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PRESS RELEASE from Wildfire Adapted Partnership - January 2019

Paulette Church of Falls Creek Ranch Receives 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Award

The Wildfire Mitigation Awards committee has announced the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Award winners, and Wildfire Adapted Partnership is pleased to announce that Paulette Church of Falls Creek Ranch in Durango is one of seven national winners.

Established in 2014, the Wildfire Mitigation Awards are co-sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs(IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS), these awards help to demonstrate the tremendous societal value wildfire mitigation efforts provide. Recognizing the comprehensive challenges posed by wildfire, these awards applaud individuals and organizations for their outstanding dedication to solving many of the most complex challenges posed by wildfire. By honoring their achievements, the award sponsors seek to increase public recognition and awareness of the value of wildfire mitigation efforts.

Wildfire Adapted Partnership nominated Paulette Church for her dedication to reducing the wild fire risk of her community. Paulette has served as the Falls Creek Ranch Wildfire Adapted Neighborhood Ambassador since March 2016. During this time Paulette has focused on safety and increasing capacity through the purchase of equipment so that the residents can do much of the mitigation work themselves. She has also organized work crews to fell large trees on over 30 acres of common property within Falls Creek, organized community-wide workdays and an annual Christmas tree-cutting day to thin out numerous small white firs.

“Paulette’s leadership has been the driving force behind many community efforts that are uncharacteristic of other neighborhood associations in our area, and truly characterize the type of out of the box approach that has made Falls Creek’s efforts so successful”, said Chief Hal Doughty of Durango Fire and Protection District. “As a result of all of the preparation and hard work done in the Falls Creek area, that subdivision wound up being the pivotal turning point in stopping the southward progression of the 416 Fire this year."