Ep. 57Fire For The People with the Nature Conservancy’s Marek Smith

Well we finally got a chance to speak with Marek Smith, who is the North American Fire Director for the Nature Conservancy and the co-director of the Fire Networks, which houses the Fire Adapted Learning Network, the Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) and the Fire Learning Networks. Before I get too far into this intro, I do want to note that the Fire Network has a new website that is a veritable clearinghouse of good fire resources, knowledge and anecdotes—I highly recommend you go check it out!

New Fire Networks Website!!

Marek has quite a background of working in good fire implementation and policy, and recently represented 501 c3 organizations with expertise in forest management and environmental conservation on the Wildfire Commission which released its report and recommendations back in September.

In his role with the Nature Conservancy, Marek works to, quite simply, bring fire to the people while leading an organization that prioritizes our collective relationship with fire. All of TNC’s programming through the Fire Networks is focused on developing more avenues for people to connect with fire, whether by exchanging knowledge/training,  sharing resources or empowering individuals and communities to build resilience to or change their relationships with fire.

We covered some ground with this one—not only about his role in the Wildfire Commission, but also his work with the Fire Networks, Amanda’s experience at her first TREX back in October, and the future of the Fire Networks. This was such a fun conversation that was a long time coming, and we were left feeling like we could have talked to Marek for much, much longer than we did! Maybe a part two is in order….

Don’t forget to check out the Fire Networks’ new website!

You can also learn more about the new partnership between the Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service here

Looking for Christmas gifts for the outdoorsperson/backpacker/firefighter/hunter/skier in your life? Well boy howdy you should probably check out Mystery Ranch’s selection of packs, made for every hobby you could possibly need a pack for.

I’m a huge fan of Mystery Ranch packs and am an especially big fan of their Saddle Peak ski pack and their Hip Monkey pack, which is a glorified fanny pack that is durable as hell and has SO MUCH SPACE. I use it for long days on my mountain bike, and also recently used it basically as a purse during a three-week trip backpacking around Italy. 


03:55 – Episode Introduction

05:57 – Process For The Wildfire Commission

08:02 – Themes In Marek’s Work

09:29 – Work Groups Within The Commission 

10:02 – Marek’s Current Action Items

10:52 – Collaborative Approach To Recommendations 

12:11 – An All-Society Approach

13:02 – Multi-Year Funding

13:58 – Community Wildfire Defense Grants

15:21 – Wildfire Adaptation PODs

17:13 – Focus On What Is In Reach

18:14 – Community Level Practitioners

19:00 – The Fire Networks Partnership

21:24 – The Indigenous Peoples Burning Network

22:37 – Proactive Community Building

23:47 – Amanda’s Experience On TREX

24:56 – The PIO Position

25:48 – Current Happenings At Nature Conservancy

27:21 – Indigenous TREX Experiences

28:41 – Women In Prescribed Fire Training

30:09 – How To Get Involved

31:04 – Ongoing Efforts

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