June 2016    
During the month of June, we see that fire season is upon us. This makes it the best time to communicate the importance of preparing homes for wildfire. Continue reading to learn about communicating with the public, human caused wildfires, a community who wants to become fire adapted, and other communities who have acquired funds to increase wildfire awareness and risk reduction.
Communicating with the Community

A community breakout session at the 2015 Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities Annual Conference. Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Changing people's minds and behaviors to effectively prepare homes and landscapes for the presence of wildfire requires that the perspective of flames, dense smoke, and blowing embers within their neighborhood be accepted as realistic and probable. This occurs when like-minded people incorporate the threat of fire into the community's common culture. One way to achieve this is to put fire on every agenda (e.g. Kiwanis meetings, HOA events, a poster at the post office, mailings, etc.) and make a deliberate effort to keep the issue in front of people in a frequent, persistent manner. This level of communication does not happen by accident but requires thoughtful consideration and planning. Developing an annual communications plan is the first step in bringing about the adaptation in community perception and perspective that is needed. The following outline identifies the critical components of a communication plan:
1. Establish Goals
For the coming year, what are the two or three things you want to accomplish with your communications effort?
2. Identify Key Characteristics of the Intended Recipients and Use Methods and Strategies to Achieve Successful Communication  
Who do you ultimately want to influence and how can you reach them?
3. Identify Key Messages
What messages are going to resonate most strongly with your community?
4. Create a Tactical Approach to Delivery
What are the most effective ways to deliver your messages to the members of your community (e.g. door hangers, personal letters, newsletters, social media, face-to-face conversations, meetings, presentations at community events, posters, inspections and recommendations, etc.)? Are there partners that can assist in message delivery?
5. Secure Materials
What kind of materials do you need to convey the messages to your community? Where can you get them or do you have to develop them?
6. Determine Frequency
Establish a timeline that identifies specific content and delivery methods to be used. Assign responsibility to individuals and follow up with them.
7. Evaluate and Adjust
Reinforce what is working and make changes where necessary. Constant and frequent exposure to critical messages regarding vulnerability, wildfire threat mitigation, and community protection is an essential component to the creation of a Fire Adapted Community. Developing a communication plan forces thoughtful consideration as to the most effective way to bring this about.

FACt: Human-Caused Wildfires

Dry grass is easily ignited and burns rapidly. Be careful when using areas with an abundance of dry grass. Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Ninety percent of wildland fires in the United States are started by human activity. That means that 90% of wildland fires are potentially preventable. This year, northern Nevada has experienced significant grass production. As these grasses dry out, they will become wildfire fuels that are easily ignited by careless human behavior. Presented below are examples of human activity that have started wildland fires:
  • Illegal or unattended campfires
  • Metal grinding equipment
  • Debris burning
  • Lawn mowers
  • Tree branches contacting powerlines
  • Target shooting
  • Discarded cigarettes
  • Fireworks
  • Car muffler and catalytic converter
  • Welding 
Be careful this year when enjoying the out-of-doors or working in Nevada's wildland-urban interfaces. There's a lot of easily ignited fuel out there.

A Close Call During the Driscoll Fire
In this month's blog, Jamie discusses her close encounter with the Driscoll Fire and what residents should consider when faced with evacuating their home during a wildfire. Follow her blog and participate in the discussion here!

Partner Spotlight: 
West Washoe Wildfire Preparedness Group Inc.
WWWPGI's President, Melvin Holland speaks to residents during their first meeting. Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.
After the devastating 2012 Washoe Drive Fire burned 3,200 acres and destroyed 29 homes, West Washoe Valley residents were shocked as this fire began less than 10 miles from their community. Fast forward to 2014, the King Fire, located 100 miles southwest from West Washoe Valley, burned 97,000 acres. Both fires raised concern and in June of 2014, a group of five families collaborated to form the West Washoe Wildfire Preparedness Group Inc. (WWWPGI). The group contacted Paul Carmichael from Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) and together, they identified high-hazard areas that required immediate attention. In October 2015, WWWPGI's Community Wildfire Protection Plan was signed.    
WWWPGI is a group of West Washoe Valley neighbors who educate residents on the wildfire threat and seek funding for fuels reduction in the West Washoe Valley. The West Washoe area spans the region between Carson City and Davis Creek Park along Old U.S. Highway 395 and Franktown Road.
In an effort to become a Fire Adapted Community, the group applied for and will receive a NDF fuels reduction grant in the summer of 2016. WWWPGI has identified 61 properties to receive fuel reduction and by the end of the year, the group hopes to have 15-20 properties treated. The group even pooled personal monies together to hire an attorney to help them become registered as a Nevada State Non-Profit organization and be eligible for more funding opportunities.  
Funding Opportunities
Before and after photographs of the List Ranch fuels treatment project.
Photographs courtesy of Barbara Keleher. 
Congratulations to four Nevada communities awarded $500 each through National Wildfire Communities Preparedness Day! This nationwide program is sponsored by National Fire Protection Association and financially supported by State Farm. The funds were to be used for grassroots efforts that promote wildfire awareness, risk reduction or post-fire rehabilitation on May 7th. The winning communities, applicants and their projects are presented below:
Caliente Community Wildfire Preparedness Day
Ty Mizer, Caliente Volunteer Fire Department
Bureau of Land Management, City of Caliente, Caliente Volunteer Fire Department, and State Farm promoted wildfire preparation at their event.
Elko Community Wildfire Preparedness Day
Josh Carson, City of Elko Fire Department
Fifteen organizations collaborated to promote wildfire threat awareness and action to Elko County residents. Over 500 people participated in the event that was hosted by Home Depot.
List Country Road Fuel Reduction
Barbara Keleher, Resident
Ladder fuels were removed and brush was thinned along the community's only access road to create a fuelbreak and improve the likelihood of safe evacuation. A Wildfire Preparedness Day was also held that promoted creation of defensible space among the residents.
Palomino Valley Community Fire Safety Fair
Cathy Glatthar, Palomino Valley Auxiliary Fire Department
This volunteer fire department purchased reflective address sign blanks, numbers, posts, and mounting hardware with their grant money. They had volunteer firefighters install the signs at no cost to the homeowner. Also, sixty-four residents attended the wildfire safety fair which was supported by Palomino Valley Auxiliary Fire Department, State Farm, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and Cooperative Extension. See our May edition for more information.
This newsletter is provided by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, an EEO/AA institution, with funding from a State Fire Assistance grant from the Nevada Division of Forestry and USDA Forest Service. Additional support is provided by the Bureau of Land Management - Nevada State Office.
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