‘Seeding Success’: Cross-generational and multi-cultural relationships

Provided image/Oscar Romero

Provided image/Oscar Romero


This is the seventh of a series of seven stories featured ahead of the seventh annual NCW Community Success Summit, which IRIS (Initiative for Rural Innovation & Stewardship) is convening in Quincy on Nov. 15. This year’s event, “Seeding Success, Growing ONE Community,” will celebrate stories about our environment, community, and economy that are helping to connect and strengthen our region. Each story will focus on one of seven different themes IRIS is using to highlight successes. For more information about the summit, to register, sample more stories and submit a story, visit www.irisncw.org.

Provided photo

Provided photo


Cascadia’s Firewise Program

Contact: Amanda L. Newell

What is the situation?

Overstocked forests, several summers with multiple wildfires, and interest from the community in making their homes and neighborhoods more resilient to wildfire has increased demand for the Firewise program that Cascadia Conservation District is implementing in Chelan County with support from the WA Conservation Commission. The District works with the community to identify priority treatment areas and then to deliver services within those priority areas that are designed to reduce the threat and intensity of wildfire on private lands.

What is the challenge? 

At first the challenge was promoting these cost-share programs and helping people to understand the benefits and the costs of making their homes more defensible from wildfire.

What are the key activities?

In our first year, we have focused on the Methow Valley in partnership with the Methow Valley Long Term Recovery Group. Activities we’ve completed to date:

* Home fire risk assessments bring Cascadia Conservation District staff and landowners together to analyze the fire-vulnerable parts of the landowner’s property. Cascadia staff then offer advice to the landowners about what they can do to make their property more defensible from wildfire.

* With chipping programs the landowners take responsibility for limbing and clearing flammable organic material on their property and stacking it for the chipping crew. Then the crew comes through and chips all the material for free.

* Cascadia’s cost-share program for fuels reduction and forest health practices pays up to 75% of the cost of the project. Landowners can contribute their portion with cash or sweat equity. This is a great way for landowners to get professional assistance at a fraction of the cost.

* The nationally recognized Firewise Communities program brings landowners together to make their communities and neighborhoods more resilient to wildfire. The program also provides special funding opportunities only available to recognized Firewise Communities. Cascadia Conservation District is also able to help communities through this application process for free.

What is the successful outcome? 

Firewise is providing consistent programs that help landowners take an active role in managing their lands for wildfire risk. Cascadia Conservation District provides home fire risk assessments to 100+ landowners per year and the chipping program to about 150 landowners each spring and fall. We are also working to get about a dozen communities certified as Firewise Communities. See cascadiacd.org for more information.

Amanda L. Newell may be reached at amandal@cascadiacd.org.