11 Jul Interagency Cooperation
I took a weekend trip to Southern Utah this July to visit Zion National Park. While I was there, I was able to interact with rangers from another agency. As government employees of different agencies responsible for stewarding public lands in different ways, it’s great to stay connected with the work happening throughout the country. In my internship, I worked with employees from other agencies, including BLM and NPS. I have been working collaboratively with these agencies on a Smoke Ready Community Project in the Greater Yellowstone Area in Wyoming. This project has a unique project boundary with public land managed by each agency. This project focuses on creating Smoke Ready Action Plans for communities exposed to wildfire smoke within the Greater Yellowstone Area. We have chosen three pilot communities within the area boundary and have been working through the summer to create communication plans, gain access to air quality information and have actionable information to spread to community members during a smoke event. We plan to use these three communities as models for other communities throughout Intermountain West that might be affected more by wildfire smoke due to climate change. It’s been an eye-opening experience to work with other agencies to have a common and comprehensive goal. It’s important to remember that although we work for the Forest Service, our primary goal is serving the public via our public lands. Sometimes, that goal is best accomplished through inter-agency coordination!