Cooperative Extension offers landscapers free Living With Fire course

University collaborates with fire chiefs to educate landscapers on landscaping to reduce wildfire threat

2/19/2014 - By: Claudene Wharton
Living With Fire Landscape A landscape in the Lakeview neighborhood in Carson City, Nev. Landscapers in the Great Basin are encouraged to attend a workshop on March 17 in Reno, Nev., on landscaping to reduce the threat of wildfire. Call 775-336-0271 for details.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension will offer a free course for landscape professionals 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., March 17 at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Reno, to provide information on how landscaping design and materials play a crucial role in reducing the threat of wildfire to homes. The course is part of the Living With Fire Program, and is offered in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Chiefs Wildland-Urban Interface Conference.

“Landscapes designed to incorporate the concepts discussed in this course can help homes survive a wildfire,” Ed Smith, Cooperative Extension’s natural resource specialist said. “We’re looking forward to offering this course and informing landscape industry professionals about their important role in reducing the wildfire threat.”

Smith is the director of the Living With Fire Program, which educates homeowners on how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. Smith created the program in 1997, in collaboration with the University’s Agricultural Experiment Station and firefighting agencies. Since then, various components of the program have been adapted and used in 19 other states. The Living With Fire course for landscapers, “Training for Great Basin Landscape Professionals,” has been offered three times in prior years, training more than 100 landscape professionals on landscape techniques and principles to make homes more safe from the threat of wildfire.

“Firefighters have a much better chance of saving a home when these landscape principles are followed,” Smith explained. “We have had several homeowners tell us that their homes were saved when wildfires occurred because they followed these landscape recommendations.”

Topics include an introduction to wildland and local fire behavior, the influence of residential landscape features on firefighting, ignition resistance of landscape building materials, good and bad plant choices for high fire-hazard areas and more.  

Participants who complete the course will gain continuing education credits; those who pass a written exam will receive a certificate of completion in “Living With Fire for Landscape Professionals,” and will have their names posted on the Living With Fire website and on a list distributed at local events or upon request.

To register for the course, visit www.LivingWithFire.info, or contact Sonya Sistare at sistares@unce.unr.edu or 775-336-0271. Space is limited, and registration closes March 9. The course is provided by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, with funding from a State Fire Assistance grant from the Nevada Division of Forestry and USDA Forest Service, with additional support from the Nevada Landscape Association and International Association of Fire Chiefs.


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