On Wednesday this past week, Gary Marshall and I presented at the Division of Forestry Fall Fire Review at the interestingly located Lands End Hotel in Homer, Alaska. Arlene Weber-Sword, the state Firewise liaison introduced Gary and me to more than 60 state forestry officials who were attending the meeting from all over Alaska.
I kicked off the meeting with a presentation on the Fire Adapted Communities initiative and how Firewise fits within and relates to this formative coalition. Gary went on to give a very interesting Firewise Communities/USA® presentation where he drew on his professional experiences as a former Fire Marshal for the city of Bend, Oregon. I also had the opportunity to share a little bit about the recent WUI regulatory study that was completed by the Fire Protection Research Foundation this past year.
Through the rest of the day we participated and learned about the operational and reporting fire activities of this past fire season and learned about some of the new aviation technologies they are hoping to deploy this next season. Interestingly the past fire season in Alaska was an atypical year, in the sense that the majority of the fires occurred in the month of June versus May when traditionally most of the fires occur. The season was considered a mild year with less than 300,000 acres on lands that the state has jurisdiction burned.