Topic: Wildfire

FPE Balingup expo 2017 via Peta Townsing

Prep Day sees its global reach in Western Australia

While May 6 ended with 2017 National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day events in Hawaii, it began in the Western Australia town of Balingup, as their fire station hosted their first Fire Protection Expo in conjunction with the day. I caught up with Peta Townsing, expo coordinator and lead for the grassroots Firewise W Australia group, about the expo. Peta shared that, “All sorts of activities took place. We had fire drills by local primary school children, displays, talks on prescribed burning and landscaping for bushfire, demonstrations of using fire extinguishers, a short excursion to some nearby bush to point out how to undertake winter burning, and lots more…” Peta explained to me that, “Balingup is one of a number of small towns in the South West of Western Australia. We have a Mediterranean climate with long hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. It was still dry when we held the Expo so we had to be careful with fires - though at least we did have plenty of firefighting equipment at hand! Most of the South West is bushfire prone.” Turnout was strong for the event, especially amongst new residents. Peta highlighted that, “At the talks we had 40 to 50 people attend with additional people coming and going through the afternoon….some, I know, were recently arrived in the area and were very keen to know more about what they could do to reduce their fire risk, so it was good to see them.” Whether in your own community, or around the world, events like these help to build resident understanding of the wildfire risk, bring neighbors together, and show the positive role they can play in preparedness. We applaud the work of the Balingup Bush Fire Brigade, Firewise W Australia, and the residents of Balingup who are not only learning how to reduce their risks to wildfire, but making a difference in their community.   You can see additional pictures from the event on their Facebook page. Photo Credits: Fire Protection Expo - Balingup - Home | Facebook  
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2017051195084055 - May 2017
Cathy Prudhomme colorado springs tour, 7.13.03 high res

Remembering Christina Randall: a leader in wildfire mitigation

On Monday morning, I learned some news that shocked me and shook me to the core. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) reported that a leader in the wildfire safety world, Christina Randall, the Wildfire Mitigation Administrator for the Colorado Springs Fire Department, had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly while attending IAFC's WUI 2017 Conference in Reno, Nevada. Knowing Christina personally and professionally, I felt devastated. As I started to think about the ripple effect of her sudden absence, my sadness grew, but also my recognition of the many contributions she has made, locally and nationally, to wildfire safety. As part of a 33-year career in the fire service, she worked for a decade alongside my NFPA colleague and Firewise program manager Cathy Prudhomme when they were both part of the Colorado Springs Wildland Risk Section. She contributed tremendous amounts of time following the Waldo Canyon fire on a joint project with the Fire Adapted Communities Coalition to develop a lessons learned document and video. She personally worked with nearly 30 Firewise Community sites within the CSFD jurisdiction over the past several years, helping these small subdivisions earn Firewise recognition status and maintain their required activity and paperwork. Most recently, she served on the International Association of Fire Chiefs Wildland Fire Policy Committee, and she chaired the NWCG Wildland Urban Interface Mitigation Committee. Christina was smart, incredibly hard-working, and had a kind and calm personality. She didn't seek the limelight, and could sometimes appear to be a bit shy, but she stepped up and made public presentations to further the mission of wildfire safety at such venues as NFPA's Backyards & Beyond conference and NFPA's annual Conference & Expo. She was a leader who did her most important work not in front of a camera or up on a podium, but right alongside the people who dealt day-to-day with the risk of wildfire on the landscape. According to her closest colleagues, she was known as a fierce advocate for the wildfire safety mission, a mentor and a friend. All those of us who had an opportunity to work with Christina remember her kindness, her great smile and sunny attitude, and her unflagging support for community residents working to be safer from wildfire. Our hearts go out to her family and friends, her colleagues at the Colorado Springs Fire Department, and her wider wildfire family around the country. Photo from my 2003 visit to Colorado Springs with the CSFD Wildfire Mitigation Team: Christina Randall, Bill Mills, Cathy Prudhomme.
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