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The Heat is On: The Fiery Future of the West

  • 06:00 PM
  • 970-476-0954

The Heat is On: The Fiery Future of the West

Environmental Awareness

With Doug Cupp, Bruce Evan Goldstein, Sarah McCaffrey and Schelly Olson


Edwards Interfaith Chapel and Community Center | Edwards

Wildfire-caused destruction in the United States has increased significantly since 2000. An average of 72,400 wildfires cleared an average of 7 million acres of U.S. land each year since 2000–double the number of acres scorched by wildfires in the 1990s. In 2015, the largest wildfire season recorded in U.S. history, wildfires burned more than 10 million acres of land.
As the western U.S. is expected to get hotter and drier with climate change, wildfire risk is generally expected to rise. At the same time, as the population increases and development encroaches into rural and wilderness areas, more homes and other structures will be at risk. 
This panel of experts will address several aspects of the wildfire question, including providing information about the Fire Learning Network (FLN), which coordinates fire restoration among a nationwide network of fire managers and describing the work of the Fire Adapted Community Learning Network (FAC Net), which enhances adaptive capacity within communities with high wildfire risk. 
Panelists will also discuss the strategic approach and courageous leadership required on many levels, including wildfire mitigation collaboration between industries, communities and government agencies, and provide an in-depth examination of three fires in 2018 where mitigation, response and collaboration was used for successful outcomes.  
Doug Cupp is Fire Chief for Greater Eagle Fire Protection District. His current projects include redeveloping the department’s wildland fire team and wildfire risk reduction programs. He is a member of Northwest Colorado Type 3 IMT and is an Operations Section Chief and Division Supervisor for the Upper Colorado River IMT. His district has become known as “Fire Adapted Eagle” and is one of the top five Ready, Set, Go! departments in the country. Cupp is an instructor for the National Fire Academy Wildfire Courses and speaks internationally on Strategic and Courageous Leadership in Chaotic Environments
Prior to coming to the Eagle Valley, Cupp’s work history includes serving as the Wildfire Specialist in Summit County for a decade, receiving the IAFC WUI Mitigation Award and engaging the High Park Fire months after becoming Wildfire Coordinator for the Poudre Fire Authority.  
Cupp has responded to some of the most catastrophic incidents including wildfires across the country including many of the Colorado fires: Lake Christine (El Jebel fire attack), Buffalo Fire, Golf Course Fire, High Park Fire, Fourmile Canyon Fire, Snaking Fire, Hayman Fire and dozens of other critical incidents. Cupp holds a master’s degree in Safety and Emergency Management with additional Graduate Certificates in Fire and Emergency Services Management and Organizational Leadership. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. 
Bruce Goldstein is Associate Professor in the Program in Environmental Design and the Program in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He examines how can communities combine forces to adapt to social and ecological challenges and  foster transformational change. He pursues this question through research partnerships with learning networks, which enable place-based learning and system-wide adaptation to innovate solutions that are site-specific and applicable network-wide. He partners with netweavers who are attempting to promote positive change across critical social and ecological thresholds. His research is qualitative and interpretive, and applies the principles of participatory action research.
Sarah McCaffrey is a Research Forester for the USDA Forest Service who has conducted research on the social aspects of fire management for the past 20 years.  This work has included projects examining risk perception, social acceptability of fuels treatments, incentives for creation and maintenance of defensible space, and social issues that occur during fires such as evacuation decision making and agency-community interaction during fires.
Schelly Olson is the Assistant Chief of Administration and Community Risk Reduction, a Wildland Fire Mitigation Specialist and Public Information Officer at Grand Fire Protection District No. 1 in Granby, Colorado. In 2013, Olson formed the Grand County Wildfire Council, which involved designing and maintaining, the website focused on “helping Grand County residents and visitors live and play more safely with the threat of wildfire.” Olson is the chairperson of this non-profit organization, working collaboratively with members from local, state, and federal government agencies; local fire departments; homeowner groups; businesses; and concerned citizens in promoting wildfire prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and survival through education and action. Olson enjoys assisting with wildland fire incidents, regional exercises and the wildfire academy incident management team as a PIO. She is enthusiastically meeting with homeowners groups and other community organizations to discuss how they can create fire adapted communities. Olson is honored to be on the board of Fire Adapted Colorado, not only to contribute to reducing the impact of wildfire on communities across Colorado, but to network with others to bring ideas and fire adapted learning back to Grand County. Olson lives in Grand Lake with her husband of 23 years and has two grown daughters.
This program is underwritten by Cordillera Cares
The Environmental Awareness Series is graciously underwritten by Holly & Buck Elliot and is presented in partnership with Walking Mountains Science Center

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