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Indigenous Fire Stewardship


Fire is an inherent and necessary feature of our landscape. Through technical training combined with regional climate science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, participants learn valuable skills that can help build a career path around wildland fire management, Tribal fire stewardship, and fuels reduction. Participants learn about Tribal fire stewardship and prescribed fire while receiving the certifications necessary to become a wildland firefighter and Tribal monitor working on the fire line.

The Wildland Fire and Fuels Training program is unique in that it brings technical training together with climate science and traditional knowledges. The program would not be possible without the Southern California Interagency Wildland Fire and Fuels Cadre, a group of agency partners who contribute their time and expertise to plan and implement the training. A special thank you to Joelene Tamm and Chief Wesley Ruise Jr. for their leadership, vision, and perseverance to bring the idea to life, and to the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians for hosting the crew. 

By investing in this capacity-building opportunity, we are:
  • Working with partners to establish support systems for an Indigenous crew trained in fire, forestry, and fuels management that will advance resilient and adaptive pathways for conserving the land in the face of climate change.

  • Creating pathways towards equitable and sustained professional opportunities, all tied under the umbrella of climate-informed conservation, stewardship, and restoration.

  • Building towards a stand-alone year-round Indigenous-led forestry and fuels hand crew to work on the ground to reduce the potential for high severity wildfire by creating defensible space and fuels abatement—serving as a model for economic and workforce development.

  • Providing a crew that would be available for hire for forestry and fuels abatement, restorations, and land stewardship activities throughout the region.

Many of Southern California’s Indigenous communities are actively exploring pathways for bringing cultural burning back to the land, supporting and leading prescribed fire management, and advancing a model for co-management of ancestral homelands that are managed by non-tribal entities. Even though culturing burning has been practiced for thousands of years, past and current regulations and requirements imposed on federal trust-lands are significant barriers. The intention of this project is to initiate a process for advancing opportunities for capacity building training so that Tribes can lead and advance fire stewardship and restoration actions in collaboration and cooperation with state and local jurisdictional partners.

Photo credit: Joelene Tamm


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Native Plant Conservation, Propagation, & Restoration


Indigenous Fire Stewardship


Water Wisdom


Climate Adaptation Technical Training & Tools

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Fire & Climate Change: Adaptation Planning for Tribes

September 26 - 28, 2023

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This course will provide an overview to planning for climate change impacts, with an emphasis on fire, highlighting the work of Tribes that have completed an adaptation plan or vulnerability assessment. Since the course material including presentations and activities will focus on climate change impacts and resilience planning in a specific region, we especially encourage people from this region to attend.

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Fires and Fuel Training

July 2024

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In collaboration with UC Riverside and San Diego State University researchers, this training will provide participants with an opportunity to explore considerations for climate, community vulnerability, and cultural resilience in fire planning.

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