Nation’s leading wildfire management groups name 2024 Wildfire Mitigation Awardees

The four cosponsors of the national Wildfire Mitigation Awards have named the individuals and organizations chosen to receive honors this year in recognition of their exemplary commitment to community wildfire risk reduction.

WASHINGTON—The Wildfire Mitigation Awards committee has named a recipient of the Wildfire Mitigation Legacy Award in addition to two organizations chosen to receive 2024 Wildfire Mitigation Awards (WMAs). This year’s WMA recipients come from Boulder County, Colorado and Cedar City, Utah where their local efforts have made national impacts, earning them the highest commendation for innovation and leadership in wildfire mitigation. They are:


Boulder County, Colorado

Established in 2014, Boulder County’s Wildfire Partners Program provides comprehensive hands-on mitigation action, community-based outreach, and local grant-making to the county’s 330,000 residents. The program began by offering free voluntary individual home assessments exclusively to homeowners and has expanded to include education, advising, and chipping services to entire communities. Most recently, the program has partnered with local youth programs to provide free services to elderly residents. In late 2023, Wildfire Partners began rolling out a rebate program throughout the county for homeowners to get at least partially reimbursed for taking targeted steps to mitigate wildfire risk on their properties. This program serves as a model for other mitigation programs and has already had tangible influence on mitigation projects in Colorado, the western United States, and Canada. Wildfire Partners continues to find new ways to reach their community, including a monthly newsletter and bilingual services.


Cedar City, Utah

The Color Country and Paria River District’s Fire Management Unit of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted wildfire mitigation projects on 89,154 acres over the last three years. The program exceeded their goal of hazardous fuel treatment by roughly 5,000 acres. The projects focused on reducing pinyon pine and juniper trees through mechanical mulching and chaining, along with hand thinning with chainsaws and dispersing the material around the project area. Additionally, most projects included a chemical herbicide treatment followed by seeding of native vegetation. This additional step of replanting, the Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) program, aims to lessen post-fire effects such as erosion and to restore affected habitats. The program’s ability to prioritize and plan with local government partners and non-government organizations has increased the footprint of restored landscapes tenfold on private lands in southwest Utah.

The Wildfire Mitigation Awards program was established in 2014 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 to help demonstrate the tremendous societal value wildfire mitigation efforts provide.

“The winners of this year’s WMA awards exemplify innovative, impactful steps that can be taken to effectively reduce the threat of wildfires among populations at highest risk,” said Michele Steinberg, director of the NFPA wildfire division. “Their tremendous efforts, which are most deserving of this year’s honor, serve as roadmaps for exemplary wildfire mitigation that I sincerely hope other communities will follow.”

“State forestry agencies know firsthand that wildfire mitigation is a year-round endeavor that requires collaboration across multiple partners,” said NASF President and South Carolina State Forester Scott Phillips. “This year’s recipients demonstrate the critical nature of these partnerships and their significant impact on both the health of our nation’s forests and the vitality of American communities. NASF thanks Wildfire Partners and the Bureau of Land Management Color Country and Paria River Fuels Team for their tremendous efforts to address the national wildfire crisis.”

“Amidst ongoing challenges posed by climate change, our firefighting teams are increasingly tackling wildland-urban interface and extensive suburban fires,” stated IAFC President and Board Chair Chief John S. Butler. “I am thrilled to extend my congratulations to both Wildfire Partners from Boulder, CO, and the Bureau of Land Management Color Country and Paria River Fuels Team from Salt Lake City, UT, for their well-earned accolades. As we adapt to the evolving nature of wildfire incidents, both Wildfire Partners and the BLM Color Country and Paria River Fuels Team are at the forefront, establishing innovative collaborations within government and communities to proactively diminish the impact of future wildfires.”

“We’re proud to be a part of this annual effort to recognize such dedicated individuals in the field of wildland fire mitigation,” said Alex Robertson, Acting Fire and Aviation Director for the USDA Forest Service. “The outstanding work of these recipients is representative of the efforts of fire prevention and mitigation specialists across the U.S.”


The Wildfire Mitigation Legacy Award was established in 2014 by the National Association of State Foresters, National Fire Protection Association, USDA Forest Service, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, to recognize an individual’s outstanding contributions to the larger world of mitigation. It is meant to acknowledge those who have flown the mitigation banner over a long period of time, persisted in vocalizing the mitigation message, spoken truth to power, and helped create the tools and best practices that make up fire adaptation today.

In addition to the two 2024 winners, the Wildfire Mitigation Awards committee is pleased to honor Pam Leschak with a Wildfire Mitigation Legacy Award. Throughout her distinguished U.S. Forest Service career that spanned more than 30 years, Pam Leschak has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to promoting wildfire mitigation as the highest priority in forest management on public and private lands. Pam developed the foundation for wildfire mitigation that we know today. She championed the development of community wildfire risk reduction infrastructure to 1) build local capacity for sustainable risk reduction programs that create more effective community mitigation specialists; 2) support multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional funding to support work on the ground; 3) collaborate at the national level to direct resources strategically to high-risk areas; 4) provide local assistance when needed to build capacity and effective, sustainable wildfire mitigation programs; and 5) set targets and track community risk reduction over time. Pam continues to support national wildfire mitigation programs and leadership even in her retirement.

The 2024 Wildfire Mitigation Awards will be presented at the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Conference in Reno, Nevada, on March 27, 2024. This year, the WMA partner organizations are proud to host a virtual meet and greet between the WMA winners and partner leaders prior to the WUI conference. The nominations period for the 2025 Wildfire Mitigation Awards will open this summer. For more information about the awards program and how you can nominate your mitigation hero for national recognition, visit

Media contact: Emilie Austin at

**Correction: Bureau of Land Management Color Country and Paria River Fuels Team was originally stated to be based in Salt Lake City. The correct location is Cedar City.

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