WFCA and Cal Poly’s WUI FIRE Institute Form Collaborative Alliance
Published: 8/15/2023
Author: Western Fire Chiefs Association

The WFCA’s Applied Sciences Center serves as an intermediary between industry, business, non-profits, communities, and academia to advance mutually beneficial endeavors and assist with strengthening the innovation ecosystem in public service. In an effort to achieve these objectives, we are proud to establish a strategic alliance with the Wildland-Urban Interface FIRE Institute at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (WUI FIRE Institute). The WUI FIRE Institute is an excellent interdisciplinary university center that has been deeply engaged in applied WUI research for years. Cal Poly’s creation of the WUI FIRE Institute represents the strongest of commitments to enable the institute’s mission, creating the most fire resilient communities in the world. Adding to Cal Poly’s commitment to creating the WUI FIRE Institute, the WFCA is making a $54,000 donation to support the Institute in its work.

Our organizations have a shared mission, experience, and the humility to recognize the complexity and consequential magnitude of the WUI problem, one requiring the recruitment of expertise outside of ourselves.  

WFCA Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Johnson - “The Cal Poly WUI FIRE Institute has an industry reputation for responsive applied research and brings a trusted academic partner in the effort to bend down risk of life and property loss from wildfire. Their strategic framework is comprehensive, achievable, and will improve outcomes on the ground where it matters most. Our practitioner-academic alliance will yield the practical and evidence-based solutions our public and private sectors expect and need from us.”

WUI FIRE Institute Director, Frank Frievalt – “The WFCA is renowned for its innovation and thought leadership in all-things-WUI for local government fire agencies in the western U.S., making them an essential organization to collaborate with. The WFCA provides a turn-key multi-state network of WUI communities that we will work with to exchange best practices, data, and transferrable lessons learned. This alliance will contribute to a new Framework for Strategic WUI Mitigation.” 

Our WUI communities are facing, and will continue to face for decades to come, extraordinary wildfire threats from a perfect storm of ecologic, economic, and climatologic forces. We cannot “suppress” our way out of these conditions. We must instead induce persistent resilience in our WUI communities through the adoption and maintenance of evidence-based mitigations at scale. Exceedingly difficult policy decisions are on final approach; legislators and administrators will need our organizations to bring evidence-based recommendations from trusted sources.  

Bringing our combined abilities to bear, the WFCA’s Applied Sciences Center and the Cal Poly WUI FIRE Institute will help mitigation efforts evolve from analysis to intelligent management and purposeful disruption of the fire pathways that enable disastrous conflagration in WUI communities.  

For inquiries about this alliance, please contact:

WFCA contact information:
Bob Horton
Director, ASC

WUI FIRE Institute contact information: 
Frank Frievalt
Director, WUI FIRE Institute



Sign up to subscribe to custom state Daily Dispatch emails for free

click to subscribe