(Executive Director, Financial Manager, Network Coordinator) Rebecca (Becca) Samulski joined Fire Adapted Colorado as the contracted Director in fall 2018 after seven years of growing the Neighborhood Ambassador and other local support programs with Wildfire Adapted Partnership in southwest Colorado. She has a BA in Anthropology from Fort Lewis College and got her initial wildland firefighter training when working as a seasonal Archaeologist for the San Juan National Forest and Mesa Verde National Park. Becca also engaged in community development and land use planning during an intern program associated with her Master’s degree in Political Science from CU Denver.
Don’t be fooled by the firefighter photo. Becca has done very little firefighting, but once you get into Fire Adapted Communities work, the pull is strong to learn about fire as a tool and all aspects of fire management. Becca enjoys working with communities to help them live more safely with wildfire. With a broader Cohesive Strategy perspective on wildfire, she launched the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest (DWRF) Collaborative in 2015 to create a more resilient 667,000 Upper Dolores River Watershed. Now her focus is on helping to connect the Fire Adapted Communities leaders around the state with the knowledge and support they need to be successful with their communities.
When Becca is not FACOing, or volunteering for the DWRF Collaborative, School, or Fire Department, she enjoys spending time playing, hiking, and gardening, with her husband, two sons, and two dogs on their piñon-juniper woodland property near Dolores, Colorado.
Board of Directors
(FACO CHAIR) Eric Lovgren, a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with Eagle County, works to reduce wildfire risk through thoughtful planning and permitting. Eric interacts with homeowners, developers, fire districts, land management agencies, and numerous citizen and environmental groups. Eric is also responsible for the design, implementation, and oversight of all county-led hazardous fuel reduction and forest health projects. Eric maintains numerous professional certifications including Wildland Fire Fighter. He facilitates the Eagle County Wildfire Council and Ready! Set! Go! program, and is active managing wildfires in Eagle County. Eric joined FACO to engage with other wildfire professionals throughout the state, sharing knowledge and best practices aimed at creating fire adapted communities. Eric spends his winters skiing as much as possible, and summers floating down the Colorado River. Eric is also a bluegrass addict, and banjo player. Wanna talk music or wildfire? He’s your guy.
(FACO VICE CHAIR) Jamie Gomez joined the FACO Board of Directors in July, 2019. His education is in Environmental Biology and he worked in natural resources research and management before joining the West Region Wildfire Council (WRWC) in 2013. Jamie served as a technician, coordinator, mitigation specialist and assistant director before taking over as WRWC’s Executive Director. In addition to his roles implementing FAC programs in WRWC’s six county area, Jamie is on the board of the Wildfire Research Center and is a WiRē Team member. He is also a participant and trainer for Community Mitigation Assistance Teams.
(FACO Co-TREASURER) Paul Cada is the Wildland Program Administrator for Vail Fire and Emergency Services. In this role he is responsible for the department and Town’s preparedness and response to wildland fires. Paul works closely with Town staff, community partners and cooperating agencies to build a more fire adapted community in the popular resort town. The Town of Vail is committed to reducing it risk to wildfire and providing its citizens with world class services. The numerous wildfire prevention, mitigation and response programs the town supports all work to build a “Fire Adapted Vail”. Prior to joining Vail Fire Paul held the position of Assistant District Forester for the Colorado State Forest Service, Granby District where he worked on many projects to measurably reduce wildfire risks to mountain communities in Grand, Summit and Eagle Counties as well as create more healthy and resilient forests. Paul holds a BS in Natural Resource Management from Colorado State University and is also an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist.
(FACO SECRETARY) Ashley Downing, Executive Director of Wildfire Adapted Partnership, joined the Fire Adapted Colorado Board of Directors as a voting member in June, 2019. Ashley brings wildland fire knowledge, experience with nonprofit management including fiscal management, and a passion for working to build fire adapted communities with a southwest Colorado perspective. Wildfire Adapted Partnership works closely with residents and agency partners to help residents understand their wildfire risk and actions they can take to reduce that risk in the five counties of southwest Colorado.
(FACO BOARD MEMBERS)
Pam retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 2007 after 23 years of service, most recently on the San Juan National Forest in Durango as a Public Affairs Specialist for the fire and fuels program. She also serves as a Type 1 Public Information Officer, a member of Community Mitigation Assistance Teams, and a consultant with Coalitions and Collaboratives on the Action & Implementation or Mitigation program. When not busy with FireWise, Pam and her husband Thurman spend their free time with their dogs exploring the red rock county of Utah or hiking in Colorado’s mountains.
Pam Wilson served as the Director for FireWise of Southwest Colorado (now known as Wildfire Adapted Partnership) from October 2008 to December 2018. Pam is a 2015 recipient of a Wildfire Mitigation Award.
