University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Living With Fire Program introduced The Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities, or The Network, through The Network’s inaugural conference Friday, Oct. 24.
There were 80 Nevadans from 10 counties in attendance representing many stakeholders in Nevada’s wildland-urban interface fire issue, including members of wildfire-prone communities; local fire service representatives; local, state and federal agencies; and landscape partners. The attendees heard about developing a community culture that includes the prospect of wildfire and stimulates people to act, they saw examples of community action to reduce the wildfire threat, and they received tips on grant writing. Newly appointed Network Coordinator Elwood Miller was also introduced. Miller served as executive director of the Nevada Fire Safe Council from 2002 to 2006 and is a University of Nevada, Reno professor emeritus of forestry.
Living With Fire formed The Network to help Nevada’s fire-prone communities become fire adapted. A fire adapted community is one that has a good chance of surviving wildfire with little assistance from firefighters. Residents of a fire adapted community have taken the necessary steps to make their homes and the surrounding vegetation more resistant to ignition and the spread of fire. In addition, they have prepared a plan and completed the necessary steps to safely accomplish a timely evacuation if necessary.
“The preemptive steps that are necessary to improve the prospect of survival are well known,” Miller said. “Motivating people to take these steps requires a change in thinking about where they live and its vulnerability to destruction by wildfire.”
The Network will:
Provide an organization that supports communities and connects them with stakeholders concerned about wildfire in Nevada’s wildland-urban interface,
Help communities develop Community Wildfire Protection Plans,
Assist communities to identify sources for and the administration of grant funds,
Provide educational and promotional opportunities, and
The Network is supported by grant funds from the Nevada Division of Forestry, U. S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada State Office. An advisory board was identified to provide direction to the new organization. Advisory Board members include:
Western Region: Pat Murphy, Douglas County
Lake Tahoe Region: Ann Grant, Douglas County
Northern Region:Jessica Santoyo, Eureka County
Southern Region: Elizabeth Claggett, Clark County
Local Fire Service: Stacey Giomi, Carson City Fire Department
State Agency: Paul Carmichael, Nevada Division of Forestry
Federal Agency: Vanessa Marquez, Bureau of Land Management
Insurance Industry: Robert Compan, Nevada Insurance Council
Construction Industry: Jess Traver, Builders Association of Northern Nevada
Landscape Industry: Sara Anderson, Nevada Landscape Association
“This is an excellent and diverse advisory board that is very capable of providing The Network with the startup direction and advice it needs,” Miller said. “I’m very excited to work with these individuals.”