Wildland Urban Fire Summit survey - Help us plan for the future!

IMG_7746.JPG

The Wildland Urban Fire Planning Committee is asking for your help as we develop future meetings. Your suggestions will help shape future Wildland Urban Fire Summits to better suit your needs.

20180505_104732.jpg

Please click on the link below to answer a short anonymous questionnaire that will assist our team. We also encourage you to forward the survey to anyone who might be interested, so we can collect as many responses as possible. We value your input.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CWB92HL

 

The WUFS Strategic Planning Committee thanks you!

The Guild's All Hands All Lands burn team starts out strong

2018 is the inaugural year of the Guild's innovative All Hands All Lands burn team. 

A summary of work (at right) shows the amazing good fire results this year as part of the new coordination of effort, skills, partners and resources. 

View this video by the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network! The video shares information and results from recent Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX) and also features the Guild's All Hands All Lands burn team coordination (starting at about 1:35 time in the video).

Bringing good fire back to fire adapted landscapes requires lots of training and partnerships. The materials above display some of the results of such collaborative efforts. Enjoy!

Thank you to all who support this essential and growing area of restoration management and wildfire prevention.

FAC practitioners gather in Santa Fe for asset mapping workshop

 Workshop participants. Top row from left, Sam berry, Tim Kirkpatrick, Rebecca Samulski, Matt Cook. Bottom row from right, Porfirio Chavarria, Shirley Piqosa, Marlita Reddy-Hjelmfelt, Jana Carp, Hamilton Brown, Matt Piccarello

Workshop participants. Top row from left, Sam berry, Tim Kirkpatrick, Rebecca Samulski, Matt Cook. Bottom row from right, Porfirio Chavarria, Shirley Piqosa, Marlita Reddy-Hjelmfelt, Jana Carp, Hamilton Brown, Matt Piccarello

It can be easy to discuss fire adaptation only in terms of the problems that need solving: overgrown forests, climate change, the wildland urban interface, etc. In doing so, we fail to recognize the strengths and capacity within our communities that – without the intervention of fire experts or outside funding – make it possible to incorporate living safely with fire part of everyday life.  The Mapping community assets to build wildfire resilience workshop, which was held June 26-28 in Santa Fe, provided participants a needed change in perspective from which to approach community fire adaptation work. One that starts by asking communities to plan from a place of strength by identifying their assets and mobilizing them to address their wildfire resilience needs.

 Jana Carp leads participants in discussion 

Jana Carp leads participants in discussion 

Workshop participants represented non-governmental organizations, local fire departments, tribal forestry programs, and their communities. The workshop was led by Jana Carp of Community Fire, based in Petaluma, CA. Jana brought over 20-years experience working in asset-based community development (ABCD) to Santa Fe. Over the last two years Jana has worked to bring an ABCD approach to fire adaptation. An ABCD approach to fire adaptation “considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development.” This philosophy is right in line with the vision for the FAC NM that recognizes “there is a lot of experience and knowledge in our formal and informal networks” and by offering technological solutions and tools for FAC members to connect we enable greater collective action.

 Participants identified their assets using an exercise they can bring back to their respective communities. 

Participants identified their assets using an exercise they can bring back to their respective communities. 

Throughout the workshop, participants explored their own assets and practiced exercises that can be conducted with communities to help them identify their own strengths and capacity. An important thing to remember about ABCD is that no matter what the context, be it wildfire issues or urban community development, community strengths are not limited to what is “typical” for addressing those issues. Having a neighbor with a chainsaw is certainly useful to help reduce hazardous fuel loads, but there is a role for everyone in fire adaptation regardless of their experience in forestry or wildfire. An artist can help design the flier for your community preparedness meeting, the school teacher can help create education materials for the kids in the neighborhood etc. Most importantly, encourage community members to identify their own assets as just about everyone has   interests and skills beyond what one might expect.

While the workshop provided participants with tools they can use to help communities identify their assets, perhaps more importantly, it helped participants change the way they approach fire adaptation. If we are going to promote Fire Adapted Communities as a way to live with fire, then our efforts should reflect this more positive approach that builds on existing strengths to encourage collective action. Workshop participants agreed to re-connect in September 2018 to check-in and share how they have used what they learned to affect change in their communities. Stay tuned!

Additional resources

Notes for participants

The Town's Abuzz: Collaborative Opportunities for Environmental Professionals in the Slow City Movement

Overview of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD)

Situation Assessment (ABCD)

Asset Mapping with Connectors (ABCD)

Fire Adapted New Mexico Powerpoint presentation 

FAC NM updates: Member profiles and Asset mapping workshop registration

Greetings FAC NM Members! 

Since our official launch at the New Mexico Wildland Urban Fire Summit (WUFS) in April, FAC NM we've been working to update www.facnm.org with content and member profiles from folks that signed up at the summit. If you have yet to sign up to be a member please do so here. Be sure to indicate whether you are interested in becoming a FAC Leader. The rollout of the FAC Leader program is on track for this summer. To view our updated member profiles, check out the FAC NM Member directory here.

