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WESTERN REGION 2016 ACCOMPLISHMENT REPORT


our vision To safely and effectively extinguish fire, when needed; use fire where allowable; manage our natural resources; and as a Nation, live with wildland fire.

our mission To promote and facilitate Resilient Landscapes, Fire Adapted Communities, and a Safe, Effective, Risk-Based Wildland Fire Response across the geographic and political boundaries of the western landscape using a network approach.

Photo on front cover: Prescribed fire in New Mexico. Credit: The Forest Stewards Guild 2

Report designed and prepared by Kate Lighthall - January 2017


a strategic approach We, as stakeholders, operate within a complex wildland fire system, where environmental, social, political and financial realities drive outcomes. We’ve known since the inception of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy that changing cultures, attitudes and beliefs would be slow and often challenging. Over the last seven years however, much work has occurred at all levels to move the needle in the right direction - toward landscape resiliency, fire adapted communities and a safe, effective, risk-based response.

WRSC Leadership:

The WRSC is a vehicle for facilitation and communications in this effort. As a network hub, we provide a model for collaboration and outreach to build awareness, increase understanding and facilitate action towards the changing of cultures, attitudes and beliefs about wildland fire. The results of our actions are demonstrating how stakeholder engagement, collaboration and investment are reducing the negative impacts of wildland fire.

Bill Tripp Deputy Director of Eco-Cultural Revitalization Department of Natural Resources, Karuk Tribe

The WRSC membership interacted with stakeholders across the West throughout 2016 to share Cohesive Strategy principles, goals and examples of implementation. The following pages outline our strategic objectives and accomplishments as well as an accounting of our financial support under our 2016 Program of Work.

Craig Goodell Fire Ecologist US Forest Service, Reg 6 & 10

BLM WA & OR Joe Stutler Senior Advisor Deschutes County, OR

Brad Washa State Fuels Specialist Bureau of Land Management, Utah Kate Lighthall Coordinator

3 WRSC Fall Face-to-Face meeting. Photo: Kate Lighthall


Cohesive Strategy display. Photo: Kate Lighthall

4 WRSC members working on 2017 strategy. Photo: Kate Lighthall


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communications Objective: Continue to implement the Western Region Strategic Communications Plan. Effective communications remains at the structural core of our goal to facilitate implemention of the Cohesive Strategy. As such, it continues to be the driving force behind all our work and take top billing in our Program of Work. Over the past year, the WRSC has met its objectives under the Strategic Communications Plan and completed the following:

• Reviewed and updated the Western Region Strategic Communications Plan with a focus on key messages and emerging approaches to shared learning. • Shared successes and lessons learned, within existing systems and networks within the Western Region, other Cohesive Strategy regions, the National Strategic Committee and the WFLC. • Identified and provided resources for partners to participate in stakeholder/ partner conferences, meetings, workshops and other opportunities. • Provided facilitation, education and coordination assistance to state and federal agencies in Wyoming and South Dakota to host a Cohesive Strategy Workshop for stakeholders. • Published an annual accomplishment report for 2015 and a Stakeholders’ Accomplishment Report to showcase Cohesive Strategy activities and implementation in the Western Region. • Presented at and attended over 42 networking and educational opportunities. • Organized a “Learning Laboratory” event with local, state, federal and non-governmental partners and stakeholders to facilitate shared learning and around experiences related to specific topics in the context of Cohesive Strategy.

Website 475+ stories

2-5,000 monthly average clicks 50,000+ visits

eNews Nine (9) editions

1,500+ national & international subscribers

These traditional and social media efforts are distributed to stakeholders including federal, state, Tribal, and local agencies, private and non-governmental organizations. Through these networks, we reach thousands of stakeholders every week.

Twitter 2,199 followers 170 tweets 148,259 impressions

Facebook 885+ Likes

2-7,000 monthly average reach 23,400+ reach high

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January WFLC meeting/field tour in northern Florida. Photo: Kate Lighthall

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November WFLC meeting in Washington, DC. Harry Humbert, DOI Deputy Assistant Secretary; Mike Zupko, WFLC Executive Manager; Robert Bonnie, USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment at WFLC meeting. Photo: Kate Lighthall


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existing systems and networks Objective: Continue to be the western conduit to WFLC and the National Strategic Committee (NSC) and the other regions, to take advantage of existing systems and networks to facilitate implementation of the Cohesive Strategy in the West. The WRSC continues to be chartered by the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) which provides leadership for the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. Leadership from the WRSC regularly attended and communicated about WFLC meetings, and engaged specific WFLC members around regional accomplishments and identified barriers. WRSC members assisted WFLC’s National Strategic Committee (NSC) in the completion of a long-term project to examine the many bodies of Cohesive Strategy work over the past seven years, and prepare a summary of the history, progress and direction of Cohesive Strategy development and implementation. The Strategic Alignment Report also describes opportunities for WFLC action and support of Cohesive Strategy initiatives going into the future. Members participated in multiple opportunities around the region to elevate dialogue and educate policy makers to minimize air quality regulatory impacts on prescribed fire implementation as well as more efficient policy and regulatory structures to expedite planning efforts on landscape scale fuels management and restoration projects. The WRSC Coordinator worked with Northeast and Southeast Coordinators to expand their communications reach through development of their regional newsletters, their social media presence and development of their websites.

