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Ed Smith named Distinguished Outreach Faculty

Posted 5/14/2009

Ed Smith showing the most recent Living With Fire publication

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Ed Smith, who for years has tirelessly helped homeowners learn how to protect their property from wildfires, has been chosen Distinguished Outreach Faculty for 2009 by the University of Nevada, Reno.

"Mr. Smith is recognized for his devotion to addressing the issue of Nevadans living in high fire-hazard environments," said Fred Holman, Vice Provost of Extended Studies at UNR. "Few people have done more to help prevent the devastation of property from wildland fires than Ed Smith."

"Ed clearly demonstrates the kind of dedication and commitment that makes our university so valuable to this state and to all its communities," UNR President Milton Glick said.

Smith, a natural resources specialist with Cooperative Extension, is known throughout the West for his programs to reduce wildfire threats to communities. He created UNCE’s Living With Fire program, which teaches Nevada homeowners how to live more safely in high fire-hazard areas. Living With Fire includes a homeowners’ guide that is in use in 14 states and Canada, with more than 2 million copies printed; curriculum materials and workshops; television programs; and a Web site. Living With Fire products are the most widely used wildfire threat-reduction materials in Nevada. Smith was also instrumental in founding the Nevada Fire Safe Council, developing of the Nevada Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Summit and initiating Nevada Wildland Fire Awareness Week.

Smith’s latest installment of the Living With Fire program, "Be Ember Aware," focuses on steps homeowners can take to protect their homes from burning embers. A wind-driven ember landing on something easily ignited or near the home is the most common reason houses are destroying during wildfire.

Smith’s honor is the latest in a string of awards and recognition. In 2002, he received the Honor Award from the Secretary of Agriculture, the highest distinction given by USDA, and was nominated for an Emmy award for "Nevada Burning," a half-hour television program concerning Nevada’s wildfire issues. In 2004, he received the National Fire Plan Award for Excellence in Community Assistance, and in 2006 he was the first recipient of the Excellence in Extension award given by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. Earlier this month, he and Living With Fire program coordinator Sonya Sistare were awarded Bronze Smokey Bear awards from the U.S. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters and The Advertising Council.

For more information on Living With Fire, go to email Ed Smith or call 775-856-8403.

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