Planting a Fire Wise Landscape, Ken Lain

Getting back-to-nature, seeking solitude, escaping the rat race are all good reasons to live near the forest. Locally we call this the urban-wildland interface. With the woodland lifestyle comes risk. One of the primary hazards is the danger of wildfire. You can have a beautiful landscape and be firewise with a little cleanup and planting firewise plants. More

A Low Maintenance Landscape for the Southwest, Ken Lain

In today's busy, digitally connected world, who has time to slave behind a mower, hedge trimmer, or hose? It is possible to have a beautiful landscape that proclaims style and elegance without all the time and work, or heavy expense of a weekly gardener. This book sets the stage for a water bill that drops in half and cuts the weekend time tending to lawn and plants. By choosing the right plants and setting up a micro-drip irrigation system you can work with the environment instead of against it. You’ll get an easy-to-maintain yard with so much flowering color your house will set the bar in the neighborhood. It doesn't take much, but you will need to up your garden know-how with a few of these tips, tricks, and techniques that move you into the digital garden age of irrigation, computerized clocks and values, and the lowest care plants needed to pull it all off. More

Are Pine Needles Bad for our Gardens, Ken Lain

Are pine needles good or bad for our gardens? After reading this column you just may want to strike a deal with a friend who owns several large pine trees. More

Climate Change and the Future of Severe Wildfires

Do trends in climate influence increase in high-severity wildfire in the SW US from 1984 to 2015? Check out this webinar from Southwest Fire Science Consortium at Northern Arizona University:

Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network:

Stop Focusing on Ignitions and Start Investing in a Prescribed Fire Workforce


Imagine if for every dollar we spent on wildfire suppression, we spent one on prescribed fire.

The way a fire burns isn’t always dictated by how it starts. Forests and grasslands don’t burn at extreme intensities, destroy homes, kill people, and denude entire ecosystems because of a downed power line, a person with a campfire, or a National Park that chooses to manage a lightning strike for resource benefit. You could bury every power line — or shut down the entire grid — and still not solve our wildfire problem.

The intensity of a fire depends on numerous variables, including wind, slope and fuel. Ignition sources don’t give us the full picture as to why a fire burns the way it does. In many cases, unfavorable wildfire outcomes are happening in places that have had so little fire that the fuel beds are simply too great to keep a new wildfire low and cool. Read More.


Fire Adaptive Communities Learning Network

The Fire Adaptive Communities Learning Network works with communities across the nation to create a more wildfire-resilient future. A “fire adapted community” consists of informed and prepared citizens collaboratively planning and taking action to safely co-exist with wildland fire. Learn more at

Firewise Landscaping

Watters Garden Center YouTube defensive Space Video Lectures
Published on Jun 21, 2018

  • Weed Control
    In this segment, Ken Lain introduces the 6 keys to a Firewise Landscape and discusses the most important thing we can do to create a defensible space - Control the weeds.

  • Pine Needles & Watering
    One of the biggest issues in creating a Firewise landscape is the mitigation of Pine Needles. Ken Lain explains the importance of keeping pine needles to less than 3 inches and what a major factor proper watering is to being Firewise

  • Oasis & Island Living
    These terms bring to mind places where wildland fires aren't much of an issue. Ken Lain explains that by creating Island of firewise plants and an oasis of defensible space while still maintaining the look of the landscape you want. In this segment, you will learn that you may not have to cut down every tree that grows near your house.

  • Plants that Burn Easily
    Let's face it, there are some plants that are just plain dangerous to have around. In this segment learn how we can strike a compromise by proper watering.

  • Firewise Plants
    It is possible to augment the Firewise Landscape by the plants that are chosen. Ken Lain explains that it isn't necessary to live in a rock castle in order to be Firewise.

Links to the Handouts Ken mentions in the Videos

Firewire Tool Kit

The NFPA Firewise Toolkit has been updated and new components added to make it a better resource for you. There’s now eight sections that includes the following: 

USDA Forest Service Announces New Strategy for Improving Forest Conditions

(Washington, D.C., August 16, 2018) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) announced today a new strategy for managing catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics.

Specifically, a new report titled Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes: An Outcome-based investment Strategy (PDF, 3.7 MB) outlines the USFS’s plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs.

“On my trip to California this week, I saw the devastation that these unprecedented wildfires are having on our neighbors, friends and families,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We commit to work more closely with the states to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires. We commit to strengthening the stewardship of public and private lands. This report outlines our strategy and intent to help one another prevent wildfire from reaching this level.”

Both federal and private managers of forest land face a range of urgent challenges, among them catastrophic wildfires, invasive species, degraded watersheds, and epidemics of forest insects and disease. The conditions fueling these circumstances are not improving. Of particular concern are longer fire seasons, the rising size and severity of wildfires, and the expanding risk to communities, natural resources, and firefighters.

“The challenges before us require a new approach,” said Interim USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen. “This year Congress has given us new opportunities to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with state leaders mitigate to identify land management priorities that include mitigating wildfire risks. We will use all the tools available to us to reduce hazardous fuels, including mechanical treatments, prescribed fire, and unplanned fire in the right place at the right time, to mitigate them.”

A key component of the new strategy is to prioritize investment decisions on forest treatments in direct coordination with states using the most advanced science tools. This allows the USFS to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that protect communities and create resilient forests.

