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Forest & Fire Learning Series: Adapting to the Unprecedented

April 15, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Adapting to the Unprecedented

For our 3rd evening, Emily Hohman will be explaining how 2020 was a challenging fire year across the US, with significant wildfire impacts and reductions in prescribed fire activity in some regions. Despite these challenges, many prescribed fire practitioners successfully worked with their communities and collaboratives to innovate solutions and put good, beneficial fire on the ground. Emily will look back at lessons learned and key successes from across the US Fire Learning Network before we look forward at strategies for success in 2021, including the on-going prescribed fire partnership with the San Juan National Forest. Lo Williams will follow up with a conversation about the challenges and successes of 2020 brought to the San Juan National Forest (SJNF). These include human impacts due to increased use of national lands as well as project accomplishment thanks to innovative strategies, strong community engagement, and support from local collaboratives. With lessons learned from 2020, Lo will share the foundations that were laid this past winter to prepare for the 2021 field season and how the SJNF and its partners are planning for the future.


• Emily Hohman: Fire Learning Network Manager, North America Fire, The Nature Conservancy

• Lo Williams: Partnership and Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Forest Service

Livestream on Mountain Studies Institute YouTube page and Facebook at 6pm.

More about the series:

Since 2017, the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado have experienced exceptional drought and fire alongside record snowpack and swollen rivers. In response to community concerns regarding these climatic fluctuations across our landscape, MSI and partners began the Forest & Fire Learning Series in the spring of 2018. For the past three years, this lecture series has offered information and resources to how we, as a community, can better understand and approach local climatic changes using the best available science and landscape expertise to promote both ecological and community resilience.

There are many increasingly relevant conversations to address, one of which is the context of historical fire regimes – though 2021 may not prove to be an intense fire year, impacts from climate change suggest that fire events with increased frequency will occur. As our community continues to experience the fluctuations in climatic extremes alongside the consequences of more than a century of wildfire suppression throughout the West, we must discuss what it means to cultivate community resilience within the context of the forest ecology of the San Juan Mountains, historical fire regimes, and societal relationships to wildfire. The relationships and responses people have to wildfire can be complex and multi-faceted, which is why MSI aims to include what varying areas of science have to say about fire, forests, and community resilience.

To continue exploring these ideas, MSI is preparing for its 4th annual Forest & Fire Learning Series with the intent to educate and engage our community. This livestream e-vent will feature a Q&A session following presentations that cover topics of fire adapted communities, the connection between wildfires and water, adaptations to COVID19, wildfire smoke and air quality, local seasonal outlooks for 2021, and personal stories of living with fire. Because engagement with a virtual audience is important, interactive questions will be posed throughout the event to encourage a sense of connection and better understand how to reach community members online. Analytics resulting from these questions and the e-vent as a whole will be drafted in a 1-2 page document and shared with partners, sponsors, and local government officials, and posted to MSI’s website.

We invite you to join the conversation, ask questions, and help to inform a community approach to living with fire.


April 15, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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