Vail Fire’s Paul Cada wins national honor
Town’s wildfire program administrator is recognized by nation's leading wildfire management groups
Paul Cada, the wildfire program administrator for Vail Fire and Emergency Services, has been selected as one of six individuals and organizations across the country to receive a Wildfire Mitigation Award in recognition of his exemplary commitment to community wildfire risk reduction. The Wildfire Mitigation Awards program was established in 2014 by the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, and the USDA Forest Service to help demonstrate the societal value wildfire mitigation efforts provide.
Cada was nominated by Vail Fire Chief Mark Novak for leading fuels reduction projects on over 250 acres across the community and completion of a multi-year wildfire risk assessment on every property in Vail. He has also been responsible for facilitating the Wildfire Ready campaign that resulted in 88 new resident registrations with the Community Connect online database program and a 100% increase in registrations for the county-wide emergency notification program EC Alert.
“Thanks to Paul’s tireless community outreach efforts, he has inspired awareness not only among permanent residents of Vail, but also among vacation homeowners and thousands of annual visitors,” Novak said in a town release.
The 2022 Wildfire Mitigation Awards were presented at the Wildland-Urban Interface Conference in Reno, Nevada, on March 22.
Cada’s efforts to bring awareness to wildfire mitigation programs in Vail are continuing with introduction of the ‘Fire Free Five’ concept that would require a 5-foot-wide zone of non-combustible landscaping around all buildings in Vail. Currently required for new development and significant additions, the proposal, which is currently under review by the Vail Town Council, would expand the requirement to all structures in town over a three-year period beginning in 2025.
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Award sponsor Christopher Martin, NASF president and Connecticut state forester, says state forestry agencies know firsthand it’s always wildfire season somewhere in the United States. “In their own ways, this year’s winners have ensured the safety of thousands through their wildfire mitigation efforts. We congratulate them for receiving this honor and thank them for their dedication to this critically important work.”