The USFS will also build upon the authorities created by the 2018 Omnibus Bill, including new categorical exclusions for land treatments to improve forest conditions, new road maintenance authorities, and longer stewardship contracting in strategic areas. The agency will continue streamlining its internal processes to make environmental analysis more efficient and timber sale contracts more flexible.

The Omnibus Bill also includes a long-term “fire funding fix,” starting in FY 2020, that will stop the rise of the 10-year average cost of fighting wildland fire and reduce the likelihood of the disruptive practice of transferring funds from Forest Service non-fire programs to cover firefighting costs. The product of more than a decade of hard work, this bipartisan solution will ultimately stabilize the agency’s operating environment.

Finally, because rising rates of firefighter fatalities in recent decades have shifted the USFS’s approach to fire response, the report emphasizes the agency’s commitment to a risk-based response to wildfire.

The complete strategy is available at Photographs of the event are available at:

The mission of the USFS, an agency of the USDA, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Can Your Home Survive a Wildfire?

Dr. Jack Cohen, Fire Science Researcher with the USDA Forest Service, explains current research about how homes ignite during wildfires, and the actions that homeowners can take to help their home survive the impacts of flames and embers. Featuring footage from the IBHS Research Center showing ember experiments on full-scale structures, this primer helps explain the basic steps to protect homes, and shows where to find more information.

Available Resource

The Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program, managed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), seeks to develop and improve the dialogue between fire departments and the residents they serve. Launched nationally in March 2011 at the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI 2011) Conference, the program helps fire departments to teach individuals who live in high risk wildfire areas – and the wildland-urban interface – how to best prepare themselves and their properties against fire threats. The RSG! Program tenets help residents be Ready with preparedness understanding, be Set with situational awareness when fire threatens, and to Go, acting early when a fire starts.

Amazon Smile Program

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support PAWUIC every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find exactly the same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price (.05%) to the congregation.

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. From time to time, Amazon may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations. Special terms and restrictions may apply. Please see the relevant promotion for complete details.

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile. Yes, you use the same account on and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile (, you need to select Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface Commission (PAWUIC) to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

1.     Go to and find the link to Your Account near the top of the page.

2.     Select Your Charity from the drop down menu.

3.     Put “Prescott Area Wildland” in the Search box, then select Prescott Area Wildland-Urban Interface Commission. Click Select and you’re done.

4.     Use for all your Amazon purchases and PAWUIC will receive .05% of your purchases.

Fry's Community Rewards Program

 Did you know you can support PAWUIC just by shopping at Fry's? It's easy when you enroll in Fry's Community Rewards! To get started, sign up with your V.I.P Card, and select Prescott Area Wildland-Urban Interface Commission. Once you're enrolled, you'll earn rewards for the organization every time you shop and use your V.I.P Card!

Fry's is committed to helping our communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches, synagogues and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Fry's Community Rewards. The Fry’s program was designed to make your fund-raising the easiest in town…all you have to do is shop at Fry's and swipe your V.I.P Card! Enroll now for the Fry's Community Rewards Program. And remember…all participants must re-enroll each year to continue earning rewards for their chosen organization.


1.     Go to

2.     Select Community, then Community Rewards from the menu at the top of the page.

3.     If you don’t already have a Fry’s VIP account, click on the link and set up one.

4.     When you have your  Fry's V.I.P account, click the Enroll Now button to enroll/re-enroll in the Fry's Community Rewards program.

5.     Put “Prescott Area Wildland” in the Search box, then select Prescott Area Wildland-Urban Interface Commission Click Enroll and you’re done.

Every time you use your VIP card a small portion of your total (.05%) will be allocated for the organization.

Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN)

The State of Arizona's official source for emergency updates, preparedness and hazard information, and related resources. Bookmark this page to stay informed. We encourage you to bookmark also fan, follow and subscribe to AzEIN on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Blogger.

Wildfire Hazard Risk Report from CoreLogic

The 2015 CoreLogic Wildfire Hazard Risk Report examines the residential properties potentially exposed to wildfire risk in 13 western states, including Arizona. This report provides a comprehensive evaluation of the total number of properties at each risk level, along with the estimated reconstruction value of the single-family residences at risk in the region. In addition to the total estimate, a summary of the properties at risk and the associated single-family home reconstruction cost is provided for each individual state, as well as tables that provide similar information for several metropolitan areas across the country. (Site requires a one-time, free registration.)

The Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership

The Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership is an alliance of environmental, governmental, and business organizations dedicated to researching and demonstrating approaches to forest ecosystem restoration in the ponderosa pine forests surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona. (

What to Do with Pine Needles

After you have cleared that pine straw from your gutters and in the first thirty feet of your defensible space, what next?  Ken Lain of Watters Garden Center has some helpful hints.  Remember that up to two inches of pine straw, like leaves, is allowable outside of the Home Ignition Zone #1. 

ASU Executive Fire Administration Program

Lead change and implement innovation in fire and emergency services organizations through the Executive Fire Administration concentration in the Master of Arts in Public Safety Leadership and Administration (PSLA) degree program.

The executive fire administration concentration is a part of the Master of Arts in Public Safety Leadership and Administration is offered by the College of Public Service & Community Solutions through ASU Online. The 33-hour program can be completed in as little as one year. A culminating experience is a required element in the program. These mentored, applied projects tie theory to practice. In doing so, they represent opportunities for students to make direct and positive impacts in their home communities.

For more information, go to