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relationship building Objective: Utilize Senior Regional Leaders as “conveners” to enhance and build additional relationships that expand and diversify networks; and advance understanding of the Cohesive Strategy at the field level and agency-wide. The WRSC has built a strong and diverse membership (see page 15) that has allowed us to take advantage of the influential reach of Senior Regional Leaders to reach audiences about the Cohesive Strategy dialogue and activity through their agencies and organizations. These leaders engaged in regular WRSC strategy meetings to share lessons and learning and assist in facilitating new opportunities for engagement in the region. Through these leadership opportunities, we have strengthened our relationships: • with state and regional foresters allowing us to develop and cohost a Cohesive Strategy Workshop for all levels of stakeholders in Wyoming and South Dakota. • with the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF) resulting in expanded Cohesive Strategy messaging nationally and internationally. • with Region 10 of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resulting in expanded educational opportunities and a focus on proactive approaches to disaster management such as the Natural Hazards Mitigation Planning Coffee Break Webinar Series and Community Wildfire Protection Planning. • with our science partners resulting in a study to examine wildfire transmission risk from US Forest Service lands to communities (to be completed in 2017) and the development of a Cohesive Strategy workshop: “All Hands, All Lands: Implementation Rooted in Science” (April 2017). • with our Tribal partners resulting in the increased state and federal focus on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and its beneficial use in fire and land management across the West. • with the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network resulting in cross messaging in the WRSC eNewsletter and other communications opportunities.

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engagement for FAC Objective: Actively engage federal, state, local, Tribal and non-governmental organization partnerships to focus on the goal of Fire Adapted Communities. The WRSC has long believed that the most visible evidence of moving the needle towards full implementation of the Cohesive Strategy will result from the development of fire resilient and fire adapted communities. Fire adapted communities understand their risk, are willing to accept some short-term risks for longer-term benefits and are committed to reducing risks of catastrophic losses from wildfire. The results have significant impacts on the agencies’ social license and ability to restore fire resilient landscapes through a variety of methods and provide for a safe, effective, risk-based wildfire response. The WRSC worked with the National Association of Counties (NACo) to develop a County Wildfire Playbook (to be launched in May 2017) and deliver an interactive Cohesive Strategy workshop for County Supervisors and Commissioners on building fire resilient and fire adapted communities. The Coordinator worked with the WFLC Reducing Risks to Communities Priority Task Group to identify community resources for funding mitigation projects.

WY State Forester Bill Crapser discussing fire adapted communities with western County Commissioners. Photo: Kate Lighthall

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Cohesive Strategy Workshop for Wyoming and South Dakota stakeholders. Photo: Kate Lighthall

implementation Objective: Continue to monitor and showcase implementation across the West. The intent of this objective was to seek information from partner organizations about how they measure and account for success related to Cohesive Strategy and utilize these measurements to show achievement of implementation across the West. This has been challenging. While we continue to showcase success stories, our partners have had difficulty quantifying success. At the November Face-to-Face meeting, the WRSC agreed to conduct an evaluation/survey to establish a benchmark of the level of implementation across the West in 2017. This will provide the WRSC with results that can be shared with our partners and provide us with focus areas for future strategic activities.

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large landscape collaboration Objective: Utilizing the WRSC Communications Plan and the “reference resource” expertise within the WRSC, enhance large landscape collaboration in the West. • WRSC members participated in WFLC’s Large Landscape Collaboration Priority Task Group and are developing a “Virtual Center of Excellence” (for launch in 2017), an online interactive database to help groups connect to peer resources around landscape resiliency efforts through collaboration. • WRSC members routinely promoted the “all hands, all lands” approach to developing resilient landscapes at meetings, workshops and conferences. • WRSC members worked within their individual networks to promote landscape scale projects that utilized the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Joint Chiefs program as well as the DOI Resilient Landscape Program and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Reserve Treaty Rights Lands program. • WRSC members within the Department of the Interior continued to promote and expand the understanding of Interior Secretarial Order 3336 on Rangeland Fire Prevention, Management and Restoration within the context of the Cohesive Strategy. • The WRSC added new collaborators from the regional Fire Science Consortia, Networks and Exchanges, the US Forest Service - Research, Development and Application department, the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, the University of California Cooperative Extension and the California Prescribed Fire Council.

