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News Release

VLS Environmental Law Center to Present Annual Norman Williams Lecture on Planning for Wildfire-Resilient Communities

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


Molly Mowery, executive director of the Community Wildfire Planning Center, will discuss “Planning for Wildfire-Resilient Communities in an Era of Uncertainty” during Vermont Law School’s 17th annual Norman Williams Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Planning and the Law. The lecture, which is free and open to the public and press, will be streamed at on Thursday, April 15, from 4 to 5:15 p.m.

Communities across the U.S. face an increased threat of wildfire due to record-breaking heat, prolonged drought, and other climate change impacts. Meanwhile, economic and social drivers such as shifting land use patterns are exacerbating vulnerable development conditions in wildfire-prone areas. This lecture will explore the challenges and opportunities of resilient land use planning policies, regulations, and other strategies necessary to confront wildfire hazard and help planners understand their role in taking action at the local, state, and national levels. While focused on wildfire, it is also intended to broadly inform the larger discussion of planning for natural hazards within the planning profession.

In addition to her role as executive director of the Community Wildfire Planning Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to support community wildfire risk reduction, Mowery is the founder of Wildfire Planning International, a land use and wildfire mitigation planning consulting firm that provides services to communities across North America. Throughout her career, she has successfully launched and managed national wildfire programs, including the Fire Adapted Communities in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire program. She has also designed and delivered national trainings to educate land use planners and fire professionals including the first Wildland-Urban Interface Planning curriculum for the U.S. Fire Administration.

The Norman Williams Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Planning and the Law series is named for Norman Williams, who came to Vermont Law School in 1975 after a long and distinguished career in public service and teaching, particularly in the area of land use planning. Professor Williams played a key role in founding the Environmental Law Center. The lecture series is a gift of Frances Yates, trustee of VLS, in memory of Professor Williams, Charles Yates JD’93, and Anya Yates JD’94.

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