Schelly K. Olson wears many hats. Schelly is Assistant Chief of Administration & Public Education, Wildland Fire Mitigation Specialist, Public Information Officer at Grand Fire Protection District No. 1. In 2013 Schelly helped form the non-profit Grand County Wildfire Council. She is the chair of this organization to help Grand County residents and visitors live and play more safely with the threat of wildfire. Schelly lives in Grand Lake with her husband and their two daughters. they enjoy boating in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Mike Caggiano joined the FACO board in February 2020. He is a Research Associate working with the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute since 2014. Mike’s interests involve understanding the social and organizational constructs that impact our ability to manage fire in Wildland Urban Interface areas. His specific areas of expertise include geospatial mapping and remote sensing, facilitating cross jurisdictional firefighter training and cooperation, and supporting prescribed fire applications. He has supported the development of Potential Operational Delineations (PODs) for fire management and is an active participant in the Colorado Prescribed Fire Council. Mike holds an M.A. degree in Geography, and received his PhD in Forest Science from Colorado State University .
Fire Adapted Colorado Liaisons
Jonathan Bruno is the Chief Operations Officer for both the the National non-profit Coalitions & Collaboratives (CoCo) and the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP). He was a founding board member of Fire Adapted Colorado and served as a Chair of the organization, moving into a liaison role as his work has transitioned more to the national scale.
Jonathan began his career with CUSP as a field technician, leading volunteer events in the Hayman Fire area and beginning a fledgling forestry program in the upper south platte watershed. Since then Jonathan has worked to build a robust forestry program that manages two slash sites, a biomass facility, operates a fuels reduction program that treats approximately 1,000 acres annually, leads an eight-person wildland fire team, and develops and leads numerous CWPPs and initiatives.
Jonathan is excited about the opportunity to connect with other groups that are working to protect their homes, forests and communities through Fire Adapted Colorado. He has received numerous awards for his work including, the White House Champion of Change Award and the 2015 Wildfire Mitigation Award. Jonathan holds a Masters Degree from the University of Colorado with an emphasis on Environmental Management, Policy and Law. Jonathan, his wife Jennifer, and daughter, Kailey, currently live in the South Denver area, and enjoy playing in the wonderful Front Range Forests.
Sheryl Page is a Fire Protection Specialist with the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region works on activities related to the Forest Service Cooperative Fire Protection Program that supports the Fire Adapted Community concept. I work in the program to support: interagency agreements that address how fire agencies can work together; grant programs that help communities address mitigation needs; and fire prevention/mitigation education and outreach regarding preventing the ones we can and mitigating for those we can’t. Working with FACO will be essential so that we all have a united voice in how to better adapt communities to be more resilient when faced with wildfire. There are some tough issues communities face and it helps to have great group partners to help overcome those obstacles. Sheryl is a native to Colorado – Born and raised in southern Colorado, I have always had a love for the outdoors. My husband and kids are very blessed to be able to call southern Colorado our home.
Michelle Medley-Daniel is the Co-Director of The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network and The Watershed Research and Training Center. Michelle’s previous fire adapted communities experience includes working directly in her community on CWPP development, building local capacity to implement prescribed fire projects, and collaborative landscape management. Currently, she directs the operations of the FAC Network for The Watershed Center. She is a liaison in the FAC Network—providing support and connections to core network members in the US. In particular, Michelle’s focus is in working with State and regional sub-networks to launch effective network-based approaches to wildfire resilience. Michelle has over ten years of experience in coordinating networks and providing communications and development services to non-profits. Michelle loves working with people who are passionate about their communities’ relationship to fire. We are at such an important crossroads in the way we relate to wildfire. These are high stakes, and with climate change impacts and WUI development adding to the pressure, it can be daunting work. Michelle is continually inspired by the individuals, organizations and agencies out there that are working toward a better wildfire future. FACO has enormous potential to support communities around Colorado on their fire adaptation journey! Michelle enjoys backpacking, kayaking and local history. She loves to share the Klamath-Siskiyous with visitors and friends—if you’re ever in Northwestern California give her a call!
Kirk A. Will is Unit Chief of Prescribed Fire and Fuels with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. Kirk works on planning, implementation, and administration of prescribed fire and hazardous fuels reduction projects on State of Colorado lands. Kirk also administers the Colorado Certified Burner Program. Kirk joined FACO to work with the citizens and fire cooperators of the State of Colorado promoting safe, fire adapted forests for everybody to enjoy. Kirk loves spending time in the forests and outdoors of Colorado camping, hunting, hiking and fishing with my family every chance he gets.
Scott Morrill, Emergency Manager for Gunnison County since 2004 represents the Colorado Emergency Management Association on the FACO Board. Prior to serving as Emergency Manager, Scott was a Dispatcher in the Gunnison Regional Dispatch Center for 16 years. Scott has been involved with local and regional wildfire mitigation and planning efforts since 2004, and he has been a member of the West Region Wildfire Council since its inception in 2007 including serving on their Board of Directors. Scott fully embraces the role of Emergency Management in place-based wildfire resilience emphasizing the cornerstones of life safety and personal preparedness and responsibility.
Ali Lerch is a liaison to FACO as the Wildfire Program Manager for Coalitions & Collaboratives, Inc. Alison has a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of Missouri. Her career has focused on community wildfire resilience in North Carolina, Utah and Oregon, where she was the Fire Adapted Communities Coordinator for Ashland Fire and Rescue. Alison brings this diverse agency background to the non-profit arena a diverse background working for a state agency and fire department to her work supporting professionals in community fire adaptation. Alison is the 2019 Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Golden Sparky recipient, as well as the 2010 Community Outreach awardee for the Utah Department of Natural Resources.