Re-enforcing Resiliency at All Levels

 In Boulder Watershed Collective, Coalition for the Upper South Platte, FACO Network, Fire Adapted Colorado, Genesee Fire Rescue, Impact Stories
“Community resilience is the sustainability of a community to use available resources to respond to, withstand and recover from adverse situations.” (Wikipedia)
“To withstand” wildfires and other disasters and become a truly resilient Colorado requires a paradigm shift. It requires engagement in risk reduction at all levels.

National Level

At the national level, the Columbia Climate School and Headwater Economics released “Missing the Mark: Effectiveness and funding in Community Wildfire Resilience.” This report finds that the most effective strategies for reducing community wildfire risk, those that manage the built environment, tend to receive the least funding and policy support when compared to suppression or fuel management strategies.

State Level

Meanwhile, we were excited to hear from many of our state agencies during FACO’s Colorado Wildfire Legislative Updates and Opportunities webinar with indications of state advancements. DNR and the Colorado State Forest Service are continuing their strong history in wildfire mitigation and it is especially exciting to see strides forward in the Division of Insurance and  home hardening with support of the the Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

Local Level

A resilient Colorado relies on local efforts to leverage these state and national resources with local resources and strategies. During FACO’s monthly network call, network participants shared the positive impact of recent projects supported by FACO Opportunity Fund awards. These micro-sized grants support gaps and  hard-to-fund projects in Colorado communities.  Maya, with Boulder Watershed Collective, shared about their project with the Youth Corps in Gold Hill including installing gravel aprons around homes and inoculating wood chips with fungi spores in an effort to hasten decomposition of the biomass from vegetation removal. Lara, with Coalition for the Upper South Platte, shared their experience training Mile High Youth Corps crew leaders in more advanced tree-felling skills to increase  capabilities to achieve project scopes of work. Dorie, with Genesee Fire Rescue, spoke about their hazardous vegetation removal Slash Drop-off events. She’s leveraging partnerships with neighborhood leaders, local composting, and a church toward a more effective program.

(Watch the recording of Maya, Lara, and Dorie sharing their project successes and the many lessons and successes experienced in their communities.). These are among over a dozen opportunity fund projects supported this year by the Argosy Foundation, DOI Bureau of Land Management, and the Colorado State Forest Service.

FACO Conversations

FACO also hosted a couple exciting initial conversations with wildfire resilience leaders this July. One was leaders who are launching or already coordinating volunteer Neighborhood Ambassador programs. FACO plans to help expand neighborhood wildfire mitigation volunteers throughout the state through these conversations. We’re also developing statewide resources to support them. Another virtual meeting was with ‘newish’ west slope watershed wildfire collaborative coordinators who have a lot to learn and share with one another. They’re excited to connect again around funding and organizational structure challenges. We’re also hoping to connect them in the field for a learning exchange around projects this fall.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.  -Albert Einstein.