Northwest Disaster Resilience
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CRDR to Study & Share Lessons Learned in Regionalfires Wildfire Recovery
C-130 dumping retardant during Washington's Chelan-Butte fire of 2015. Photo courtesy of Ben Brooks.
The Center for Regional Disaster Resilience is partnering with Northeastern University to identify lessons learned during the recovery from major fires in the region and share best practices that communities and citizens can use to prepare for fires and minimize their impact. 

The project will look at the potentially increasing impact of wildfires on critical infrastructures, help identify lessons learned during the recovery from major fires in the region and share best practices that agencies, business & industry and communities can use to prepare for fires and minimize their impact to the infrastructures that support them. 

The Pacific Northwest is home to forests that surround numerous urban, suburban and rural communities. Changes in the climate, weather patterns and the close proximity of homes and industry to forests are resulting in fires causing increasingly higher damage to critical infrastructure and communities.

More than 1 million acres burned across Washington State in 2015, the worst fire season in the state's history. In 2016, the Fort McMurray Fires in Northern Alberta destroyed 2,400 homes and displaced thousands of citizens. The fires became the Canada's costliest natural disaster. The human and financial toll of these disasters can take years to recover from and the new "normal" might not be what the community was before a fire.

Wildfires cross local, state and national political borders and require regional federal coordination. Recovery efforts are typically left to the individual jurisdictions with assistance from the state or provincial and federal governments. How to allocate and use this assistance can be a challenge for communities.

Through the grant, the CRDR will seek to:
- Identify lessons learned during the recovery from major fires in the region. This includes the efforts communities have undertaken to rebuild or relocate infrastructure
- Highlight the impacts to critical infrastructure that were impacted by fires and the challenges related to bringing those resources back online
- Look specifically for similarities and differences associated with wildland fires that do or do not impact urban areas
- Conduct one-on-one interviews with experts and stakeholders responsible for the response and recovery efforts in the region impacted by major wildfires
- Conduct or participate in a day long workshop
- Develop a summary issue document of issues and recommendations that will be combined with the efforts

The CRDR is working in partnership with the Meridian Institute, which is leading the project and investigating the impacts of wildland fires in the Eastern United States, specifically the fire that impacted Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 
Registration opens for the Pacific Northwestsymposium Disaster Resilience Symposium
When: July 24-25, 2017
Alberta Fire
Alberta's response to Fort McMurray Fire of 2015 will be one of many topics addressed at the symposium. Photo courtesy of the Government of Alberta.

Where: Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront
Portland, OR 
Cost: $199 

The Pacific Northwest Disaster Resilience Symposium is a two-day event  developed to bring together leaders and decision makers from throughout the region to address common issues, examine solutions, and promote information sharing.

View the agenda.
Visit for more information.

The symposium will be embedded within the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region's Annual Summit in Portland, Oregon, from July 23-27. Embedding the Disaster Resilience Symposium within the larger PNWER Summit will provide attendees with the opportunity to interact face-to-face with elected officials and legislators and increase awareness for important disaster resilience issues. 

The symposium will include the following plenary sessions:
  • Calgary Flood and Alberta Fires Response and Recovery
  • Climate Change and Adaptation
  • Critical Infrastructure Interdependencies - Cross State/Province/National Borders
  • Cybersecurity
  • Defining Disaster Resilience
  • Oil Train Safety and Emergency Response Planning
  • Public-Private Partnerships on Resilience
  • Technologies Impacting Disaster Resilience
Planning Cyber Response at Emerald Down Vcyber
Participants practiced responding to various cyber threats while playing the Cyber Resilience Game by Sand Table during the Emerald Down V Cybersecurity Exercise
Government personnel, critical infrastructure managers and major employers put their understanding of cyber threats and resources into action Thursday, February 16 at the Emerald Down V Regional Cybersecurity Exercise. 

Learn more at

This year marks the fifth Emerald Down cybersecurity event organized by the CRDR in support of the public-private partnership efforts being led and funded by the King County Office of Emergency Management and their Critical Infrastructure Committee.

The daylong exercise, held at the Clover Park Technical College, brought together 133 attendees looking to improve their organizations' cyber plans, build relationships with other regional technology and security practitioners, and practice community cyber security response within an interactive cybersecurity board game.

The game is one in a series of Sand Table Resilience Games created by James Rollins, Managing Partner at Takouba. This cybergame simulates methods used by different types of hackers to access and exploit a network, such as a phishing attack for sensitive information. Network defenders then use tools and policies to try and stave off attacks, and can call for help from available resources.

"We're not looking for winners and losers. We want participants to understand how the types of cyberattacks that might occur and what tools they have to counter them," said Eric Holdeman, director of the Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR). "The goal is for guests to learn how to report a cyber attack, who can help and what resources they might expect in response."

Holdeman said a main theme of the exercise is to develop community cybersecurity response capability, where public and private entities are encouraged to securely share information on an attack to alert each other and hopefully and collectively or find solutions.
FirstNet dodges legal challengefirstnet
A crucial decision was made recently in Federal Court. There was a legal challenge to the award by FirstNet to the winning contractor.  This has been resolved in FirstNet's favor. An official announcement by FirstNet is expected soon. Once the successful contractor has been announced and a contract signed, the contractor will begin developing FirstNet plans for each state.

The goal remains to have FirstNet service to be offered beginning sometime in 2018. Expect more information coming from the Washington OneNet Office as the planning moves forward. It is expected that stakeholders here in Washington State will have an opportunity to review the state plans that are developed by the contractor.

FirstNet Legal Battle Ends, Buildout Could Begin as Early as June
- Government Technology
Disaster Resilience news news
US charges Russian spies over Yahoo breach
BBC News

Disaster Resilience
Disaster Risk Reduction: An Insurance Policy For Sustainable Development
Huffington Post Canada

Fire Resilience
'Historic agreement' partners DNR, Forest Service to prep for (Washington) fire season

"The Big One"
Northwest States Write Up Wake Up Call For 'The Big One'
NPR News via

National Security
To fund border wall, Trump administration weighs cuts to Coast Guard, airport security
The Washington Post
About the Center for Regional Disaster Resilienceabout
The Center for Regional Disaster Resilience works on emergency preparedness and disaster resilience projects across the Pacific Northwest from its Seattle office. The CRDR operates under the umbrella of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER), and is committed to working with states, provinces, territories, and communities to create public-private partnerships, develop action plans, and undertake pilot projects and activities to improve regional disaster resilience cooperation.

Our region's interconnected economies and shared critical infrastructures are subject to far-reaching and cascading impacts from disasters. The CRDR works with key public and private stakeholders to create and implement workable solutions to local and regional infrastructure vulnerability by raising awareness of infrastructure interdependencies; providing training and education; and developing tools, technologies, and approaches that build on existing capabilities. These can be utilized across the United States, Canada, and in the international community.