The 2017 fire season was long and arduous here in the Pacific Northwest. We spent a record 40 days at Preparedness Level 5 (the highest level) – almost three weeks more than in 2015. In addition, we had multiple fires that crossed the state, regional, and national borders prompting multi-jurisdictional and even bi-national fire management with our Canadian neighbors. When the Eagle Creek Fire ignited in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, it was a vivid reminder that Portland and the surrounding communities are not immune from the impacts of wildfire.
If the past several fire seasons have taught the USDA Forest Service and our partners anything, it is to be prepared for everything. Through these demanding seasons, we have learned that we cannot address the growing wildfire problems on our own. Rather, we must strive to collaborate in all facets of preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery.
Traci Weaver is the Service First position fire public affairs officer for the BLM Washington/Oregon State Office and the USFS R6 and R10. She moved to Portland from her home state of Wyoming in January 2015, after spending eight years with the National Park Service as a fire communications & education specialist based in Grand Teton National Park and covering the parks in Wyoming, Montana, and northern Colorado. In 2015, she detailed as the Yellowstone National Park public affairs officer, handling diverse issues from bison management to sustainability efforts in the world’s first national park.
Prior to the NPS, Traci had broad range of experience, from a newspaper writer, editor and photographer in Texas, to an eight-year stint as a fire prevention and wildland-urban interface specialist for Texas Forest Service. She was the lead Public Information Officer (PIO) for the state for everything from never-ending wildfire seasons, to hurricanes, ice storms, lost child searches and the Columbia Shuttle Recovery.
Traci served as PIO for five years on a type 1 Incident Management Team and three years on Area Command Team 4 and was elected the first chair of the National PIO Working Group.
Traci is the mother of a 19-year-old daughter, Cassidy. The two of them are enjoying exploring everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer.