Mitigation Best Practices Toolbox

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Mitigation Guiding principles are the foundation for effective work with communities; they are the key to increasing local capacity. The guiding principles below will resonate throughout the rest of this course and are the base upon which an effective action-focused mitigation program can be built.

  • Engagement: Trust-based relationships and face-to-face engagement are the basis for success
  • Communicate in person when possible: Messaging (emails, advertisements, newspaper campaigns) and engagement are not the same; messaging should not be used in lieu of face-to-face communication
  • Target high to medium risk areas and communities
  • Build partnerships to work collaboratively across boundaries and jurisdictions
  • Make mitigation support accessible to all at-risk populations
  • Focus on outcomes over outputs
  • Leverage resources
  • Be an expert: know your communities risk and focus work to reduce the risk
  • Stay strategic, selective, and focused
  • Be flexible and adapt
  • Check your assumptions
Lead

The most essential element of wildfire mitigation is competent and confident leadership. Leadership means providing purpose, direction, and motivation for residents, stakeholders and partners to take action to reduce risk.

Lead

The most essential element of wildfire mitigation is competent and confident leadership. Leadership means providing purpose, direction, and motivation for residents, stakeholders and partners to take action to reduce risk.

The Mitigation Leader must:

  • PRIORITIZE ACTIVITIES that are effective and efficient and lead to mitigation risk reduction action.
  • USE RESOURCES wisely.
  • MOTIVATE action of residents, staff and partners.
  • FACILITATE change and action through mitigation strategies.
  • COMMUNICATE clearly and concisely using common sense and understandable language.
  • RESOLVE CONFLICT through active listening and understanding.
Cairn

Capacity is the all-important “infrastructure” that supports and shapes organizations into sustainable, efficient, and effective change agents. Capacity building enables organizations and their leaders to develop competencies and skills in the delivery of a service.

Increasing Organizational Capacity

Increasing Community Capacity

Neighborhood Ambassador Programs
FAC NA Approach

Community Connections

Cairn

Capacity is the all-important “infrastructure” that supports and shapes organizations into sustainable, efficient, and effective change agents. Capacity building enables organizations and their leaders to develop competencies and skills in the delivery of a service.

Increasing Organizational Capacity

  • Stop undertaking activities that provide a minimum return on investment.
  • Focus on risk reduction actions.
  • Ask for help. Ask partners, volunteers and residents to help with activities they can support.
    • Home Assessments
    • Project coordination
    • Mitigation event coordination
    • Volunteer time tracking
  • Trust your partners.
  • Review programs frequently.
    • Be nimble – adjust inefficient programs, services or projects when outcomes are less than desired.
    • Adapt – Allow flexibility in program design to allow for rapid changes.

Increasing Community Capacity

  • Encourage residents to actively participate. Providing free, no-labor mitigation services does little to grow mitigation capacity. Provide opportunities for participation in all phases of the work.
  • Explain that one parcel treated will do little to change fire effects, behaviors and outcomes.
  • Focus on the positives
    • We can change the trajectory
    • our actions, even seemingly small can create positive outcomes
    • Set a positive example. You can help to adjust attitudes and perceptions by doing work on your property
  • Listen closely to the needs and concerns residents have

Increasing Organizational Capacity

Increasing Community Capacity

Neighborhood Ambassador Programs
FAC NA Approach

Community Connections

social science

Note: author bios?

WiRe

Pamela Jakes 
Best Management Practices for Creating a Community Wildfire Protection Plan

2012. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-89. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station.

Collaborative Planning to Reduce Risk
Martin, Wade E.; Raish, Carol; Kent, Brian: eds. Wildfire risk human perceptions and management implications. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future: 44-63.

Working with Community Leadership to Promote Wildfire Preparedness
McCaffrey, S.M., tech. ed. The public and wildland fire management: social science findings for managers. Gen.Tech. Rep. NRS-1. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 137-149.

Understanding Social Complexity Within the Woodland Urban Interface: A New Species of Human Habitation?
2009 Environmental Management. 43: 1085-95.

Sarah McCaffrey 
Outreach Programs, Peer Pressure and Common Sense: What Motivates Homeowners to Mitigate Wildfire Risk
(2011) In working to foster fire-adapted communities, individuals and organizations need to understand the dynamics of public support for fuels management on private and public land.

Best Practices in Risk and Crisis Communication: Implications for Natural Hazards Management
Natural Hazards. 65(1):683-705.Toman, Eric; Stidham, Melanie; McCaffrey, Sarah; Shindler, Bruce. 2013.

The Role of Community Policies in Defensible Space Compliance
Forest Policy and Economics. 11: 570-578. Winter, Greg; McCaffrey, Sarah; Vogt, Christine A. 2009.

Social Science at the Wildland Urban Interface: A Compendium of Research Results to Create Fire-Adapted Communities
Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-111. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 75 p.McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Winter, Greg. 2011.

Understanding Homeowner Preparation and Intended Actions When Threatened by A Wildfire
McCaffrey, Sarah M.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc, eds. 2011.

