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Wildland fire management in the US is complex and nuanced across federal, state, and local levels, but primary objectives are similar across the map: we must restore and maintain landscapes that are resilient to fire-related disturbances, human populations and infrastructure must become fire-adapted in order to withstand wildfire impacts, and wildfire response must be based on implementing safe, effective, and efficient risk-based management decisions. This presentation will explore some of the nuances of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy; opportunities, challenges, and limitations of policy implementation, governance, and wildland fire response in California; and, some of the ways local Bay Area communities are forming a stewardship and tending culture (through ecologically applied prescribed burning and fire management) for a more resilient future.
Sasha Berleman, PhD | Director of Fire Forward at the non-profit nature conservation organization Audubon Canyon Ranch
Sasha Berleman, Director of ACR’s Fire Forward program, is working to lead a change in the way we live with fire in the Bay Area. With her team, Sasha plans and organizes cooperative controlled burns and leads community efforts around fire management. Sasha earned her doctorate in wildland fire science from University of California at Berkeley focusing on prescribed fire use for restoration of ecosystem health. She is a CA State Certified Burn Boss, a Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) coach and leader, and a wildland firefighter with Fire Effects Monitoring, Squad Boss, Crew Boss, Firing Boss, and Incident Commander qualifications.
Shawna recently retired as the National Director of Fire and Aviation for the United States Forest Service, having spent 31 years working for the federal government in fire and aviation management. Prior to her position in Washington DC, she was the Regional Fire and Aviation Director for the Forest Service in California. In addition to her fire experience, she worked at the World Trade Center 9/11 recovery efforts, Hurricane Rita and the Greensburg Tornado. She has also traveled internationally to the recent fires in Australia, Brazil and Mexico. Shawna has a Doctorate in Psychology, a Master of Science in Kinesiology and a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Physiology and Teaching.
Sam has 30+ years of wildfire management experience with the US Forest Service and Department of Interior – Bureau of Land Management and recently retired as the Bureau of Land Management/California State Fire Management Officer. In that position, Sam managed, directed and provided top-level leadership to the statewide Wildland Fire and Aviation Management program, State Telecommunications program, Prevention/Mitigation Education, fire preparedness, fire suppression and post suppression activities throughout the state. With many years as a member of the FIRESCOPE Board of Directors, member of the California Wildland Fire Coordination Group (CWCG), member of National Fire Leadership Team, and member of State Leadership Team, Sam provided oversight, consultation and authoritative expert guidance to all 11 California Incident Management Teams (IMTs) during fire seasons throughout the U.S.