As Fires Rage, Media Invited to Fire Adapted Communities Field Trip

See high-risk neighborhood, thinning & flood rehabilitation areas

Colorado Springs, CO | June 05, 2014

As wildfires burn across the West, learning how to live with fire is a critical asset for every community and that is the focus of the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network Workshop – including field trip – in Colorado Springs on June 3-5. Experts from around the nation will share and learn best practices for helping homeowners and communities that are at high risk prepare for inevitable fires at the event hosted by the Coalition for the Upper South Platte

In Colorado, 1.5 million acres of the six million that are at risk for unnaturally large and damaging wildfires are in the heavily populated Front Range. In the last two years, lives were lost, 1,200 homes were destroyed and nearly 400,000 acres burned in Colorado wildfires. 

“The Nature Conservancy and many partners work to thin our forests and implement controlled burns that will make them healthier, but that’s only part of the solution,” says Paige Lewis, the Conservancy in Colorado’s forest expert. “That’s why we need communities to step up to the plate and prepare to live with fire.” 

A Fire Adapted Community addresses its wildfire risk and takes proactive steps to protect people and homes. “There are so many things we can do to prevent the tragic losses we’ve seen in recent years,” says Carol Ekarius, executive director for the Coalition for the Upper South Platte. “The tools range from developing wildfire protection plans to using fire-resistant building materials, to removing flammable vegetation from your yard and supporting a neighborhood tree thinning effort. Engaging more communities is a priority for us.” 

Frank Riley is the Executive Director of the Chestatee/Chattahoochee Resource, Conservation and Development Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving their community. Riley is traveling 1,200 miles from Hiawasee, Georgia to Colorado to bring back tools that will help protect his family, friends and neighbors. 

“As a volunteer firefighter, I saw firsthand the devastation high severity wildfires can have on communities,” says Frank Riley. “It’s tragic to see people lose their homes. I want to do everything I can to prevent that from happening in my neighborhood.” 

Media are invited to attend some or all of the field trip scheduled on Thursday, June 5. If you plan to join the tour, please RSVP to Tracey Stone by emailing 

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Tracey Stone
The Nature Conservancy in Colorado


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