We're big fans of the Mt. Adams Resource Stewards here at Life with Fire. You may recall our episode with the organization's Executive Director back in 2022 (episode 28), but we're back today with an episode with MARS' Stewardship Crew Lead, Lucas King, who shared his thoughts on expanding capacity for more burning and fuels reduction from the ground up in Washington State.
Lucas and Amanda spoke about expanding capacity for (and acceptance of) local burning in MARS' backyard—primarily through private lands burning and engaging community members through contractual opportunities and the Stewardship Crew itself. They also spoke about the Washington State Certified Burn Manager Program, engaging recreationists in the act of fuel reduction and land stewardship and a number of other topics, as well as what the stewardship crew has been up to this spring and summer.
Speaking of expanding capacity for prescribed burning in Washington State—have you heard about the two TREX events taking place in Washington this fall? The Selkirk and Gorge TREX events are accepting applications for a few more days (July 17th is the deadline), so if you're available and interested, be sure to apply asap!
05:52 - MARS' Approach to Non-Intimidating Fires
08:18 - Role Model Programs for MARS' Startup
10:14 - Private Landowners Burning with Crews
13:14 - Education in the MARS Program
16:09 - Washington State's Prescribed Burn Manager Course
19:29 - Engaging Rural Communities in Fire Mitigation
21:50 - Fostering Collaboration Among Property Owners
23:08 - Lucas' Background Story
25:26 - Spring Job Opportunities at MARS
27:01 - Current Status of Wildfire Proactivity
Produced by Morgan McRae
Flere episoder fra "Life with Fire"
Fire For the People With the Nature Conservancy's Marek Smith
32:39Well we finally got a chance to speak with Marek Smith, who is the North American Fire Director for the Nature Conservancy and the co-director of the Fire Networks, which houses the Fire Adapted Learning Network, the Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX), The Indigenous Peoples Burning Network and the Fire Learning Networks. Before I get too far into this intro, I do want to note that the Fire Network has a new website that is a veritable clearinghouse of good fire resources, knowledge and information on how to get involved—I highly recommend you go check it out!New Fire Networks Website!!Marek has quite a background of working in good fire implementation and policy, and recently represented 501 c3 organizations with expertise in forest management and environmental conservation on the Wildfire Commission which released its report and recommendations back in September.In his role with the Nature Conservancy, Marek works to, quite simply, bring fire to the people while leading an organization that prioritizes our collective relationship with fire. All of TNC's programming through the Fire Networks is focused on developing more avenues for people to connect with fire, whether by exchanging knowledge/training, sharing resources or empowering individuals and communities to build resilience to or change their relationships with fire.We covered some ground with this one—not only about his role in the Wildfire Commission, but also his work with the Fire Networks, Amanda's experience at her first TREX back in October, and the future of the Fire Networks. This was such a fun conversation that was a long time coming, and we were left feeling like we could have talked to Marek for much, much longer than we did! Maybe a part two is in order....Don't forget to check out the Fire Networks' new website!You can also learn more about the new partnership between the Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service here. Looking for Christmas gifts for the outdoorsperson/backpacker/firefighter/hunter/skier in your life? Well boy howdy you should probably check out Mystery Ranch's selection of packs, made for every hobby you could possibly need a pack for.I'm a huge fan of Mystery Ranch packs and am an especially big fan of their Saddle Peak ski pack and their Hip Monkey pack, which is a glorified fanny pack that is durable as hell and has SO MUCH SPACE. I use it for long days on my mountain bike, and also recently used it basically as a purse during a three-week trip backpacking around Italy. Timestamps:03:55 - Episode Introduction05:57 - Process For The Wildfire Commission08:02 - Themes In Marek's Work09:29 - Work Groups Within The Commission 10:02 - Marek's Current Action Items10:52 - Collaborative Approach To Recommendations 12:11 - An All-Society Approach13:02 - Multi-Year Funding13:58 - Community Wildfire Defense Grants15:21 - Wildfire Adaptation PODs17:13 - Focus On What Is In Reach18:14 - Community Level Practitioners19:00 - The Fire Networks Partnership21:24 - The Indigenous Peoples Burning Network22:37 - Proactive Community Building23:47 - Amanda's Experience On TREX24:56 - The PIO Position25:48 - Current Happenings At Nature Conservancy27:21 - Indigenous TREX Experiences28:41 - Women In Prescribed Fire Training30:09 - How To Get Involved31:04 - Ongoing Efforts
The Wildfire Commission Report with Kelly Martin
25:00The Wildfire Mitigation and Management Commission, established in 2022 at the behest of Congress following the 2021 Infrastructure Act, recently released a substantial report highlighting recommendations that will shape the future of wildfire policy and action in the US. Fifty commission members were charged with creating the recommendations, one of which was Kelly Martin—who is a founding member of the Grassroots Wildland Firefighter organization and a longtime wildland firefighter. We had the chance to chat with Kelly about the commission, and she was able to provide us a glimpse into the process and efforts behind their whopping 340-page report. We spoke explicitly about how the recommendations relate to wildland firefighters, as well as what Kelly was able to bring to the commission with her extensive background working in wildland fire operations.We're hoping to release a few more episodes about the commission report, which will focus on other recommendations and themes—including community resilience/adaptation, Indigenous burning and scaling up projects that reduce wildfire risk. Stay tuned!Kelly is an outspoke advocate for wildland firefighters through her work at Grassroots Wildland Firefighters, which you should definitely check out if you haven't already. This episode is brought to you by Mystery Ranch, which makes the best fire pack in the business--we will die on this hill! If you're looking for a fire pack (or a backpacking pack, or a briefcase, or a hunting pack, or a...well you get it), then Mystery Ranch is the place to go. You'll probably never have to buy a pack again!