We've also added new content to the resources page, such as Resources for Private Forest Landowners in New Mexico guide. Based on feedback received at the WUFS, we've added a "current projects" where partners and FAC NM members can share or find projects and funding opportunities for reducing wildfire risk and improving forest resilience. One current project, Landowner engagement in critical watersheds, provides assistance to forest landowners by offering a home hazard assessment and/or forest resilience assessment for their property. If you are interested in having an assessment done, click on the link above and complete the landowner support form.  

Registration is open for the asset-mapping workshop!

Join us June 26-28 in Santa Fe for the Mapping Community Assets to Build Wildfire Resilience workshop. If you are interested in participating, please complete the registration form available on the events page

Thanks to everyone who has joined FAC NM as a member and for all the input we received in the lead up to and during the WUFS. Like fire adaptation, our work to improve the network will never be done. We will continue to develop partnerships to increase wildfire resilience and make the network work for it's members. Don't forget to join the FAC NM forum and post your ideas for how to improve the network! 

From everyone at FAC NM, have a safe and fun summer!

 

 

 

Save the date!! Mapping Community Assets to Build Wildfire Resilience

Mapping Community Assets to Build Wildfire Resilience - June 26-28 in Santa Fe

Save the date for our first Fire Adapted New Mexico community workshop featuring community asset-mapping, a strategy for finding and connecting community strengths to build local capacity to live well with fire.

The 2.5 day workshop will cover basic principles of community asset mapping and guide individuals and groups in devising ways to apply hands-on practices where they live and work.  Participants will develop a practical understanding of how community asset mapping can support and advance their fire adaptation goals, and how to avoid common pitfalls of working with grass-roots initiatives. While the workshop will emphasize fire adaptation and resilience, community asset mapping is a useful approach to addressing other community planning challenges.

The workshop will be facilitated by Jana Carp, who has been working in asset-based community development for 20 years and now works with communities threatened by wildfire in Northern California. 

No specific prior knowledge or experience is needed. 

FAC Leaders Network Webinar #1

DSCF3546.JPG

Fireadapted NM is developing a FAC Leader's Network! A series of webinars with FAC partners will focus on developing the Leader's Network, training materials, and training curriculum. You access a recording of the first webinar at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBsr72I5cis&t=8s. If you are interested in participating in future webinars please contact Matt Piccarello at matt@forestguild.org

Program Trains Young Foresters

 Eddie Martines, 17, of Ojo Caliente measures the circumference of a ponderosa pine in El Rito Ranger District. He works for Forest Stewards Guild and is collecting data for the U.S. Forest Service.  Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal

Eddie Martines, 17, of Ojo Caliente measures the circumference of a ponderosa pine in El Rito Ranger District. He works for Forest Stewards Guild and is collecting data for the U.S. Forest Service.

Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal

By Cristina Olds / For The Journal  Published: Thursday, June 30th, 2016 at 12:01am  Updated: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 at 8:25pm

The six teenagers in red hard hats and leather boots spread out in the forest plot like they mean business. Eddie and Marcos wrap a measuring tape around a tree to determine its circumference.

Raelynn peers through a prism to count mature trees in the mapped circle of land. Lawrence counts his paces to calculate the height of the ponderosas, following an angle he’s scoped on a compass.

They’re a Youth Conservation Corps crew of young people from the little community of El Rito working in a nine-week summer program through the Forest Stewards Guild’s YCC program. They earn an hourly wage, two college credits through Santa Fe Community College, and a diversity of forestry job skills with this fun alternative summer job.

 Raelynn Archuleta, 18, of El Rito uses a prism to determine which trees are within a plot she and others are collecting data about in El Rito Ranger District.  Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal

Raelynn Archuleta, 18, of El Rito uses a prism to determine which trees are within a plot she and others are collecting data about in El Rito Ranger District.

Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal

“Using this fancy tool – it’s a clinometer – we know the trees here are about 40 to 50 feet tall,” Lawrence says.

The crew members share the data they’re collecting with Shawnee, a recent agriculture economics and business administration graduate of New Mexico State University. With her five years of YCC summer experience, Shawnee is the crew trainer this year. She wears an official forester’s vest and carries a clipboard, while representing the fulfillment of one of the goals of the program: to interest young people in conservation education and careers in the organizations serving a conservation mission.

“Our focus is on high school-aged youth,” says Eytan Krasilovsky, Forest Stewards Guild’s Southwestern director. “We work in partnership with the Forest Service with the goal to provide employment, education, and conservation work in New Mexico’s forests and watersheds. The program helps give kids skills so they can continue their education and possibly work with organizations like the USFS, BLM, and BIA.”

Krasilovsky has worked with the Santa Fe-based Forest Stewards Guild for 11 years. He’s one of many education experts who lead the youth crews in the variety of projects they tackle each summer. The USFS also provides specialists in streams, wildlife, forestry, fire, and range resources, and the crews’ projects include maintaining campgrounds, building trails, and habitat restoration.

