2023 Annual Report: Reflections in the Rearview Mirror

 In FACO Network, Fire Adapted Colorado, Fire Adapted Communities, Impact Stories, Network, News, Success Stories

Ellis Thompson Grand Junction Fire & Two Rivers Wildfire Coalition

This Annual Report highlights 2023 as a year of growth and service by Fire Adapted Colorado.

In this report:

  • Learn how network participation has rapidly expanded and review participants’ expressions of the impacts of engagement on their local wildfire resilience work.
  • Get a snapshot of our 2023 program of work, from network calls and communication resources to webinars, a statewide system of support for the Neighborhood Ambassador approach, policy advocacy, and the largest Colorado Wildland Fire Conference since its inception in 1996.

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to give back to FACO as 2023 Board Chair. It’s been inspiring to watch the transformative work FACO has done, not only in the wildfire resilience community but also as an organization.

In April, we hosted the state’s leading conference for wildfire resilience professionals, the Colorado Wildland Fire Conference in Fort Collins. This year, over 350 professionals in our field, convened to learn about what is on the leading edge of wildfire resilience, exchange ideas, and support one another as we work to improve wildfire outcomes across the state.

Annual report cover image of staff and board members

Beyond the growing network and monthly calls, FACO continues to support local collaboratives with Opportunity Fund grants. I’m particularly proud of FACO for creating economies of scale. Through FACO’s work on the Neighborhood Ambassador Approach, practitioners across the state now have access to peer support, a toolkit of resources to run a local program, a digital notebook for their volunteer Neighborhood Ambassadors, a statewide virtual training to provide new volunteers with fundamental background on fire behavior, mitigation techniques, and strategies for working with their neighbors, and Opportunity Fund seed funding to support local programs.

image of wildfire related quotes: “Mitigation is the Emergency” - Jonathan Bruno “Fiscal Virga” - Unknown (Funding that gets hung up before it reaches the ground) “Recovering Suppressionist” - Dave Lasky (Firefighters who recognize the long-term risks of suppressing every fire) “G.U.I. or Grassland Urban Interface” - Mike Chard (“Wildland” encompasses all vegetation types, but G.U.I. is still fun to say.) “Stuck in Academic, Research, and Policy VFIB” - Frank Frievalt (the uncoordinated state of FAC work) If you’re not prepared for prescribed fire, then you’re not prepared for wildfire. - Unknown

FACO is also working to strategically identify areas in the state lacking wildfire collaboratives and supporting emerging efforts. In July, FACO created a space for the Upper Colorado River Coordinators to support their new collaboratives in western Colorado. Originally scoped to design an in-person learning event, we found we could gain a great deal through virtual connections. We have built relationships and are now connecting even outside these regular calls about statewide programs, community engagement, administrative challenges, and even brainstorming grant proposals. Through this learning exchange, FACO has accelerated the organizing and business development timeframe by offering resources, and expertise, and building economies of scale that let our organizations get to work faster in our communities.

Several years ago I found FACO as a founder of our local wildfire collaborative, Two Rivers Wildfire Coalition. I was looking for training, resources, and peers to help me along my journey. As a practitioner who has benefitted first-hand from the resources and network of FACO, it’s been an honor and a joy to give back just a little and to see the hard work of all of the FACO staff multiply into success stories for collaboratives and communities across our state.

FACO FY2023 pie charts revenue and expenses

2023 Annual Report (flipbook)

2023 Annual Report (printer-friendly, low-resolution .pdf)