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Humble Fire and Traditional Ecological Practices with Cultural Fire Scholar, Dr. Melinda Adams
45:16You've probably heard of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) but how about Traditional Ecological *Practices*?In this episode, we spoke with Dr. Melinda Adams of the N’dee San Carlos Apache Tribe about translating Indigenous knowledge into Indigenous-led action—which means giving Indigenous practitioners the "space, opportunity and action" to see their knowledge systems play out on the landscape. We spoke about a whole lot more than that, though; we heard about Dr. Adams' PhD work at UC-Davis, about her new assistant professor position at the University of Kansas, about "rematriating" fire (bringing women back into cultural fire decision making) and generally bringing more humility into the use of fire. We also spoke at length about her recent paper titled "Solastalgia to Soliphilia: Cultural Fire, Climate Change, and Indigenous Healing," which she co-authored with Erica Tom and Chairman Ron Goode of the North Fork Mono Tribe (who coined the term "Traditional Ecological Practices").A bit more about Melinda: As a fire scholar, Dr. Adams concentrates on encouraging public participation in prescribed and controlled burns, getting more people fire certified, and placing more Indigenous-led cultural fire to the ground with allies, agencies, and Tribal members— “decolonizing fire” as she describes. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Haskell Indian Nations University (one of thirty-seven tribal colleges located across the United States), her Master of Science from Purdue University, and PhD from the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on the intersection of ecology, environmental science, environmental policy and Native American studies; through her research and work, she envisions a future where cultural fire is used as a climate adaptation strategy while mitigating the frequency and intensity of catastrophic wildfire.This is an important episode for those interested in Indigenous knowledge, understanding and practice of land stewardship—including the use of fire—but is absolutely essential for anyone who works in an agency or organization that emphasizes the importance of TEK, and especially for those who recognize a need for a different and more humble approach to fire and active stewardship. Beyond that, if you're looking for an antidote to your climate grief, look no further than this conversation with Melinda. Her energy for the work is incredible, and is bolstered by countless other Indigenous practitioners and allies who envision a more sustainable, Indigenous-led, community-based future of land stewardship and fire use. Timestamps: 07:17 - Introduction09:42 - Fire in Tribe's Cultural Stories10:35 - Soliphilia12:32 - California and Tribal Recognition15:19 - Healing Powers of Cultural Fire17:34 - State Agencies Invited to Cultural Fire Demos18:37 - Wildfires and A Lack of Relationship with the Land21:20 - Community Education23:30 - Generational Protocol and Practices24:46 - Traditional Ecological Practices27:25 - Melinda's Teaching and Her Students' Focus31:50 - The Humble Fire Approach34:12 - Learn Homeland History Where You Burn36:15 - Caring for the Place You Live38:28 - Collaboration with Different Tribes39:31 - Storytelling to Translate Scientific Findings44:02 - Final Thoughts from Melinda
Community-Informed Wildfire Communications, With Isabeau Ottolini
35:19Isabeau Ottolini is one of the foremost experts on imbuing risk communications with values that are informed by communities themselves. As a PhD candidate on community-based communications at the Open University of Catalonia in Spain, Isabeau spends a significant amount of time thinking about how we can best reach those most at risk of wildfire's impacts, while also allowing those folks to inform how we approach them on this subject.The ways we talk about wildfire are often highly localized—and dependent on a number of factors like community values, history and available resources. However, the things that make for successful risk communication are largely universal, with mutual respect being chief among the elements of successful communication. This is a primary point of Isabeau's: that when we are talking to community members about wildfire or other climate risks, embracing a two-way communication approach (rather than top-down, as she calls it) is essential. In other words, ensuring that you're actually listening to the community you're attempting to communicate with.Isabeau is also a current member of PyroLife, which is a PhD training program that supports students across the globe to pursue cross-disciplinary, wildfire-focused research projects. She recently published a paper called "A toolkit for fostering co-creation and participative community engagement with vulnerable communities at risk," where she expands on many of the topics