Wildfire 2011, the 5th International Wildland Fire Conference, starts in 3 days in Sun City, South Africa. Their website even has a countdown banner. To get there in time (and with my sense of what day it is more or less intact), I have to leave today.
Early yesterday, I got an email asking if I would speak for a few minutes at the opening of a pre-conference (Monday) workshop. I realized only then that the same workshop I'd been involved in helping launch back in 1999 was the one that the South African folks had adapted and were presenting. That workshop was my introduction into the amazing world of wildfire and was basically my life from 2002-2004, when I was part of the team delivering dozens of workshops around the country.
I'm honored, but also humbled. To think that this idea called Firewise, invented by a few incredibly creative and brilliant people, and nurtured by stubborn bureaucrats like me, has traveled across the world and taken hold in such a different culture is mind-boggling.
I am presenting for 20 minutes on Wednesday. "From an Idea to a National Movement - Firewise in the USA." The title isn't even my original thought. However, it's fitting. I hope to do justice to the people who have done the hard work of moving concepts into action, and to the wonderful relationships that have made it possible for this idea to spread not only from coast to coast, but across the globe.