Dovetail Partners strongly believes in empowering communities with the resources and knowledge necessary to be resilient in the face of wildfire threats. This belief has been the foundation of a multi-year contract with St. Louis County to provide Firewise coordination services to educate, share resources, and deploy fire mitigation strategies. Dovetail also serves as the Fire Adapted Communities coordinator for the Upper Midwest and within that work, is constantly seeking partners to broaden their reach.
Dovetail was recently presented the opportunity to collaborate with the Carlton County, MN Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) on a funding proposal through the AIM CoCo grant to secure support for the launch of a Firewise program. Carlton County has a vivid history of wildfire devastation, yet no coordinated fire mitigation program existed. In October 1918, a wildfire left much of western Carlton County devastated and was recorded as the worst natural disaster in Minnesota history in terms of single-day casualties with 453 perishing in the fire. The event went on to destroy 38 communities and consumed 250,000 acres. Given the increased pressures placed on our landscapes through climate change and development, it is only a matter of time before fire will return and threaten communities.
Dovetail and the Carlton County SWCD were awarded funds through AIM CoCo to launch the Firewise program, which will be kicked-off this month. Dovetail will leverage their experience and network to mentor SWCD staff on Firewise evaluations, which assists landowners with best practices on how to build resiliency on their property in case of a wildfire. They will also help coordinate fuel mitigation activities, such as chipping events. Chipping events encourage landowners to clear their property of dead or dying vegetation that could become a fuel source, and then through a cost share program, have the debris chipped and hauled away.
The goal of the project is to, after a year, provide the support necessary for Carlton County to have a standalone Firewise program supported through the SWCD. Dovetail looks forward to helping make that goal a reality. If you would like to connect with the partners on the project, reach out to Ashley McFarland with Dovetail Partners - email@example.com or Brad Matlack with the Carlton County SWCD - firstname.lastname@example.org.