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Living With Fire Podcast

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Wildfire is a major ecological issue, especially in the Western United States. On the Living With Fire podcast, you'll hear perspectives and stories from land managers, scientists, fire professionals and community members about the history of fire, how fire is currently managed in the landscape and the role that humans play in living more safely with wildfire. This podcast was funded by the Bureau of Land Management - Nevada State Office. The Living With Fire Program is a multiagency effort and is managed by the University of Nevada, Reno Extension. An EEO/AA institution.


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Wildfire is a major ecological issue, especially in the Western United States. On the Living With Fire podcast, you'll hear perspectives and stories from land managers, scientists, fire professionals and community members about the history of fire, how fire is currently managed in the landscape and the role that humans play in living more safely with wildfire. This podcast was funded by the Bureau of Land Management - Nevada State Office. The Living With Fire Program is a multiagency effort and is managed by the University of Nevada, Reno Extension. An EEO/AA institution.








Wildfire & the Whole Community

Key topics: In the Episode: In the latest episode of the Living With Fire Podcast titled "Wildfire & the Whole Community," host Megan Kay and Living With Fire Manager Jamie Roice-Gomes delve into the critical need for inclusivity and accessibility in disaster preparedness. Expert guests Heather Lafferty and Kimberly Palma-Ortega shed light on the challenges faced by individuals with Access and Functional Needs (AFN) during emergencies and the necessary steps to ensure their safety and well-being. Drawing from real-world examples, Lafferty and Palma-Ortega describe the complex challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and those who have AFN during disasters. They also underscore the substantial disparity in outcomes between those with disabilities and those without. For example, Lafferty explains that 70% of deaf people who are evacuated during a disaster reported living in unsanitary conditions a month after the disaster as opposed to just 7% of individuals who are not deaf. Lafferty, the Coordinator for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as well as AFN at the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, points out that even though only 28% of Nevadans identify themselves as having a disability, a considerably broader demographic – roughly 67-70% of the state's population – have varying levels of AFN. Lafferty emphasizes that as a result, "a significant portion of Nevada's population is in danger of facing these challenges, limitations, and hurdles during a disaster." Palma-Ortega serves as a Public Health Liaison at the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. She emphasizes that in order to improve outcomes for people with disabilities and access and functional needs, emergency managers must incorporate accessibility from the outset when designing programs and systems, rather than treating accessibility as an afterthought. “Instead of making [accessibility] an add-on, put it as a build-on,” Palma-Ortega explains. In Nevada, collaborative efforts are addressing disparities in outcomes for those with disabilities and access needs after disasters. Among the initiatives recently launched is the Nevada Access and Functional Needs Disaster Coalition, a comprehensive workgroup encompassing government organizations, NGOs, private industry, and disability community partners. Their efforts focus on inclusive planning alongside the disability community, shifting from designing for them to designing with them. Resources: Emergency Response for People Who Have Access and Functional Needs: A Guide for First RespondersHealth Information BindersLiving With Fire Evacuation Checklist


Predicting Fire in the Great Basin

With a winter characterized by substantial precipitation and robust vegetation growth in the Great Basin, many are curious about the implications for the upcoming fire year. On Episode 13 of the Living With Fire Podcast, Christina Restaino, Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, engaged in a discussion with Joe Smith, a research scientist at the University of Montana, and Jeremy Maestas from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, about the connection between rain, snow, and fire risk in the Great Basin. Smith and Maestas are part of a team of researchers who have developed a new tool to predict wildfire probability in the Great Basin. This tool incorporates historical data and current conditions to provide fire probability maps, offering valuable insights for Land Managers in the region. Maestas highlighted the impact of the increased vegetation growth, explaining, “All this growing vegetation production is going to build up out there and there's no amount of livestock and insects in the world that are going to eat it all. So, it'll build up on the landscape and probably show up next year in the fire probability maps." Discussing the natural wet and dry cycles that characterize the Great Basin, Maestas and Smith shared their findings. Smith's research, based on 32 years of data, shed light on the implications of these patterns for potential fires. "We should be particularly concerned when transitioning from a wet cycle to a dry one," Smith advised. What does all this mean for Great Basin residents? Restaino suggested a proactive approach, emphasizing the importance of creating defensible spaces around homes and collaborating with the community. This preparation will help residents stay vigilant in the face of potential fire risks in the coming year. Resources: · Great Basin rangeland fire probability tool · A Homeowner’s Guide to Cheatgrass · Be Careful! Cheatgrass is extremely flammable! · Fire Adapted Communities: The Next Step in Wildfire Preparedness


