Research Request: Building Resiliency Councils?

PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS | Feb 18, 2019

As part of your membership benefits, the Alliance staff provide research services for local government member submitted requests. Topics can range from pressing issues to emerging trends. This benefit is made possible through our partnership with Arizona State University Marvins Andrews Fellowship

Request Prompt:

“Any models of areas that have formed Disaster Recovery/Resilience councils that include business, government, education, and nonprofits? We are recovering from the fires, and what I'm seeing is that the County government is (understandably) focused on its actions and plans, etc. Considering the perspective we have in economic development, it seems useful to me to have a place where the business disaster staff, the public agency disaster staff, educational institution staff, and nonprofit organizational  staff come together to share ideas, understand assumptions, align efforts, etc. "

 Summary of Findings: 

Toolkits and Resources: 

 

In February 2012, the U.S. Fire Administration released a framework for ‘fire-adapted communities’ titled Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities: How the fire service, local officials, and the public can work together. 

  • Details the role specific groups can play, such as; Local Fire Service, Local Officials and Decisionmakers, The Public, and Land Managers 

  • Also, the report dives into funding and implementation 

 

California Fire Safe Councils - https://cafiresafecouncil.org/fire-safe-councils/ 

  • …are grassroots, community-led organizations that mobilize residents to protect their homes, communities, and environments from wildfire. 

  • Have resources for starting a new councilor joining an existing one 

  • Grants Clearinghouse - online grant application process that makes it easier to find and apply for wildfire prevention grants to support community projects. 

  • Further fire safe council info: 

 

NFPA's Firewise USA program - https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Firewise-USA  

  • “…growing network of more than 1,500 recognized Firewise USA sites from across the nation taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.” 

  • Further fire-adapted communities’ sites: 

 

Background Research:

Background Research: 

http://empowerla.org/neighborhood-councils-key-part-in-las-resilient-los-angeles-strategy/ 

  • Mayor Eric Garcetti released his Resilient Los Angeles Strategy 

  • ***”The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment will work with the Emergency Management Department and the Mayor’s Office of Resilience to support Neighborhood Councils and community organizations in identifying locations to create Neighborhood Resilience Hubs. These hubs are physical spaces designed to facilitate social and climate resilience and disaster preparedness and recovery. They’ll be fortified with the most up-to-date electricity, water, communications and seismic technologies to ensure that critical services are maintained during and after a disaster. 

  • In addition to creating Neighborhood Resilience Hubs, Neighborhood Council were also asked to identify Resilience Liaisons as soon as possible and to create a Neighborhood Preparedness Plan by 2019.” 

https://www.disasterresiliencenetwork.org/ 

  • Local Tulsa council 

  • Could provide template – 3 different foci 

 

https://americas.uli.org/research/centers-initiatives/urban-resilience-program/ten-principles-building-resilience/  

  • not council specific, but a workshop to toolkit white paper hurricane-specific
  •  

https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_journals/2016/rmrs_2016_smith_a001.pdf 

specifically to forest management and brush fires. Here resiliency is key, but just background.  

  • the US government has identified three key priorities for advancing wildland fire management that are translated globally: (1) restoring and maintaining fire-adapted landscapes; (2) facilitating fireadapted communities (FACs) that coexist with wildland fires; and (3) promoting collaborative, informed, safe, and effective wildland fire responses (WFEC 2014). Pg. 131 

  • Furthermore, creating fire-adapted communities requires making the general public partners in initiatives to manage wildfire risk and protected lands. It necessitates human communities who make decisions that reduce professional firefighting burdens and allowthe wildfire to play a role in natural landscapes. This includes a need to better articulate what makes populations fire adapted and how we designate “community” as a unit of study (Flint and Luloff 2005). Although a few programs exist for communities to proactively prepare for wildfires, such as the Firewise USA Communities Program or the United Kingdom Forestry Commission planning program (box 2), the success of such initiatives is variable and fragmented across geographic space and over time. There is no established industry equipped to handle the issues of living with wildfires. Pg. 131 

