Fostering fire adapted communities has become a major focus of federal wildland fire and disaster management, and it is one of three primary goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/cohesivestrategy.shtml).
The tools that are being promoted by the Fire Adapted Communities and Firewise programs have all been shown to be effective, however which combinations of tools are most effective in different social and ecological contexts, how to best spark communities to action and how best support a community's efforts are individual to each community. The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network (FACLN) was developed to learn the differnet methods of combinations of tools that work, and to share those methods across the country among the different hubs. Each hub is then tasked with sharing the methods with collaborative partners in each area.
Forest Guild in a partnership with Santa Fe County Fire - Wildland Division was chosen as one of eight "hubs" to kick off this process. We were chosen as our methods have been innovative and cost effective in identifying hazards on a parcel-level scale, and utilizing that data to educate communities identified as hazardous by publishing it to a public website (http://www.sfcfire-wildland.com), to create a comprehensive and effective plan of mitigation, to prepare firefighting resources for a wildland fire incident and to guide the utilization of grant resources to the most cost effective mitigation efforts. Forest Guild's research and partnerships with the Joint Fire Science Program are being utilized to study these methods to provide guidance nationwide on the effectiveness of Community Wildfire Protection Plans and their implementations. Forest Guild is also taking the lead in prescribed fire training exchanges (TREX) and performed a successful prescribed fire training at Black Lake near Angel Fire, NM.
In 2013, the Rancho Viejo subdivision became Santa Fe County's first current Firewise Recognized community, one of only 16 in the state at the time. Since then three other communities have begun the process of achieving this recognition. The community plans required by Firewise will be based on FAC's Self Assessment tool and will be incorporated into this CWPP as they are completed (an example of this tool is attached in the Appendix).
In anticipation of more communities becoming firewise, the groundwork for a coalition of firewise communities is being formed. This will enable sharing of resources, information and advice between communities choosing this route.