Eco-Anxiety & Wildfire

Wildfire is a vital ecological process, but it can be dangerous. It’s also a tangible reminder of how our climate is changing around us. Therefore, living in areas impacted by wildfire can be stressful on many levels, and individuals may experience eco-anxiety – or even eco-grief – in response. On the latest episode of the Living With Fire Podcast, guest Caitlyn Wallace, LCSW, unpacks these terms and talks about ways to address feelings about wildfire and climate change. According to Wallace, “Eco-anxiety is the anxiousness and the worry about the changing climate and what might happen. And eco-grief is the sadness and grief at the loss of life – human, animal and plant life – that you anticipate to come.” Wallace, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist in Northern Nevada, specializes in perinatal mental health and the emerging field of climate-informed therapy. She treats patients experiencing pregnancy, postpartum depression and anxiety, infertility, grief and loss. Wallace explained that some of her clients were also experiencing eco-anxiety and eco-grief. “I started noticing in some of my clients this grief and guilt around – I work so hard for this baby, I tried so hard for this baby. The baby is here. And now I am guilty and ashamed because there’s a pandemic, there’s smoke, there’s this warming climate and we’re in a huge drought. What did I do? Why did I bring a baby into this world?” said Wallace. On the podcast, Wallace explained that anxiety and grief show up differently for everyone. Therefore, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for dealing with eco-anxiety and grief. However, she emphasized the importance of acknowledging feelings and experiences. “I think that a big thing is being able to name it and being able to talk about it. Yeah, we know enough to know that for a lot of these things. Specifically, depression, anxiety, that being able to talk about your feelings around them gets you out of a fight-or-flight reactive place and into a place where you can be more responsive.” Wallace speaks about the benefits of finding a space to talk about the feelings of eco-anxiety, such as a Climate Café modeled after Death Cafés. According to the Climate Psychology Alliance of North America, a Climate Café is “an informal, open, respectful, confidential space to safely share emotional responses and reactions related to the climate and environmental emergency.” Wallace is one of the only climate-informed therapists in Northern Nevada and has started hosting free Climate Cafés in Reno, which you can read about in Our Town Reno. And, to learn more about eco-anxiety, check out Wallace’s suggested reading list below: A Guide to Eco-Anxiety: How to Protect the Planet and Your Mental HealthGeneration DreadTurn the Tide on Climate Anxiety: Sustainable Action for Your Mental Health and the PlanetEarth Emotions: New Words for a New World,


Trauma-Informed Communication About Wildfire

As a program coordinator for Oregon State University Extension's Natural Resources Education Program, Yasmeen Hossain, Ph.D. supports educators by providing educational resources in environmental education. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and destructive wildfires have been impacting the lives of many in the west, including students. Consequently, Hossain noticed that the educators she worked with were asking for tools and resources to help support students who may have personal experiences with these potentially traumatic events. To fill this need, in 2021 Hossain published the Trauma-Informed Toolkit. A Resource for Educators. “I kept wanting to have some kind of written document, like a resource document that I could give them before the workshop, or that they could come back to after a workshop. And I couldn't find one that encompassed everything I wanted them to have at their fingertips. And so at some point, I was like, Well, I guess I just got to write it myself,” said Hossain. Wildfire can be very stressful, and it’s possible for children and adults to experience a trauma response related to wildfire, for a variety of reasons as Hossian explains. “So the topic of fire wildfire it is has a lot of potential to activate our nervous system to again create that overwhelming out of control feeling that we might have. And the reason for that is because of the magnitude and the impact that it can have on our lives.” Hossain emphasizes that when someone is experiencing a trauma response, especially a child, it is more important to help them manage their stress than to try and explain why it is happening. “So really knowing about and utilizing tools and strategies and information to help them balance their nervous system again, and boost their resilience.” To learn more, check out the resources below: · Trauma-Informed Toolkit · Wildfire Evacuation Checklist · Living With Fire


Smoke & Water

Wildfire smoke can seriously impact humans' health, but scientists have discovered that it can also affect the health of ecosystems. On the Living With Fire Podcast, Professor Sudeep Chandra, director of the Global Water Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, talks about how scientists have been working to understand these impacts on Lake Tahoe's aquatic ecosystem. Stakeholders in the Tahoe Basin have been working for decades to “Keep Tahoe Blue,” and have been trying to control algae growth in the lake. Chandra explains that one direct effect wildfire smoke can potentially have on the lake is stimulating algae growth. "So just like Miracle-Gro has a nice combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to grow our garden plants, it turns out smoke has a ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus. Sometimes it's optimal, and sometimes it's not," explains Chandra. In addition to providing nutrients for fertilizing algae, Chandra explains that smoke can also affect the amount of light hitting the lake, potentially reducing the amount of ultraviolet light, which kills algae cells. With wildfires occurring more frequently and becoming more intense, Assistant Professor Christina Restaino, director of the Living With Fire program, explained what it's like for scientists working in fire right now. "We're entering this new era of no analog experiences, where these ecosystems are experiencing this smoke every single year or fire every single year. We don't have an analog from the past to understand that. So yeah, it's exciting, and it's really unknown." To learn more, check out the resources below: Caldor Fire impact on Lake Tahoe’s clarity, ecology studied amidst ongoing wildfire seasonGlobal Water CenterLiving With Fire


Season 2 Preview

We're excited to bring you Season 2 of the Living With Fire Podcast. Here's a little preview of what to expect.


