Friday, April 14, 2017

A Learning Lab Success at the Arizona WUI and Firewise Summit

Members of Cohesive Strategy's Western Region often attend workshops and conferences that bring together fire management professionals and community members to learn from each other about how to better prepare for, respond to and recover from wildfire. At the 2nd Annual Arizona Wildland-Urban Interface and Firewise Summit, over 175 stakeholders gathered in Flagstaff April 29 and 30 for just that purpose. 

Dr. Andi Thode on living in fire prone environments. Photo: Kate Lighthall

Rob Galbraith, USAA Insurance on Insurance Industry wildfire issues. Photo: Kate Lighthall

The sessions covered a variety of topics including Firewise Communities and Fire Adapted Communities efforts, insurance industry concerns, fire managers' decision-making when responding to WUI fires, Community Wildfire Protection Plans and collaboration among stakeholders for better fire outcomes.

Our purpose in attending workshops like these is to network with attendees to help them see their roles in the Cohesive Strategy and how their work is making meaningful progress towards the three goals - Resilient Landscapes, Fire Adapted Communities and ultimately, living with wildland fire. At this workshop, we facilitated a Learning Lab exercise at the end of workshop that brought together all the presenters and attendees for some intense Cohesive Strategy learning. After a short introduction to what the Cohesive Strategy is, we asked participants share what they learned from each of the workshop presentations in the context of the Cohesive Strategy.  Over the course of the session, it became clear to participants that everything they are doing to protect their communities, increase the health of the forest and improve the fire response has a significant positive impact on each others' work and the three goals.  At the beginning of the exercise, many said their work only applied to one of the goals of the Cohesive Strategy but by the end, they understood how their work and accomplishments are interrelated, creating a synergistic effect and making meaningful progress towards all three of the goals and ultimately, helping them learn to live with wildland fire.

The Learning Lab exercise was a great way to wrap up the Summit and applaud the great Cohesive Strategy behaviors and work on the ground in Arizona!

For more on the Arizona WUI and Firewise Summit, click here.

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