|Graphic courtesy of Washington Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network|
Stakeholders in Washington State are unfortunately a little too intimate with wildfire. With record setting wildfires in 2014 and 2015, they've had enough. Hungry for an alternative to the costly and reactionary model of fire management that has dominated the US for decades, stakeholders developed the Washington Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network (WAFAC). Funded by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), WAFAC facilitates learning and provides a means to invest resources in communities around Washington that are working to better live with wildfire.
Recognizing that programs such as Firewise, Ready, Set, GO! and Community Wildfire Protection Plans on their own are not enough, WAFAC provides a long-term, integrated approach to an issue that cannot be solved. The vision of the Cohesive Strategy is to learn to "live with wildland fire" and that goal is at WAFAC's core.
The Network provides member communities with resources to engage with other WAFAC participants, thereby increasing local capacity, and elevating the collective ability to adapt to communities' relationships to the complex fire issues we face.
Stakeholders in Washington learned from back-to-back catastrophic fires that pre-fire mitigation is not enough to deal with the effects of wildfire. The complex issues also include what to do during and after a wildfire. The WAFAC has embraced this reality and encourages communities to look at the entire range of issues, as depicted in their new graphic (above).
WAFAC suggests everyone has a role - "whether you are making sure your campfire is cold, supporting the use of prescribed fire, taking responsibility for your own home, evacuating calmly with your prepared 'go-kit,' or helping your community recover, you are making a difference. Everyone has a role in adapting to wildfire."
Lessons learned in Washington are helping inform progress towards Fire Adapted Communities nationwide.
Learn more here.