DATES: March 26-29, 2018, Reno, NV, USA.
THE BACKGROUND: The wildland fire environment in the United States is undergoing profound ecological, social, and political changes. As a result, during the summer months we see almost daily reports of dramatic and often, highly-impactful wildfires throughout the country. These fires exhibit spectacular fire behavior and area burned, high risk to responders and citizens, varying degrees of homes and property losses, and incur increasingly higher costs.
To increase awareness of core causes for this situation and to develop solutions that address this situation, a National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy to comprehensively address wildland fire management across all lands in the United States was developed. This Cohesive Strategy is by far the most comprehensive, timely, and applicable strategy ever developed for wildland fire management. It sets broad, strategic, and national-level direction as a foundation for implementing actions and activities nationwide.
It provides an all-inclusive and pertinent vision for wildland fire and society for the next century, stated as:
To safely and effectively extinguish fire, when needed; use fire where allowable; manage our natural resources; and as a Nation, live with wildland fire.
The Strategy has three primary, national goals identified as necessary to achieving the vision are:
- Restore and maintain landscapes,
- Fire-adapted communities,
- Wildfire response
THE FIRST WORKSHOP: Once the Cohesive Strategy was completed, planning and implementation have been ongoing at admirable rates around the country. But efforts to sustain and strengthen implementation are continually needed. As part of this, a National Workshop was held in 2017. This workshop, titled, All Hands, All Lands – Implementation Rooted in Science, addressed the role of science in supporting implementation and identified processes to ensure science integration in all planning and implementation activities.
While this workshop was very successful and a significant milestone, two important lessons emerged from it. First, since planning and implementation activities to meet challenges identified by the Cohesive Strategy have not been fully examined, there is much to be learned from experiences to date and a strong need for continuing discussions that warrant a stage like a national workshop. Second, escalating wildland fire issues facing society today and into the future have created a timely need to continue, and accelerate, a comprehensive program of work to focus on these issues.
AND THE NEXT WORKSHOP: As a result of the lessons learned from the first Cohesive Strategy Workshop, it was determined that a second workshop would be held to continue the direction established by the first workshop and to support Cohesive Strategy activities. The 2nd National Cohesive Strategy Workshop theme is: Making a Difference – Building Capacity, Improving Preparedness, and Learning from Experience.
The 2nd National Workshop will be based on more comprehensive objectives that expand on the first Workshop. These objectives and their meaning include…
Workshop Objectives and their Meaning-Focus for 2018 and Beyond
1. Provide clear understanding of the importance of all Cohesive Strategy planning and implementation across the entire country.
This objective seeks to provide a common understanding of where we are now, where we will be in the future, what the state of the strategy and implementation is, and expands this workshop from last year’s focus on the importance and critical role of science in the Cohesive Strategy to a broader focus on all planning and implementation across the Nation.
2. Reinforce the timeliness of this national strategy and workshop, promote awareness of their importance, value, and accomplishments, and reinforce the need for sustained energy and actions.
This objective will promote the presentation of information that improves awareness and understanding of the changing fire and societal environments, how they are not remaining static but continuing to mount in seriousness, reinforces that business as usual is not an acceptable strategy, and reinforces and expands last year’s focus on all hand, all lands, to a broader direction to raise awareness of the need to rise to this challenge, how high the stakes are becoming, and how only continued actions can make a difference.
3. Provide learning opportunities from past experiences for all attendees in implementing the Cohesive Strategy now and into the future.
This objective will allow the workshop to expand from looking at examples and opportunities where implementation is informed by the “right” science and information to presenting examples of where both successes and non-successes are advancing the goals and vision of the Cohesive Strategy and are informed by science, fire ecology, land use, local needs and requirements, experience, and sound planning and collaboration. Examples will encompass local, area, regional, and national levels.
4. Improve preparedness for wildland fire management challenges by promoting discussion and information dissemination about planning and implementation status, collaborative activities, scale of activities, nation-wide accomplishments and milestones, management treatments, and policy.
This objective broadens the scope of the Workshop over last year’s emphasis on processes to ensure science integration in all planning and implementation activities and identification of future research needs. This year’s workshop will include expanded information about all aspects of preparedness, including planning and implementation, communication, collaborative activities, national scale, needs, and progress steps and accomplishment milestones.
5. Build capacity for planning and implementing activities in support of the Cohesive Strategy.
This objective will expand the Workshop’s role in helping participant learn and to improve their capacity to plan and implement activities by identifying and clarifying authorities, tools, and programs to support all lands management; discussing how to build on and replicate successes; and identifying processes to evaluate limitations to planning and implementation activities and possible ways to overcome these limitations.
6. Develop recommendations for documenting continuing actions on this subject.
This objective will continue with renewed emphasis on developing recommendations and documenting continuing actions with greater participant engagement and contribution.
On behalf of the organizers of this Workshop, the Western, Northeast, and Southeast Regional Strategy Committees, and workshop sponsors and partners, the IAWF invites any individuals and groups having an interest to attend and participate in this year’s National Cohesive Strategy Workshop.
We are striving to make this Workshop distinctive among the many conferences in which IAWF plays an instrumental role. In essence, we want the Workshop to be the place where people who are breathing life into the Cohesive Strategy and implementing it every day have a place to come and share their successes and challenges, lessons learned, seek help and provide support, and cultivate a network of kindred spirits who want to learn how to co-exist with fire.
The Workshop is hands on. We have aimed to make it participatory, interactive and exchange focused. Participants will have options to dialogue in study circles, experiment with sand table exercises, hear rapid fire micro-talks, and other workshop-like scenarios. Our presenters have been hand-picked for their ability to engage effectively with our audience. Notable presentation include, but are not limited to, this small snapshot:
- Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) Perspective – George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester
- How Do We Accomplish All-Lands Management Projects? Ingredients, Recipes, and Chefs’ Stories—Karen Hardigg
- BLM Aspen Regeneration in Wyoming – Rance Neighbors
- Fantastic Failures, Learning from our Mistakes – Allison Jolley
- Moving from Fire Adapted Communities to Fire Dependent Cultures: Traditional Fire Knowledge and Wildland Fire Management—Frank Lake
- Stories to Scenarios: Creating Momentum for Large-Scale, Cross-Boundary Collaborative Restoration and Fire Management—Laura McCarthy
- Lessons learned from large wildfires: landscape fuel treatments and wildland fire management strategies—Susan Prichard
- Understanding How the Cohesive Strategy Has Impacted Wildfire Management in the West—Tamara Wall
- Reducing Fuels, Restoring Landscapes and Protecting Communities in the Northeast and Midwest U.S.—Thomas Fielden
Key speakers include, but are not limited to:
- George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester,
- Becki Heath, USFS Acting National Associate Deputy Chief for State & Private Forestry
- John Ruhs, Nevada BLM State Director
- Jane Darnell, USFS Deputy Regional Forester, Northern Rockies
Noteworthy panels feature:
- Three Levels of CS Implementation: USFS, State of Montana, Coos Forest Protective Association
- States’ Perspective on CS Implementation, Barriers and Opportunities: State Foresters Jeff Whitney (Arizona), Jim Karels (Florida), Peter Daughtery (Oregon), and Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino (Massachusetts)
Plan to attend, it will be a great opportunity to learn and contribute.
For more information, visit http://www.iawfonline.org/2nd_CohesiveStrategyWorkshop2018/.