Let’s face it, when it comes to fire resilience in your community, fresh and innovative methods can be hard to come by. At Rapid City Fire Department, we have taken a unique approach to lessening the ever present danger that extreme wildfire behavior poses to our community. As outlined in a previous FAC Net blog post, we get the honor of working with military veterans (primarily from recent campaigns) to do fire mitigation work in our community. These veterans, in turn, receive a good paying wage while they are pursuing the education or training of their choice. The goal of the program is multifaceted, in that beyond wildfire mitigation, we aim to help these veterans transition between serving our country and participating in civilian life.
Numerically, the program is a huge success. We have treated 917 acres, protected 296 structures and received the 2015 Inaugural Wildfire Mitigation Innovationaward, a program jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Fire Protection Association and USDA Forest Service. However, many of the less measurable components—the relationships and opportunities— are the most remarkable and important components of its success. Among the benefactors is the Rapid City community, receiving both mitigation services and exposure to inspirational, perspective-shifting individuals. read more >>