Roundtable on Wildfire in the Wildland Urban Interface

The White House, in collaboration with the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, hosted a roundtable on wildfire mitigation and firefighter safety on May 18. The goal of the event was to identify policy actions needed to enhance community resilience within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).

Senior Federal agency officials; State, local, and tribal government leaders; and representatives of national organizations dedicated to firefighter safety and to community resilience participated including CWSF Chair and CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott, CWSF Past Chair, Oregon State Forester Doug Decker and CWSF Executive Director Caitlyn Pollihan.

President Obama signed an Executive Order on Wildland-Urban Interface Federal Risk Mitigation, which will mitigate wildfire risks to Federal buildings located in the WUI, reduce risks to people, and help minimize property loss to wildfire. All roundtable attendees, over 39 agencies and jurisdictions, made a commitment to a collaborate approach to address the challenge of wildfire in the wildland urban interface.

Wildland Fire Leadership Council Meeting

The Wildland Fire Leadership Council (Council), a collaborative group comprised of leaders from federal, tribal, state and local agencies and associations met earlier this month. CWSF Executive Director Caitlyn Pollihan was in attendance along with representatives from the National Association of State Foresters (NASF). Discussion included the Cohesive Strategy (CS) and the priorities that the Council has identified: 1. Smoke Management and Air Quality; 2. Reducing Risks to Communities; 3. Landscape Level Collaboration; and 4. Environmental compliance; as well as an update on the the western wildfire season. The Council members discussed their agency’s/organization's priorities on risk based response and expressed interest in participating in the dialogue initiated by the U.S. Forest Service to help reduce risk to responders and the public from wildland fire in the future.  

State and Private Forestry Board Meeting

CWSF staff attended the State and Private Forestry (SPF) board meeting held earlier this month in conjunction with the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) Executive Committee Meeting in Washington DC. The Board meets quarterly to discuss issues of importance to the USDA Forest Service (USFS) State & Private Forestry leadership and NASF. Board members include the USFS SPF Deputy Chief, other representatives from the USFS Leadership  and the NASF Executive Committee members. The NASF Executive Director and Regional State Forester Association Executive Directors participate in the SPF Board meetings. CWSF Forest Policy Director Kelsey Delaney acts as facilitator for these meetings. Key topics discussed at the meeting included the FY2016 allocation of Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) competitive funds, the future allocation process for LSR competitive funds as well as a focus on the USFS Urban & Community Forestry Program.

Staff Changes

Since 2003, Diane Denenberg has worked for Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF and the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC) as the Director of Communications. Over the years she has helped spread the message about our organizations and our members. She took on many projects for the organization, including dreaming up the online application and search tool for our Western competitive grant processes, With the successful funding of that project, Diane accepted a new position with the CWSF managing the creation and implementation of our online ‘portal’ for the two Western competitive grant processes and for the Southern Group of State Foresters’ LSR grant competition. Diane has also managed the LSR Grant Team as their facilitator and ensured that the Western grant process went smoothly and met all of the national criteria in this position.    

Diane’s last day as a CWSF staff member is May 31, 2016. Please join us in wishing her well in future endeavors and thanking her for her long time commitment to the CWSF and WFLC!  

The management of the Western LSR and the WUI grant processes has been transitioned to Grace Mirzeler, Member Services Associate, effective June 1, 2016. Please contact Grace with any questions. In addition, Ann Juette with SD Department of Agriculture, will serve as the Western Competitive Grant Team Facilitator.