Ep. 67Fire in the Southwest Ep. 4: The Shifting Role of the Forest Stewards Guild in an Era of Megafires, with Zander Evans

Welcome to episode four of our Fire in the Southwest Series, supported by the Southwest Fire Science Consortium as well as the Arizona Wildfire Initiative! Today’s guest, Zander Evans, is the executive director of the Forest Stewards Guild, which has a mission of promoting ecologically-, economically-, and socially-responsible forestry as a means of sustaining the integrity of forest ecosystems and the human communities dependent upon them. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Guild’s team—including Zander, who has worked there for over 17 years—has seen the first-hand impacts of some of the most destructive wildfires of the last two decades, including the 2022 Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire.

Zander and Amanda spoke about the role of the Forest Stewards Guild in helping provide more capacity for often resource-strapped agencies, as well as how their roles are shifting with the legacy and rise in megafires like the CC/HP Fire. We discussed the Guild’s objective to connect work on the ground to policy, while creating a network of land stewards that can learn from each other and share resources, lessons learned and other critical information that can help others dealing with similar issues across the country. 

We covered a lot in this episode, and in classic form, Amanda asked many difficult-to-answer questions that Zander did a great job of tackling—including questions about trauma-informed community engagement, how to continue to get good work done within a legacy of escaped prescribed fires and how communities can more effectively prepare for the “post-fire” piece of the resilience equation. 

Things mentioned in the episode:

Santa Fe Fireshed

GoFundMe for Smokey Bear Hotshots. Many of the crew’s members tragically lost their homes in the fires near Ruidoso, NM last week. They were responding to the fire when this happened. Please support if you’re able!


07:56 – The Guild’s Intersection With Wildfire Management

13:38 – Engagement Practices Since Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak

15:38 – Keeping Agency Folks In Same Roles/Locations Would Help Collaborative Efforts

16:44 – Guild Partnership With The Forest Service

19:27 – Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fire Aftermath And Community Perception of Prescribed Fire

23:57 – Zander’s Recommendations For Other Fire Prone Communities

26:12 – Santa Clara Pueblo Takeaways

28:00 – Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) Should Include Post Fire Element

30:20 – Preplanning For Post Fire Impacts and Things To Consider In Pre Planning

37:14 – Encouraging People To Go Back Outside After Experiencing Fire Trauma

39:05 – The Santa Fe Fireshed and Using Watershed Concerns to Frame Management Practices

44:24 – Implementation Takes Community Engagement!

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