The El Rito crew recently spent a week pulling down older barbed wire fences and replacing them with wildlife-friendly fences without barbs on the top and bottom wires. “Putting in new fencing keeps the cows in the right area, while the new wildlife-friendly fences allow deer and elk to access water cisterns without getting snagged,” Krasilovsky says. He also describes a water catchment system, built from steel roofing and covered to slow evaporation, that serves wildlife in low-water areas surrounded with this new fencing.

Recent Mesa Vista High School graduate Raelynn says the fencing project was her favorite so far. “I like the hard work,” she says, “and the hiking into the timber plot project is killing us.”

Lora Arciniega, silviculturist for El Rito ranger district, is the Forest Service specialist helping the crew collect data from timber plots this week. The crew learns to find previously plotted areas with GPS trackers and compass points and often treks over a couple miles of rough terrain into the woods.

“This week, we’ve taken readings from about 15 sample plots from a larger inventory,” Arciniega says. “I’ll enter the information into a USFS database to give us overall current conditions of the forest health.”

At the next plot, 16-year-old Marcos bores a narrow hole into a healthy medium-sized ponderosa to take another reading on the resilience of the forest. With the increment bore, he extracts a wood core that shows the tree’s growth and age. Marcos marks 10-year increments on the core with a ballpoint pen. “It’s about 70 years old,” he says, as the group examines the past decade of rings, which are close together compared with other decades.

“Even though this area was pre-commercially thinned and logged within the last 10 years, it’s still not doing too good,” Arciniega says. “There’s room for treatment.”

The crew from El Rito will prepare the area for fire crews to perform prescribed burning later in the year by flagging the boundaries.

Forest restoration and resilience affect all the entities present, from the Forest Service to the youths who call El Rito home. Besides learning leadership and forestry skills, the YCC crew is making a difference in their community.

Cottonwood Gulch/Pratt Ranch Burn

October 2015, Matt Piccarello, Forest Stewards Guild

Guild staff and a diverse group of partners accomplished 101 acres of broadcast burning across two adjacent private landowner’s property. The majority of those acres were on the Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, a non-profit youth summer camp. Remaining acres were burned on the Pratt Ranch.

It takes practice to see singed land as something good. Several years ago, the sight would have been terrifying to me, more like an apocalyptic scene than a healthy one. But as I learned more about how this forest evolved and which parts were ecologically healthy, my opinion of fire grew more nuanced; fire retained its destructive capability, but it gained the power to reawaken a listless landscape.
— Jordan Stone, Assistant Director of Cottonwood Gulch

As with other Guild prescribed burns, operations began with training opportunities for Guild staff and our partners. Jeremy Bailey, the Associate Director for Fire Training for the Nature Conservancy and burn boss, led burn participants in a refresher course to retain certification as wildland firefighters. Members of the local Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) from Bluewater Acres became certified as wildland fire fighters for the first time and completed their pack tests (3 miles in 45 minutes while wearing a 45 pound weight vest). Building the capacity of the local VFD to respond to wildfires in their jurisdiction was a major accomplishment.

The burn unit was comprised mostly of ponderosa pine and was interspersed with piñon-juniper and patches of Gambel oak. The burn plan was guided in part by field surveys Guild intern Nick Biemiller completed this past summer. Several forest thinning projects throughout the unit over the last twenty years improved forest structure, however, several pockets of dense small-diameter ponderosa pine remained. Because the unit had not experienced fire in over one hundred years, a thick carpet of pine needles and dead and down logs created unsafe fuel loading which inhibited grass growth in the understory.

Cool and moist fall weather presented an opportunity to burn safely given the site conditions while still moving the forest towards a more resilient state. Despite a fair amount of precipitation earlier in the month, the rain stopped just in time to allow fuel on the site to dry out. Initial observations of fire effects indicated much of the unit burned at low to moderate severity. A few small areas of particularly dense ponderosa pine experienced torching. These openings will add biological diversity to the forest understory of grasses and wildflowers. Stump holes and thick layers of pine needles and duff continued to smolder even after over an inch of rain fell on the site. For several days, Bluewater Acres patrolled the unit and ensured that control lines held.

The Guild is fortunate to be part of a growing network of natural resource and fire professionals looking to gain experience in prescribed burning. Without these partners, the Cottonwood Gulch/Pratt burn would have been impossible. Organizations and individuals that participated in the burn included; the Cibola National Forest, U.S. Geological Survey, Isleta Pueblo, seasonal wildland firefighters, Bluewater Acres Volunteer Fire Department, Cottonwood Gulch Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Arid Land Ideas, and the City of Santa Fe Fire Department. Additionally, the Santa Fe County fire department, and Bandelier National Monument provided equipment for the burn. The network grows with each prescribed burn and highlights the demand for experience in prescribed burning. With more prescribed broadcast and pile burns on the horizon, Southwest Guild staff will continue to make opportunities for our partners to gain experience returning fire to New Mexico forests.

The benefits of prescribed fire in New Mexico extend beyond ecology. Many communities remain fearful of prescribed burning, perhaps a legacy of the 48,000-acre Cerro Grande fire, an escaped prescribed burn that destroyed over four-hundred homes in Los Alamos, NM. With every successful prescribed burn the Guild and our partners complete, we foster greater acceptance and understanding of the need for prescribed and managed wildfire in New Mexico.