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Jonathan Bruno
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NRFSN number: 18279
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As fre professionals, we talk about suppression tactics, aircraft, and the armies of fearless men and women who risk their lives to save homes and lives. We hear citizens, elected offcials, and the media making broad statements like “This was a once-in-alifetime event” or “We have never seen anything like this before and it will never happen again.” Yet every year, we bear witness to more fres that seem different, bigger, and more disastrous than the fres last year or the year before. We see millions of acres burned, hundreds or thousands of homes destroyed, and more lives lost. We know that if we do not act, then the downward spiral of destruction will continue unchecked, our forests (and the ecosystem services they deliver) will disappear, and our communities will suffer. As the fre world grasps for understanding and answers, local place-based organizations are grappling with this new reality too. Firefghters have partners—from local fre districts, to nonproft watershed groups, to forest collaboratives—who are stepping up to work for a more resilient landscape where local people lessen fres’ impacts through strategic and thoughtful actions. The Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) is one of these placebased groups. CUSP has conducted years of successful postfre restoration work following large fres along Colorado’s Front Range (such as Buffalo Creek, Hayman, and Waldo) and years of fuel reduction and wildfre preemptive work. As recognition of CUSP’s work grew, various partners sought its expertise and encouraged CUSP to broaden its reach and share its knowledge at the national level. In 2014, the managers of CUSP formed Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc. (COCO), a nonproft organization based in central Colorado. This story is about CUSP, COCO, and my own journey to become a national resource for wildfre risk reduction. It is intended to highlight what can work.


Bruno J. 2018. Wildfire risk mitigation: Local solutions to a national problem. Fire Management Today 76 (4): 7-12.