Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network
People and nature are increasingly threatened by fire, despite fire’s natural, beneficial role. At the same time, firefighting costs are escalating and diverting money away from proactive land management. The solution is to make natural areas and communities more fire-ready so that we can allow fire to play its natural role at a meaningful scale. The Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) initiative and the FAC Learning Network (FAC Network) are helping homeowners, communities and land managers in fire-prone areas prepare for inevitable fires -- to “live with fire” safely.
Fostering fire adapted communities has become a major focus of federal wildland fire and disaster management, and it is one of three primary goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. The tools that are being promoted through the Fire Adapted Communities program have all been shown to be effective; however, there is much to learn about which combinations of tools are most effective in certain social and ecological contexts, how to best spark communities to action, and how to best support an individual community’s efforts to become more fire adapted over time. The FAC Network is working with leaders and practitioners from around the country addressing these knowledge gaps.
Why a Learning Network?
Accelerating the growth of fire adapted communities involves complex issues, common practices, and a broad community of practitioners, all working across diverse geographic, cultural and institutional contexts and scales. The FAC Network is modeled after the Fire Learning Network, a joint project of The Nature Conservancy, the USDA Forest Service and several agencies of the U.S. Department of the Interior that has been operating since 2002. Aimed at advancing the restoration of fire adapted ecosystems, the FLN has contributed to restoration on more than 135 million acres.
The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network encourages the development and sharing of best practices and innovations in order to accelerate the adoption of fire adapted community concepts nationwide. The Network currently supports eighteen hub organizations who work with pilot communities that have committed to implementing, assessing and sharing the work that they are doing to increase their communities’ resilience to wildfire. Funding is provided by the USDA Forest Service’s Fire Adapted Communities Program (and participants’ matching funds), and the Network is managed by the Watershed Research and Training Center and The Nature Conservancy.
FAC Network Structure
What is a Fire Adapted Community?
A fire adapted community acknowledges and takes responsibility for its wildfire risk, and implements appropriate actions at all levels. Actions address resident safety, homes, neighborhoods, businesses and infrastructure, forests, parks, open spaces and other community assets. Every community has a unique set of circumstances and capacities, so the kinds of actions they take will vary. Further, there is no end-point in becoming a fire adapted community. Sustaining, growing and adapting strategies, partnerships and capacity through time are key.
What are Hub Organizations and Pilot Communities?
The FAC Network facilitates learning at multiple scales and across geographies and stakeholder groups. Activities include collaborative planning, implementation, adaptive management and the sharing of lessons learned through a range of communications and media formats. Workshops, online workspace, webinars, peer learning and learning exchanges are just a few of the mechanisms the FAC Network uses.
The Network is structured around “hub organizations” that serve a local and regional convening function and that make and move knowledge from the local level to regional and national forums. These organizations participate in local coordinating groups that bring together people from pilot communities to cooperatively plan, take action, and increase their resilience to wildfire.
The Watershed Research and Training Center
and The Nature Conservancy
are working together to manage the Network. To learn more please visit www.facnetwork.org
or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org