Proceedings of the Second Conference on the Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire
Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-84. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 88-95.

Understanding Public Perspective of Wildfire Risk
Martin, Wade E.; Raish, Carol; Kent, Brian, eds. Wildfire risk, human perceptions, management implications. Washington, DC. Resources for the Future: 11-22. McCaffrey, S. 2008.

BMrelationships

Partnerships increase capacity. The problem of wildfire risk is far too large for any one person or organization to manage alone. Within this section we share some best practices, characteristics and examples of successful partnerships.

Community Mitigation Assistance Team
Huerfano County Assignment Report

 

Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships
Community Toolbox

CWPP

A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) identifies and prioritizes areas for hazardous fuel reduction treatments and recommends the types and methods of treatment on federal and non-federal land that will protect one or more at-risk communities and essential infrastructure and recommends measures to reduce structural ignitability throughout the at-risk community. (Source: National Wildfire Coordinating Group Glossary).

Mitfunding

Funding the work is often cited as the biggest barrier to mitigation; however, work can and should occur without funding.  Below are several resources that can help as you seek funding, implement projects with limited financial resources and seek to develop sustainably funded projects and programs.

Mitfunding

Funding the work is often cited as the biggest barrier to mitigation; however, work can and should occur without funding.  Below are several resources that can help as you seek funding, implement projects with limited financial resources and seek to develop sustainably funded projects and programs.

Mitigation activities on private property can and should occur with limited financial resources.

Property owners should take responsibility for mitigation actions on their own land.

Wildfire protection practitioners can recommend the following low or no cost activities to homeowners in their area:

  • Remove bark mulch, needles, and other flammable materials from within 5 feet of the home.
  • Regularly clear vegetation from the property. For example, keep grass and weeds cut within 100 feet of the home.
  • Remove pine needles and leaves from gutters, roofs, and decks.
  • Move firewood to at least 30 feet away from the home on the uphill side.
  • Use native stone in landscaping.

When planning larger mitigation activities, leverage available resources;

    1. Require cash investment from property owners (ensure they have “skin in the game”).
        1. In general, aim for at least 50% cash match of the total project cost, even if the grant only requires a 25% match. This stretches dollars and increases property owner or resident buy-in.
        2. In-kind match and volunteer resources (sweat equity)
          1. Require sweat equity work from property owners. 
          2. Have a process to track hours of volunteer time. Explain the importance of this information. If providing cost-share funding, require residents to track and submit in-kind hours.
          3. Develop a tracking system (consider an electronic input form) that gathers the following information:
            1. Date of work performed
            2. Hours worked 
            3. Name
            4. Address and contact information
            5. Activities completed
            6. Require a signature
    2. Develop sustainably funded programs and projects.
      1. Example: Creating a chipper program that is solely grant funded and does not included multi-year funding will limit the sustainability of the program. Free services can be very hard to maintain.
    3. Diversify funding to help build mitigation infrastructure. Seek funding for larger projects from various sources.
assessment

Home site visits are a one-on-one interactive opportunity between a community mitigation specialist and a property owner. They are critical to engaging property owners or residents in risk reduction activities on private property. Home site visits are often the first active step in moving property owners to take mitigation action.

assessment

Home site visits are a one-on-one interactive opportunity between a community mitigation specialist and a property owner. They are critical to engaging property owners or residents in risk reduction activities on private property. Home site visits are often the first active step in moving property owners to take mitigation action.

One-on-one comprehensive site visits with property owners are a best practice. They are important because they:

  • Identify specific vulnerabilities.
  • Guide residents’ risk reduction actions.
  • Help create relationships built on trust.
  • Highlight homeowner hesitancy and concerns.
  • Provide an opportunity to address barriers to action.
fuels treat

Description TBD

Wildland Urban Interface
Wildfire, Wildlands, and People

Successful Forest Restoration Treatments
4FRI
Ashland Forest Resiliency

Forestry Tools & Techniques
RX Fire Resource
Mastication

events

Mitigation events include chipper days, slash hauling, community cutting/thinning projects, general landscape clean-up days, creation of defensible space around a public structure or in a park, and many other activities. Mitigation events are a great way to motivate people to get involved and take action. They create results on-the-ground but also provide opportunities for “first contact” between mitigation specialists and residents who are not already engaged. Mitigation events need to happen all year long. Far too often we hear about a month or a day where everyone gets together to reduce risk. One day is a great start but it is not enough! Being prepared for a wildfire must be woven into the culture of your community. Much like mowing a yard or pulling weeds from the garden, wildfire mitigation activities and events should occur frequently.

progress

Description TBD

Volunteer Sign-In Sheets

Reporting Forms

Liability Waivers

National Awards & Nominations

BMrelationships
fuels treat

Wildland Urban Interface
Wildfire, Wildlands, and People
Forest Restorations

Successful Forest Restoration Treatments
4FRI
Ashland Forest Resiliency

Forestry Tools & Techniques
RX Fire Resource
Mastication

HIZ
assessment
events

Chipper Events
Mitigation Volunteer Events

Mitfunding

Available Funding
Funding Models