communities in Montana

The interior of the Copper King Fire in Montana, August 9, 2016. Photo: INCIWEB  
There is so much Cohesive Strategy behavior occurring across the West that it has become a bit of a challenge to figure out what to highlight here that demonstrates what implementation looks like. That said, it is important for us to recognize that at the very base of Cohesive Strategy implementation are communities. People. Their lives, jobs, families, relationships. Their understanding about the wildfire risk around them and their willingness to take action to reduce those risks is a major part of the cornerstone to building Fire Adapted Communities and making meaningful progress towards Resilient Landscapes and a Safe, Effective, Risk-Based Wildfire Response.    

Communities (and all that the term implies) are the key-est of key stakeholders to implementing the Cohesive Strategy. Engagement of communities is absolutely critical to building support for projects that ultimately impact them. So when I came across this example of implementation, I was happily reminded that changing cultures and behaviors starts at the local level. 

FireSafe Flathead is a group of community members including homeowners association members, firefighters, emergency planners, state and federal resource managers who meet monthly to plan a more proactive, community-based response to the threat of wildfire. 

Their recent meeting in March focused on how best to connect people living in fire-prone areas with resources to help them protect their property. They are planning a number of public education events around defensible space and meeting with homeowners associations for property assessments. FireSafe Flathead is also facilitating the revision of the Flathead Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and hosting a community screening of "Era of Megafires". A great effort to make their communities more fire adapted!

We continue to see local, community-based efforts like these be the convening vehicle towards community action to reduce risk. Great work FireSafe Flathead! It's groups like you that ignite the spark (pardon the pun!) that builds awareness, results in action and leads to Resilient Landscapes, Fire Adapted Communities and a Safe, Effective, Risk-Based Wildfire Response. 

Read more here about FireSafe Flathead. And here.  


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