National Cooperative Fire Meeting

I attended the annual National Cooperative Fire Meeting in McClellan Park, Sacramento July 28-29, 2023. Cooperative Fire is a directorate under Fire and Aviation Management. I work with Brad Simpkins, Branch Chief of Cooperative Fire, Tim Melchert, Cooperative Fire Specialist, and Matt Castle, Deputy Fire Staff on detail at the Washington Office. Since I work remotely, it was great to meet my team face-to-face and not through a monitor! The meeting was packed with presentations that helped me gain context for my projects.

The hardest part of joining the Forest Service was figuring out acronyms. It seems like almost everything, from grants to databases, has an acronym. The most important one I learned about was CWDG “Community Wildfire Defense Grant”. The U.S. Forest Service’s CWDG program was authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help at-risk communities, including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies, and Alaska Native Corporations with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks. The program provides funding to communities for developing and/or revising Community Wildfire Protection Plans and/or implementing projects described in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan that is less than ten years old. Projects may include training for fire education presentations, prescribed fires, developing smoke readiness programs, and much more.

After the meeting, I started working on preparation for the second round of CWDG applications. I was a panelist for CWDG Program Manager webinars. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is accepting applications for CWDG on July 31, 2023. Currently, I am making a map of potentially high-ranking communities, counties, and Tribal Areas that are considered high or very high risk for wildfires. I will be a panelist for the upcoming CWDG Applicant Webinars.

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