Chief Clive Savacool on the Caldor Fire Evacuation

On August 3, 2021 the City of South Lake Tahoe’s city council approved their new wildfire evacuation plan. Clive Savacool, Fire Chief with South Lake Tahoe Fire and Rescue, led the effort to draft the new plan, not knowing that it would be put into action for real a few weeks later when the Caldor Fire would threaten South Lake Tahoe. On Episode 9 of the Living With Fire Podcast, Chief Savacool talks about writing and executing the evacuation plan. "When I was putting it together with help from others, I honestly never envisioned putting it into play on my own, during my career," Savacool explains. But, on August 30, 2021 at 10:59 am, the very active Caldor Fire was spreading toward South Lake Tahoe. As a result, agencies began evacuating people. About 22,000 people were issued evacuation orders and told to leave their homes. Later that night, the Caldor Fire crossed Echo Summit and entered Christmas Valley, a secluded community about 10 miles away from South Lake Tahoe. Amanda Milici, the Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities coordinator, lives in Christmas Valley. Milici described how she and her partner were evacuated twice, first, to her partners' parents' home in South Lake Tahoe, where they were required to evacuate again, less than 24 hours later. "We kind of thought we would at least have a couple days there, you know? We had no idea how fast the fire was moving, and then the next morning, probably just like 12 hours later, we evacuated from the city." Milici explains. The Caldor Fire evacuation was a massive operation. Chief Savacool described some of the challenges involved in such an effort and how agencies in Tahoe worked together to make it happen. “We all recognize that we can't handle a major incident our own and we recognize that the community is what matters. And so we have to make sure we're doing right by them versus our own interests,” said Savacool. Funding for this podcast was provided by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1994 in cooperation with the Tahoe RCD & University of Nevada, Reno Extension, an EEO/AA Institution.


Christmas Tree Cutting

Cutting your own Christmas tree is more than a fun way to get outdoors and create lasting memories. On the latest episode of the Living With Fire Podcast, we cover the ins and outs of cutting your own Christmas tree with Jennifer Diamond, Fire Mitigation Specialist with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Carson City District, and Tessa Putz with the University of Nevada, Reno Extension. They explain how cutting your own Christmas tree can help restore Nevada's rangelands and thin-out overgrown landscapes, reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfire. Diamond also shares how to get your permit, what the rules are and some tips for cutting your tree on BLM lands in Nevada. Learn more below.


August Isernhagen: A Perspective on Wildland Firefighting

We interviewed August Isernhagen, Division Chief of Wildland Fuels with Truckee Meadows Fire and Rescue, about his career as a wildland firefighter. Isernhagen shares some highlights and challenges he's experienced along the way, as well as some tips for residents, if they ever come in contact with wildland firefighters. "Approach them as a trained professional. This is what they chose to do as their trade and show them that respect, in their expertise, for what they know," said Isernhagen.


Regime Change: History of Fire Ecology in Nevada

From the Ponderosa Pine-covered mountains in the Great Basin to the arid Mojave Desert and all the sagebrush and grass in between, Nevada’s ecosystems are diverse and fire behaves differently across these regions, both historically and today. The guests on the latest episode of the Living With Fire Podcast “Regime Change: History of fire ecology in Nevada,” explain why fire is an important process in Nevada, how scientists study fire, and why understanding the history of fire can give scientists and land managers useful clues to help them manage landscapes today. Guests: Alexandra UrzaStanley G. KitchenMatthew Brooks


A Necessary Disturbance: Cultural Fire on Washoe Tribal Lands in Lake Tahoe

For centuries, the Washoe Tribe migrated seasonally between the Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe. Their presence on the land and cultural practices helped mitigate wildfire risk, as well as enhance wildlife and resilience to drought. We interviewed Rhiana Jones, Interim Director of the Washoe Environmental Protection Department, and Washoe Tribal Council member Helen Fillmore. They helped to shed light on how the forced removal of Washoe people and their practices from the land has impacted ecosystems. They also discussed how the MÁYALA WÁTA Restoration Project aims to restore and preserve Meeks Meadow by integrating traditional knowledge and culturally guided burning practices into current land management strategies.


Home on the Rangelands: Stories about Living and Working with Fire in Nevada

Perspectives on what life is like in some of Nevada’s high fire hazard areas. Featuring interviews with Jon Griggs, ranch manager at Maggie Creek Ranch in Elko, Nevada; and Jole Rector and Todd Ballowe, Washoe County residents living in a high fire hazard area.


Managing Fire in Nevada

Host Megan Kay talks with Gwen Sanchez, Fire Management Officer with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and Paul Peterson, the Nevada State Fire Management Officer with the Bureau of Land Management about managing fire in Nevada. They explain how agencies work together throughout the state to respond to fire, restore landscapes and mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfire.


How did we get here? History of Wildfire in Nevada

Brad Schultz, professor and Humboldt County Extension educator, discusses the role of fire in Nevada, historically. As an expert in rangeland management, he has looked at wildfire from a “big picture” perspective across the state and across the West.


Living With Fire

Members of the Living With Fire program’s growing team give their perspective on what it means to “live with fire,” and talk about how they are continuing the program’s mission in new and innovative ways.


Welcome to the Living With Fire Podcast