For Alpine Fire District Chief Mike Vogt the idea of wildfire is a scary one.
“I am very concerned about the risk of wildfire to the communities we protect,” said Vogt. “As communities expand into the wildland interface our exposure increases.”
According to Vogt, at this point an organized effort is needed to help mitigate the wildfire risks.
“The individual protection agencies working on all jurisdictions need to work together very effectively to mitigate this risk,” he said. “We recently formed the Alpine Area Wildfire Protection Coalition to combine and coordinate our efforts.”
According to Vogt, one of the first actions undertaken by the Coalition was to engage a Community Mitigation Assistance Team.
Community Mitigation Assistance Teams, funded by the U.S. Forest Service, help communities “build sustainable local capacity for wildfire mitigation.”
The teams are made up of 10 to 15 people and include wildfire mitigation practitioners as well as individuals with backgrounds and skills in the areas of public information, forestry, fuels, and firefighting.
The Alpine Area Wildfire Protection Coalition has tasked the CMAT with:
• reviewing and evaluating the Alpine Fire District’s existing wildfire mitigation program,
• and subsequently, making recommendations on ways the Alpine Area Wildfire Protection Coalition can continue moving forward with their mitigation efforts.
“The goal of CMAT is not to create a new burden of work, but rather, to help the community identify ways they can work together better to become a more prepared and more resilient community,” said Jon Bruno, team leader.
According to information provided by the Alpine Fire District, CMAT “does not come with money but they do come with a collection of best mitigation practices from across the country.”
Monday, October 21 the CMAT received an in-briefing from the Alpine Area Wildfire Protection Coalition partners.
Wednesday, October 23 the CMAT hosted a workshop for local, state, county, and federal partners, and other community leaders.
According to Vogt, the workshop will help to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and “will provide CMAT and the community a collective understanding of what’s working and what’s not.”
“It is also the first step towards creating and strengthening relationships in the community,” said Bruno
Following the workshop, the CMAT will spend another week in the Alpine area conducting some one-on-one interviews and developing its recommendations.
“Our goal is not to just make a list of recommendations and leave town,” said Bruno. “We have a continued commitment to be available for the community.”