More than 300 fire chiefs, firefighters, first responders, staff members, homeowners and vendors converged on Reno, Nevada, last week for the annual International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Wildland Urban Interface Conference. Wildfire experts from New Jersey, Georgia and all of the western states, as wells as representatives from Australia and Canada attended the event.
A major workshop panel featured California Fire Safe Council’s Katie Martel, Grant Manager and Firewise Contact. The workshop was titled “Models of Fire Adapted Communities Leadership and Coordination – Fire Departments, Fire Safe Councils and Beyond.” More than 100 attended this important workshop as Katie presented the history and accomplishments of the CFSC since founding in 1993.
“Working with more than 120 local Fire Safe Councils in California through the Grant Clearinghouse, CFSC has issued more than $81 million in fire prevention grants since 2004,” Katie told the group. “The thousands of acres of fire prone land treated locally because of these grants have produced profound fire mitigation loss results in California.”
Katie also acknowledged the success of the Firewise Communities/USA program in California. Since becoming the State Liaison for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) program in 2012, CFSC helped increase the number of recognized Firewise Communities from 55 to over 90.
Representatives from New Jersey, Utah and Montana asked for more information about CFSC, to recreate the success of similar programs in their respective states.
Also participating on the panel were Nick Goulette, Executive Director, The Watershed Center (CA); Justice Jones, Fire Adapted Community Coordinator, Austin (TX) Fire Department; Forest Schaefer, Forester, Wildland Fire Division, North Lake Tahoe (NV) Fire Protection District; and Frank Riley, Jr., Executive Director, Chestatee/Chattahoochee (GA) RC&D Council.