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Project ID: 13-2-01-10

Year: 2013

Date Started: 08/01/2013

Date Completed: 09/23/2014

Title: Third Annual Conference of the Washington Prescribed Fire Council: Policy, Partnerships and Public Perception

Project Proposal Abstract: Fire has been a formative ecological process in forests, shrublands and grasslands throughout the world for millennia. However, a century of fire suppression and exclusion in many ecosystems throughout the United States has led to altered fuel types and hazardous fuel loads, increasing the risk of high severity wildfire and leading to habitat loss for many rare species. Land managers have identified that carefully applied prescribed fire can be an effective approach for safely reducing fuel loads and restoring native species habitat, however, practitioners still face major challenges with prescribed fire implementation. Sufficient trained resources, supportive air quality regulations and accurate information on fire effects are lacking for many prescribed fire programs throughout the West. Because of this, effective re-introduction of fire requires cross-agency and cross-border collaborations that provide shared resources, mutually beneficial gains in knowledge and a common, powerful voice to garner social and political support. Statewide Prescribed Fire Councils have developed throughout the U.S. to improve cooperation and coordination between partners so safe and effective prescribed fire can be utilized throughout the states. The newly formed Washington State Prescribed Fire Council (WPFC) provides an informed, active body to assist fire practitioners, policymakers, regulators and citizens with issues surrounding public safety, liability, ecological restoration and land management, public education and outreach, and air quality regulation. The goal of the WA PFC is to increase the ability of practitioners to utilize safe and effective prescribed fire for restoration and fuel reduction purposes. To successfully collaborate with the entire fire community, the Council must engage all relevant partners. The most efficient and effective way to do this is through an annual conference that brings together different geographies, areas of expertise, fire regimes, cultures and perspectives. Two days dedicated to education and discussion of the most pressing fire-related issues in the state has thus far proven to be an extremely effective way to collaboratively develop state-wide priorities and a clear focus for the WA PFC to move prescribed fire policy, public perception and partnerships forward. Attendees of the 1st Annual WA Prescribed Fire Council Conference identified the top five priorities for the WPFC: 1) Help to create coordinated and smart laws and regulations surrounding smoke management and prescribed fire, 2) Improve public outreach and education, 3) Improve access to resources  funding, trained personnel, equipment, 4) Increase collaboration across agencies, 5) Increase political support. The 2014 WA Prescribed Fire Council Conference will be planned around these priorities, with presentations and facilitated discussions aimed at developing strategies and action plans to achieve goals associated with each priority. Based on the success of our first conference and the feedback received from attendees, we plan to hold a two-day conference in mid-March 2014 for approximately 150 attendees in Olympia, WA. The conference agenda will be split between individual presentations on priority topics, two panel discussions (one on prescribed fire education and outreach and one on prescribed fire policy in WA), invited keynote and endnote speakers, a poster session, a workshop on prescribed fire training programs, and open networking time with food and drink. This conference will also serve the purpose of recruiting additional members to the Council Subcommittees (also organized around the five priorities) to ensure there are sufficient resources to carry out the plans generated at the conference.

Principal Investigator: Sarah T. Hamman

Agency/Organization: Center for Natural Lands Management

Branch or Dept: Olympia WA Office

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

James B. Tipton

Center for Natural Lands Management

Budget Contact

James B. Tipton

Center for Natural Lands Management

Co-Principal Investigator

Michael R. Lolley

The Nature Conservancy

WA-Washington Field Office

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network









Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

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Supporting Documents

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