By Kara Baylog, Citizen Fire Academy/Forestry Education Program Asst II, Oregon State University Extension Service

Earlier this year, the Citizen Fire Academy (CFA): Curriculum Package for Facilitators and Educators was published out of Oregon State University.  CFA programs are designed to help participants understand the risks of living in a fire environment, instill a sense of responsibility on their part to prepare for wildfire, and inspire landowners and members of the community to take action.  Participants take the knowledge they learn through the program and are able to apply it directly to their properties and engage with their neighbors and communities to effect landscape-wide fire resilience.  In short, CFA promotes Fire Adapted Communities.

Graduates from the full CFA program have gone on to develop Firewise Communities in their neighborhoods, implement their wildfire preparedness plans, conduct home assessments for their neighbors, and  get involved with additional educational opportunities.

The core of the curriculum touches on five modules: Fire Science, Living in a Fire Environment, Home Protection Strategies, Fuel Reduction Strategies, and Effective Volunteering, their accompanying field tours and the Wildfire Preparedness Plan participants will work on throughout the program.  The program can be delivered in a traditional in-class format, or as a hybrid, online + field tour format, and can be run as the full 6-8 week program, or done as isolated, one-off classes.  With the published curriculum, lesson plans, background resources, template presentations, field tour guides and instructions on how to utilize the online material are freely available to anyone interested.

Contact Kara Baylog for more information at Kara.Baylog@oregonstate.edu.

Editor’s note: While developed in Oregon, this curriculum can be adapted for any region or landscape, and could include the addition of new modules (such as a focus on prescribed burning).