we cover in this episode—we'd highly recommend giving it a read. If you're interested in learning more about our open call for pitches, check out our blog post about it!If you'd like to help us meet our objective to support Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and other creators from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by wildfires, please check out our Patreon.Timestamps: 05:36 - Introduction06:51 - Interest in Wildfires09:05 - Community Collaboration Over Expert Dictation10:36 - Community Experience as Starting Point11:35 - Limitations of Wildfire Communication15:07 - Spain vs. US Wildfire Management and Communications17:43 - Communication as Top Priority18:23 - Leveraging Social Media Platforms19:38 - Tips for the Upcoming Wildfire Season23:09 - Future of Wildfire Prevention Gaps24:50 - Complexity of Wildfire Management Produced by Morgan McRae
Expanding Prescribed Fire Capacity in Washington State, with Lucas King
28:46We're big fans of the Mt. Adams Resource Stewards here at Life with Fire. You may recall our episode with the organization's Executive Director back in 2022 (episode 28), but we're back today with an episode with MARS' Stewardship Crew Lead, Lucas King, who shared his thoughts on expanding capacity for more burning and fuels reduction from the ground up in Washington State. Lucas and Amanda spoke about expanding capacity for (and acceptance of) local burning in MARS' backyard—primarily through private lands burning and engaging community members through contractual opportunities and the Stewardship Crew itself. They also spoke about the Washington State Certified Burn Manager Program, engaging recreationists in the act of fuel reduction and land stewardship and a number of other topics, as well as what the stewardship crew has been up to this spring and summer. Speaking of expanding capacity for prescribed burning in Washington State—have you heard about the two TREX events taking place in Washington this fall? The Selkirk and Gorge TREX events are accepting applications for a few more days (July 17th is the deadline), so if you're available and interested, be sure to apply asap! 05:52 - MARS' Approach to Non-Intimidating Fires08:18 - Role Model Programs for MARS' Startup10:14 - Private Landowners Burning with Crews13:14 - Education in the MARS Program16:09 - Washington State's Prescribed Burn Manager Course19:29 - Engaging Rural Communities in Fire Mitigation21:50 - Fostering Collaboration Among Property Owners23:08 - Lucas' Background Story25:26 - Spring Job Opportunities at MARS27:01 - Current Status of Wildfire Proactivity Produced by Morgan McRae
Life after Wildland Firefighting with Luke Mayfield
37:50What can life after wildland firefighting look like? With the issues facing wildland firefighters these days (including but not limited to: abysmal pay, nonexistent benefits and perpetually being let down by elected officials who suggest they might actually do something about it etc) many in this essential but overworked workforce are likely considering that question themselves.After asking himself that question for years, today's guest Luke Mayfield finally got his answer in 2019, when he left his job as a hotshot captain to see what life outside of operational fire was all about. He now works as the fire program director at Mystery Ranch Backpacks, and is still very much involved the fire community—both through his policy work at Grassroots Wildland Firefighters and as an emergency fill-in for hotshot crews for the last four summers. He's also spent some time this spring talking to hotshot crews about mental health and general wellness during the fire season, which are topics that he's well-versed in after 18 years in fire.This episode isn't just for the firefighters out there, though. It's increasingly important that folks outside of the fire community better understand the challenges firefighters are facing, and take advantage of advocacy opportunities at the state and federal level. Much of those opportunities for advocacy, in fact, are rooted in Luke's work with Grassroots Wildland Firefighters.Luke was a founding member of Grassroots back in 2019 after recognizing a need for more lobbying power/legislative presence on the part of the wildland fire community, which had historically been left out of the conversation at the policy level and, thus, often in the media and greater public consciousness. If you're looking for a way to support the wildland firefighters in your life or community, supporting the work of Grassroots is a great place to start.Huge thanks to Luke for coming on the show, and an equally huge thanks to Mystery Ranch Backpacks for supporting Life with Fire over the years. We have a fancy new affiliate link program with MR and thought we'd highlight their man purse (aka Murse), which is like the Bugatti of man-purses: https://bit.ly/42CyyN6 TW: Mental health challenges and suicidal ideation are discussed briefly in this episode.
