After a thirty-year career with Cooperative Extension, Natural Resource Specialist and Living With Fire Program founder Ed Smith has announced his retirement starting in May. Following graduation with a Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management, he worked eight years with Resource Concepts, Inc., a Carson City consulting firm. In 1988 he accepted the Natural Resource Specialist position with Cooperative Extension located at the Incline Village office. Working closely with Fire Marshal Gerry Adams and the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, Ed created some of the first defensible space educational tools in the country. He acquired funding from the University of Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension in 1998 for a project entitled “Wildfire Threat Reduction Along the Sierra Front.” This project would lay the groundwork for the Living With Fire Program. Living With Fire has become a model program producing some of the most used and recognized wildland-urban interface wildfire threat reduction educational materials in the nation.
Elwood Miller, PhD. and former Associate Director of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension summarized Ed’s career at Cooperative Extension this way: “Whether it was providing administrative leadership or creating a nationally recognized university educational outreach program, Ed always strived for and exceeded the standards of professional excellence. The Living With Fire Program is a continuing testament to Ed’s unselfish commitment to help vulnerable people and communities survive the devastating destruction of wildfire.” Among Ed’s favorite career activities were “Only Ewes Can Prevent Wildfire,” a demonstration of prescribed sheep grazing to create fuel breaks for Carson City; establishing the Nevada Fire Safe Council; producing “Nevada Burning”, an award-winning primetime KOLO television program; and development of the Living With Fire Program.
Reflecting on his career experiences Ed stated, “What I’ll miss most are all the great individuals and personalities that I was privileged to work with over the past 30 years, from Manhattan to Mt. Charleston, Pioche to Lake Tahoe, and Washoe Valley to Crescent Valley. And, I will especially miss interacting with my awesome colleagues Sonya Sistare, Jamie Roice-Gomes and Elwood Miller”.