  • Cascading fire effects, such as accelerated sediment and water flows that predispose landscapes to secondary landslide and flood hazards (Abatzoglou et  al. 2014), can compound economic costs, leading to decreased human resources and increased ecosystem vulnerabilities (Duguy et al. 2012). Pg. 131 

  • Application? The driving force/ or focus of the council could be: “Figure 2. A paradigm shift is needed from a system where communities are predominately passively affected by fires to one where they actively work hand in hand with land management planners, architects, and agencies to coexist with wildland fires. Enhancements in education can lead to improved planning and informed adaptation and mitigation scenarios, leading to reduced community vulnerability. A lack of education, resources, or data to make informed decisions can act to increase community vulnerability. (color)” pg.137 

 

UC Cooperative Extension works with fire safe councils to reduce wildfires by Glenn A. Nader and Michael De Lasaux: https://ucanr.edu/repository/fileAccessPublic.cfm?fn=cav6901p57-157086.pdf  

  • Pg. 57 

  • Home structures have been modified to improve their fire resistance, fuel reduction programs have been adopted by local communities and maintained, communities have been mapped for evacuation plans and fuel breaks have been constructed on private and public forestland. 

  • WHAT: fire safe councils are community based organizations that share the objective of making California’s communities less vulnerable to wildfire. They are comprised of a collaborative group of local stakeholders, including federal land managers, state and local fire agency representatives, private forest landowners and community members. 

  • WHEN: generally meet monthly 

  • HOW: work to reduce wildfire hazard through community education programs and fuel reduction projects. They have helped to identify needs for science-based information on topics critical to fire risk reduction and delivered the information to the communities in a variety of formats to engage homeowners and landowners in effective pre-fire actions. 

 

 

Wildfire: A Changing Landscape; A Global Resilience Institute & National Fire Protection Association Assessment, Stephen E. Flynn, PhD, December 2017: https://globalresilience.northeastern.edu/app/uploads/2017/12/WildfireReport_13dec17_Full.pdf  

  • Report collaboration between Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University & National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) at the request of the U.S. Department 

  • of Homeland Security. 

  • Pg. 2-3 In preparation for the workshop, participants with a variety of expertise were asked to present “Pop Up Innovations” to address wildfire challenges in urban environments that could help create safer and more fire-adapted communities and more effective fire response. In the workshop, these innovations addressed a range of issues from firefighter communication and training needs to city planning and zoning to homeowner education about wildfire risk reduction essentials. To complete the day, a panel of subject matter experts addressed current wildfire challenges in the WUI, and workshop teams tackled a set of observations that were gleaned from an exhaustive literature search. These observations included: 

  • Land and fire management policies that focus primarily on suppressing wildfires rather than reducing their destructive potential have led to a buildup of live and dead plant matter (fuel) in forests and adjacent urban areas and to rapidly expanding developments that have ignored structure ignition potential. This has resulted in both more intense fires and in greater losses of homes, infrastructure, and businesses. Consequently, the cost of future suppression efforts increases, frequently at the expense of investment in mitigation. 

  • The risk of wildfires to homeowners and businesses will continue to rise as more structures are built in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), resulting in higher costs for individual property owners, emergency responders, taxpayers, government agencies, and insurers. 

  • Communities of all sizes, from small towns to major urban areas, are vulnerable to cascading effects as wildfires encroach on interdependent regional systems. The interdependency of critical functions poses risks that may not be adequately understood before a disaster. 

  • The complexity of wildland fire management when it involves risk to critical infrastructure poses unique challenges to emergency managers and community leaders responsible for communicating information to residents and among agencies. 

  • Pg. 4 Local stakeholders need clearer standards of what it means for their communities to be fire-adapted, guidance on how to achieve and maintain that status, and incentives for doing so. 

  • Throughout the report, Innovation.. 

