Think Smokey the Bear only helps Americans prevent forest fires? Think again! The U.S. Forest Service cooperates with governments and publics around the world—and has a global impact. Take firefighting expert Daniel Montoya, who just returned from Bolivia last month.
In just one week, he shared his 30 years of experience in forest-fire management with over 190 representatives from Bolivia’s public and private sector.
See, Bolivia is very susceptible to natural disasters. Its varied topography -- mountainous highlands, dense rainforest, dry lowland plains -- mean the country faces earthquakes, landslides, and forest fires. Just one year ago, forest fires consumed over 26,000 acres of woodlands in Bolivia’s southern province of Tarija. The fires threatened the water supply of over 200,000 people, and three people perished.
Montoya’s workshops will help Bolivians better prepare for and prevent national disasters. He discussed U.S. best practices on rapid response, incident command structure, and how technology can be used to fight natural disasters.
Coordinating on disaster response is an important way the United States cooperates with our neighbors in the region to prevent human tragedy while building trust across cultures. By sharing successes and evaluating obstacles, together we develop solutions to the challenges that affect us all.
About the Author: Anthony Miranda serves as Senior Digital Media Advisor in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.