Fire Policy

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USFS Wildfire Crisis Strategy Roundtables: Recommendations and next steps

Webinar recording.

In the winter and spring of 2022, the National Forest Foundation (NFF), in coordination with the USDA Forest Service, hosted a series of roundtables across the country to gather input on the Wildfire Crisis Strategy Implementation Plan. The NFF distilled these productive discussions with Forest Service employees and partners into regional reports and an overall synthesis report, available at

The purpose of this webinar is to share more information about the report, discuss next steps, and provide an opportunity for Q&A with Forest Service leadership.

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USFS Life First safety initiative: Exploring unnecessary exposure to risk

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The Life First initiative included a post-engagement survey in which more than 2600 Forest Service employees provided open-ended feedback. In that qualitative subset of results, survey respondents described four main situations in which wildland firefighters commonly accepted unnecessary exposure to risk, related to driving, mop up, aviation and communication. Findings reveal how firefighters experienced social, political and economic pressures upon and within the wildland fire system. They shared that these perceived pressures and their mission-oriented work culture interacted, transforming otherwise unremarkable work operations into situations of unnecessary exposure to risk.

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2022 Wildfire crisis strategy roundtables: Themes and opportunities for action

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To collect partner and employee input on the Wildfire Crisis Strategy 10-year Implementation Plan, the Forest Service and National Forest Foundation hosted a series of roundtable discussions in the winter and spring of 2022.
Individual roundtables were focused on each of the Forest Service regions and at the national level, for a total of ten roundtables. This report is a synthesis of key themes and opportunities for action that emerged from across the ten roundtables. The National Forest Foundation prepared individual summaries of the ten roundtables, available online. Also available is the Intertribal Timber Council’s report on the Intertribal Roundtable they hosted in April 2022 in coordinationwith the Forest Service.

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Professional wildfire mitigation competency: A potential policy gap

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Studies show that effective strategies to mitigate the risk of structural damage in wildfires include defensible spaces and home hardening. Structures in the western United States are especially at risk. Several jurisdictions have adopted codes that require implementation of these strategies. However, construction and landscaping professionals are generally not required to obtain credentials indicating their competency in mitigating the risk of structural damage in a wildfire. We discuss the implications of this policy gap and propose a solution to bolster competency of professionals in wildfire protection as communities further expand in fire-prone areas.

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5th National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop

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This Workshop is considered “mission critical” for anyone working on these issues in local, state, Tribal and federal agencies, and organizations as well as non-governmental organizations and private companies. There is no other forum in the nation that provides these opportunities.

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Policy reforms for Rx fire liability relief and catastrophe funds

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This paper argues that the expansion of prescribed fire will require new public policies that both protect burn practitioners from liability and compensate for losses from potential fire escapes.

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Supporting a shift in wildfire management from fighting fires to thriving with fires

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Despite the increasing challenges wildfires are posing around the globe, and the flourishing production of high quality wildfire scientific knowledge, the ability of fire science to impact knowledge on the ground, for people, society, economy, and the environment, in a way that facilitates change in the current wildfire management system has been limited. We believe that one reason for this limited impact is due to the fragmentation of this scientific knowledge. Therefore, we propose a Translational Wildfire Science (TWFS) as a new field of knowledge that captures the comprehensive dynamics of wildfire events, that provides information relevant, useful, and accessible to practitioners and citizens, and that facilitates the transfer of scientific knowledge into practice. The foundations of TWFS, including the main principles, the overarching characteristics, and the approach of a TWFS scientist, are presented. Finally, the next steps to be undertaken to consolidate TWFS as a new scientific field are identified.

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Wildfire risk management science team

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During this virtual workshop we will share case studies and lessons learned from the field, showcase multiple scales of potential operational delineations (PODs) work that have been utilized and adapted for a range of applications, identify necessary developments in collaborative fire planning and PODs, and much more.

The workshop will be hosted by RMRS’s Wildfire Risk Management Science (WRMS) team. The WRMS team co-developed PODs and other fire planning tools in collaboration with local experts. These tools have been widely adopted by national forests and other fire and land management groups.

The workshop is designed for a variety of audiences including fuels planners, FMOs, line officers, management planners, community collaboratives, scientists, state and local fire and fuel managers, and consultants. Interested and new users are encouraged to attend.

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Pre-season fire management planning: the use of Potential Operational Delineations to prepare for wildland fire events

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US fire scientists are developing Potential Wildfire Operational Delineations, also known as ‘PODs’, as a pre-fire season planning tool to promote safe and effective wildland fire response, strengthen risk management approaches in fire management and better align fire management objectives. PODs are a collaborative planning approach based on spatial analytics to identify potential wildfire control lines and assess the desirability of fire before ignition. They offer the opportunity to apply risk management principles with partners before the compressed timeframe of incident response. We sought to understand the potential utility of PODs and factors that may affect their use through semi-structured interviews with personnel on several national forests. Interviewees said PODs offer a promising shift in the wildland fire management dynamic, particularly by facilitating proactive communication and coordination about wildfire response. Successfully employing PODs will require leadership commitment, stakeholder and partner engagement and interdisciplinary staff involvement. Our work offers insights for national forests and other jurisdictions where managers are looking to strengthen coordination and strategic approaches for wildland fire response by utilizing pre-season collaboration and data analytics.

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Use of science in wildland fire management: Barriers and facilitators

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This study developed a conceptual model that describes the possible uses of science in fire management (perception, planning, forecasting, implementation, assessment, communication, and policy), common barriers to science use (lack of science, uncertainty, funding/capacity, conflict), common facilitators to fire science use (collaboration, trust, boundary organizations, co-production), and factors that can act as facilitators or barriers to science use depending on their presence or absence (awareness, accessibility, relevance). In the context of our conceptual model, we reviewed 67 papers that examined fire science use between 1986 and 2019.

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