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networking the cohesive strategy Throughout the year, WRSC members participated in and delivered presentations at a variety of events and other speaking opportunities to promote and encourage Cohesive Strategy principles and goals. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

National Association of State Foresters Meeting – January* National Association of Conservation Districts – January National District Rangers Conference – January National Wildfire Suppression Association Conference – February* 23rd Leaders in Agriculture Lecture - February Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Conference – February Idaho Emergency Managers Association Conference – February International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Wildland Urban Interface Conference - March* National Indian Forestry & Wildland Fire Management Conference – March

10. New Mexico Wildland Urban Interface Summit – March 11. Arizona Wildland Urban Interface and Firewise Summit – April 12. International Association of Wildland Fire’s 5th Fire and Fuels Conference – April* 13. Washington Partners in Preparedness Conference – April 14. National Emergency Management Association Conference – April 15. Fire Adapted Communities Annual Meeting – April 16. Collaborative Restoration Conference – April 17. National Association of Counties’ Western Interstate Region Annual Meeting – May* 18. Southwest Idaho Wildfire Mitigation Forum – May 19. Council of Western State Foresters/Western Forestry Leadership Coalition Meeting – May* 20. National Association of Counties’ Annual Meeting – June* 21. Intertribal Timber Council Annual Symposium – June 22. National Fire Protection Association’s Conference & Expo – June 23. Washington All Hands/All Lands Planning meeting - June 24. Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals and National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Joint Conference – June 25. Colorado Wildfire Conference - September 26. Washington State Emergency Management Association Conference – September 27. Central Oregon Cohesive Strategy Learning Lab – October 28. International Association of Emergency Managers Conference – October 29. Oregon Emergency Management Association Conference – October 30. Cohesive Strategy Workshop Wyoming & South Dakota – October* 31. Restoring the West Conference – October 32. Fire Ecology and Management Conference – November 33. Association of Fire Ecology’s Beyond Hazardous Fuels Conference – November 34. International Association of Wildland Fire’s International Smoke Symposium – November* 35. Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network Community of Practice Meeting – December 36. Intertribal Timber Council meetings - throughout year 37. Monterey County, California Learning Lab Meetings – throughout year 38. International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Wildland Fire Policy Committee Meetings – throughout year 39. Incident Commander/Area Commander Meetings – throughout year 40. Western Prescribed Fire Council Meetings - throughout year 41. US Forest Service & Bureau of Land Management Fire Leadership Meetings - throughout year 42. Conference calls and in-person meetings of WFLC and NSC - throughout year 12

* Travel expenses paid by the WRSC. The travel costs to attend the rest of these engagements were paid by members and partners committed to the Cohesive Strategy.


13 Flint Hills Kansas Annual Prairie Fire. Photo: Ryan Donnell.


financial snapshot REVENUE US Forest Service Grant

$250,000

*for 12 months beginning March 2016

EXPENSES

*from March to December 2016 Coordination Non Federal Travel Grant Admin to NACo Total Expenses to date

$96,484 $26,953 $25,000 (for 12 months) $148,437

* $101,563 remaining in grant fund, will roll over beyond March 2017

RETURN ON INVESTMENT The investment by the US Forest Service has allowed us to carry out the practical business of our charter to WFLC. The real value however, has been realized in the relationships developed as a result of our networking across the West to educate stakeholders and facilitate implementation of the Cohesive Strategy. These outcomes are the result of the exponential effects of utilizing the networks and systems of our partners and stakeholders to communicate the value and benefit of integrating the principles and goals of the Cohesive Strategy: • Increased willingness to collaborate across jurisdictional boundaries, • Greater understanding of risks and responsibilities, • Increased willingness to accept short-term risks for longer-term benefits • Greater collective investments in reducing risk across landscapes, and • Increased willingness to use unplanned ignitions for large landscape restoration, resiliency and resource benefit. 14


western regional strategy committee SENIOR REGIONAL LEADERSHIP

COLLABORATIVE ADVISORY TEAM

Tom Zimmerman

Craig Goodell, Co-Chair

Sue Stewart*

Brad Washa, Co-Chair

US Forest Service Region 4

Bureau of Land Management, Utah

Kevin Oliver

Susan Rich

Bureau of Land Management

New Mexico State Forestry

Bill Tripp, Co-Chair

Brett Holt

Karuk Tribe

FEMA Region 10

Joe Stutler, Co-Chair

Chuck Bushey

National Association of Counties

International Association of Wildland Fire

Bob Roper

Tom Quigley

International Association of Fire Chiefs

National Cohesive Strategy Science Team

Ken Murphy

Tom Welle

FEMA Region 10

National Fire Protection Association

Kevin Donham

Tami Parkinson

National Wildfire Suppression Association

US Forest Service, RD & A

Mike Brown

Michael Haydon

RRC Partners

US Fish & Wildlife

Michelle Medley-Daniel*

Elizabeth Cavasso*

Fire Adapted Communities Network

Modoc County, CA Board of Supervisors

Barbara Wolfson*

Lenya Quinn-Davidson*

International Association of Wildland Fire

Southwest Fire Science Consortium

BLM OR & WA/US Forest Service Region 6 &10

University of California Cooperative Extension California Prescribed Fire Council *New members for 2017

Photo on back cover: Alva, Crook County, Wyoming. Credit: Landwatch.

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“There are forces at play that we have little or no influence over;; and they direct

our attention to the things that we do;; and

invite participation by a broader set of stakeholders in addressing our current unacceptable outcomes.� Vicki Vicki Christiansen Christiansen Deputy Deputy Chief Chief US US Forest Forest Service Service

2016 WRSC Accomplishment Report  
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