  • Pg. 13 Community Preparedness and Cooperation: “…neighbors and communities are often the first on the scene to help one another.” “NFPA’s Firewise USA ™ recognition program, which was established in 2002 and is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters”. program has five steps: 

  1. Obtain a wildfire risk assessment as a written document from your state forestry agency or fire department.  

  1. Form a board or committee, and create an action plan based on the assessment.  

  1. Conduct a “Firewise Day” event.  

  1. Invest a minimum of $2 per capita in local Firewise actions for the year.  

  1. Create a Firewise Portal account and submit an application to your state Firewise liaison.” 

  • Pg. 13 NFPA has also partnered with the insurance company USAA in providing an economic incentive that encourages greater community participation in the program. 

  • Pg. 14 The U.S. Fire Administration, which is part of FEMA, has published a guide developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, titled Your Role in FireAdapted Communities, which provides a template for creating a fire-adapted community including a listing of appropriate codes and standards.9 

 

General Information: 

 

  • Disaster Resilience Network: resilience councils built aroundthe  home, business, community in Tulsa, OK. 

  • https://www.disasterresiliencenetwork.org/  

  • Represented on Board of Directors are local leaders in business, nonprofit, and education 

  • Non-wildfire related disaster resilience: Resilient Los Angeles Strategy 

  • http://empowerla.org/neighborhood-councils-key-part-in-las-resilient-los-angeles-strategy/  

  • Report release by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2018 – “The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment will work with the Emergency Management Department and the Mayor’s Office of Resilience to support Neighborhood Councils and community organizations in identifying locations to create Neighborhood Resilience Hubs. These hubs are physical spaces designed to facilitate social and climate resilience and disaster preparedness and recovery. They’ll be fortified with the most up-to-date electricity, water, communications and seismic technologies to ensure that critical services are maintained during and after a disaster.” 

 

  • Wildfire: A Changing Landscape; A Global Resilience Institute & National Fire Protection Association Assessment, Stephen E. Flynn, PhD, December 2017: 

  • (pg. 2 – 3) “To complete the day, a panel of subject matter experts addressed current wildfire challenges in the wildlife-urban interface (WUI), and workshop teams tackled a set of observations that were gleaned from an exhaustive literature search. These observations included: 

  • Land and fire management policies that focus primarily on suppressing wildfires rather than reducing their destructive potential have led to a buildup of live and dead plant matter (fuel) in forests and adjacent urban areas and to rapidly expanding developments that have ignored structure ignition potential. This has resulted in both more intense fires and in greater losses of homes, infrastructure, and businesses. Consequently, the cost of future suppression efforts increases, frequently at the expense of investment in mitigation. 

  • The risk of wildfires to homeowners and businesses will continue to rise as more structures are built in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), resulting in higher costs for individual property owners, emergency responders, taxpayers, government agencies, and insurers. 

  • Communities of all sizes, from small towns to major urban areas, are vulnerable to cascading effects as wildfires encroach on interdependent regional systems. The interdependency of critical functions poses risks that may not be adequately understood before a disaster. 

  • The complexity of wildland fire management when it involves risk to critical infrastructure poses unique challenges to emergency managers and community leaders responsible for communicating information to residents and among agencies. 

  • (pg. 13) Community Preparedness and Cooperation: “…neighbors and communities are often the first on the scene to help one another.” “NFPA’s Firewise USA recognition program, which was established in 2002 and is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters”. The program has five steps: 

  1. Obtain a wildfire risk assessment as a written document from your state forestry agency or fire department.  

  1. Form a board or committee, and create an action plan based on the assessment.  

  1. Conduct a “Firewise Day” event.  

  1. Invest a minimum of $2 per capita in local Firewise actions for the year.  

  1. Create a Firewise Portal account and submit an application to your state Firewise liaison.” 

 

Used and Future Research Pathways: 

 

  • resilience councils 

  • resilience councils for brush fires 

  • Fire safe councils  

  • Fire adapted communities (FACs) 

  • risk-to-resilience framework 

  • more resources: 

  • Sierra Nevada Conservancy 

  • California Fire Safe Council Grants Clearinghouse  

  • Renewable Resources Extension Act 

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