Forest Resilience Policy at the State Level with Hilary Franz
57:44We'll be honest—we've been hoping to talk to Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz since this podcast's inception. Franz is responsible for the management of over six millions acres of public lands and the state's wildland firefighting workforce, so we were pretty excited to finally have the opportunity to have a conversation with her a few weeks ago. Our conversation ran the gamut from the forest resilience measures she's taken while in office, to the All Hands All Lands approach to fuels reduction, to her vision for a more fire-adapted Washington. Life with Fire is based in Bellingham, WA—an admittedly wet place to host a wildfire podcast—so we also spoke a bit about the changing conditions in the west Cascades and how her office is hoping to bring more wildfire awareness to the westside. You can support the Life with Fire Patreon if you dig what we're doing, or maybe write us a review or follow us on social media (@lifewithfirepod). If you're looking for a new pack (especially a fire pack!), be sure to go check out Mystery Ranch's wide range of fantastic packs for any activity you partake in: https://www.avantlink.com/click.php?tool_type=cl&merchant_id=dd2bb191-351c-479c-9877-7efa128a6335&website_id=d8132395-0578-4694-9ba8-65dc5a6ef74a&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mysteryranch.com%2F
Fire in the Pine Barrens of the Northeast with Emily Dolhansky
32:11Our 50th episode! In today's episode, we spoke to professional forester Emily Dolhansky about the fire-adapted ecosystems of her home state of New Jersey. Perhaps you've seen some footage of the Jimmy's Waterhole Fire (pretty good fire name tbh) in southern New Jersey—as of this writing, it's sitting at nearly 4,000 acres and 75% containment after exhibiting fire behavior that would be extreme by almost any geographic area's standards.Emily filled us in on the fire ecology and history of the pine barrens, where she spent as a kid growing up in NJ. Emily wrote her master's thesis at Yale on the pine barrens of the northeast (which exist all over the northeast and midwest—not just NJ) and talked through some of the common misconceptions of Northeast wildfires while providing a good bit of context for all those wild videos we're seeing on social media this week. To learn more about the fire history of the pine barrens, check out this piece that Emily penned while at Yale: https://www.firesciencenorthatlantic.org/post/pine-barrens-of-the-northeastern-u-s-emily-dohlansky-2018Looking for a new pack? Check out Mystery Ranch's stellar selection and let them know we sent you by using this link! https://www.avantlink.com/click.php?tt=pl&ti=4703&pw=348921&mi=13570&pt=3&pri=603
The Psychology of Fire and Innovating without Ego with Dr. Natasha Stavros
45:18As indicated by the title of this episode, we covered some SERIOUS ground in our conversation with Dr. Natasha Stavros, Director of the Earth Lab at CU Boulder. Natasha's background in the academic realm combined with personal experiences with wildfire (being evacuated from one of California's first megafires back in the early 2000s, and most recently seeing the impacts of the Marshall Fire on the Boulder community) gives her a strong understanding of fire from both the academic and the community/human perspective. As such, our conversation touched on everything from how the right technology can help build fire resilience if paired with strong policy, the impacts of smoke on vulnerable populations and her own reckoning with the psychological impacts and trauma of wildfire.Learn more about Natasha and the work she is doing at the Earth Lab: https://earthlab.colorado.edu/our-team/natasha-stavrosContribute to the work we're doing here at Life with Fire by becoming a patron! Need a pack? Our sponsor Mystery Ranch probably has something for ya, whether you're looking for a backpacking setup for the summer or new fire packs for your crew. Check out their selection here: https://bit.ly/410LZ85
The Philosophy of Fire with Amanda Rau, Part Two
40:28In our second episode with Oregon Prescribed Fire Council found Amanda Rau, we discuss how she has connected the dots between her philosophy degree and her fire career, what other agencies and jobs she is interested in pursuing, the Oregon Certified Burn Manager Course and her vision for getting fire in the hands of more people in Oregon and beyond. Learn more about the Oregon Prescribed Fire Council: https://www.oregonrxfire.org/This episode is sponsored by Mystery Ranch Backpacks. Whether you need the toughest load-bearing backpack on the market or a bag for your laptop, Mystery Ranch has what you're looking for. Check out their fire packs (specifically their women's fire packs!) here: https://www.avantlink.com/click.php?tt=pl&ti=4703&pw=348921&mi=13570&pt=3&pri=603