Fire Science News for the Lake States Region - September 2014

In This Issue

Consortium Staff
Jack McGowan-Stinski
Program Manager

Administrative Committee
The Ohio State University
Charles Goebel, PI
David Hix, Co-PI
Eric Toman, Co-PI
Robyn Wilson, Co-PI
Michigan State University
Jessica Miesel, Co-PI 
Wayne State University
Dan Kashian, Co-PI 
Greg Corace, Co-PI
USFS Northern Research
Brian Palik, Co-PI
Randy Kolka, Co-PI
Matt Bumgardner, Co-PI

Advisory Committee

Jim Barnier, WDNR
Marty Casselius, BIA
Paul Charland, USFWS
Theresa Gallagher, USFS
Dave Heaman, OMNR
Andy Henriksen, NRCS
Michele Richards MI NG
Mark Sargent, MI DNR
Scott Weyenberg, NPS

September 2014: Volume 5, Issue 9

Grand Valley State University and the Initiation of their “Fire Program”

by Kayla J. Anderson , GVSU Student
As a senior at Grand Valley State University, I am looking for hands on experience. I’m also looking for credentials and hard-skills that allow me to stand out and make a difference in my career path. On August 15-19, 2014 I participated in GVSU’s start to their Wildland Fire Management course – S-130 and S-190. This opportunity was unique, provided credit hours and certification, and was partnered with the Lake States Fire Science Consortium, Michigan Prescribed Fire Council and Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. The intensive five-day program not only prepared me to become a Wildland Firefighter, but opened my eyes to the values of prescribed burning and ecological restoration.

At the end of the course I was awarded the S-130, S-190, L-180 certifications. The overall result was much greater than the certificates. I got to know members of the MI DNR, LSFSC and PCCI, made new acquaintances within the Natural Resources program at GVSU and graduated with support and mentorship.  The one thing I liked best about the course was the down-to-earth atmosphere, allowing everyone to learn with ease and enjoy themselves.  I found the experience to be a highlight of my program at GVSU and would recommend the course to anyone who is looking to stand out. You can make a difference too, and they’ll help you get there! 

Fire and Wildlife in the Northern Lake States

by Shelby A. Weiss, Applied Sciences Program, Seney National Wildlife Refuge
Throughout the northern Lake States, land use change has affected many native ecosystem types. A number of these ecosystems are fire-dependent, and can be defined as those in which composition, structure, and function changes when fire is removed. The Lake States Fire Science Consortium (LSFSC), funded by the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP), is a network of fire managers and scientists interested in the fire-dependent ecosystems of the northern Lake States region. To enhance the existing understanding of natural disturbances, vegetation, and wildlife and the integration of this knowledge into the management of land, the LSFSC has initiated an information exchange concerning wildlife that are associated with fire dependent ecosystems. Wildlife species whose regional distribution and abundance were historically highly associated with fire-dependent ecosystem types can themselves be considered fire-dependent because vegetation patterns of their habitats were provided by the ecological process that is fire. Some charismatic species, such as the Federally Endangered Kirtland’s Warbler, have been relatively well studied; however, much less is known about many other fire-dependent wildlife species in the northern Lake States. In fact, a gap analysis of peer reviewed literature on fire effects and wildlife conducted by Dr. Jessica Miesel (Michigan State Univ.) indicated that our existing regional knowledge of the interactions among disturbances, vegetation, and wildlife in fire-dependent ecosystems is still grossly incomplete. For many land management professionals, relevant information is lacking; in many instances, lists of fire-dependent wildlife species do not even exist. Currently, the LSFSC is mid-way through a three-year effort (2013-2015) to increase the knowledge base needed for managing wildlife species associated with fire-dependent ecosystems in the northern Lake States.

Thus far, the LSFSC has synthesized current information in state Wildlife Action Plans and requested input from colleagues regarding unpublished theses and dissertations and other ongoing research, inventory, and monitoring. Lists have also been developed of fire-dependent wildlife species and these were provided to resource managers and scientists for critique.  From these efforts, 46 birds (15 of which are listed as State Threatened or Endangered), 15 mammals (2 of which are listed as State Threatened or Endangered), and 13 reptiles and amphibians (5 of which are listed as State Threatened or Endangered) were identified as being associated with fire dependent ecosystems throughout the northern portions of Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin. Moving forward with this work, the LSFSC plans to conduct interviews this winter with land managers and wildlife professionals in an effort to:1) evaluate what they are doing in terms of inventory and monitoring, research, and management, 2) identify potential areas for collaboration with LSFSC, and 3) gather feedback on the needs of managers and researchers that the LSFSC might be able to meet. Investigators also plan to create maps with wildlife range and distribution data and overlay them with land ownership patterns to identify regional hotspots of fire-dependent species occurrence.

These results will be shared through outreach efforts, including an organized session at the annual Midwest Wildlife Conference in February of 2015, to make stakeholders aware of this new information and the shared interests of different organizations and professionals. Principle investigators for this project are Dr. Greg Corace (Seney National Wildlife Refuge) and Dr. Lindsey Shartell (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources). For more information contact Greg Corace ( or 906.586.9851x14. 

Kicking off the 2014-2015 Webinar Series

October 16, 2014 at 2 PM EST (1 PM CST)

Maple Ridge Prescribed Burn:
Stand Replacement Crown Fire Used to Reduce Hazardous Fuels and Create Habitat for the Endangered Kirtland’s Warbler in the Mack Lake Basin

Steve Goldman, District Ranger
Mio Ranger District, Huron-Manistee National Forests

Steve will provide us with an overview of the history, public involvement, planning, and implementation of the Maple Ridge Prescribed Burn on May 11, 2014. The 50 acre Maple Ridge RX burn is the first jack pine stand replacement high intensity prescribed burn implemented on the Huron-Manistee National Forests (HMNF).  This is especially significant due to the unfortunate legacy of the 1980 Mack Lake Fire, which was an escaped prescribed fire.  This tragedy (1 firefighter fatality and 25, 000 acres consumed) has been a significant barrier to managers attempting to use fire in jack pine on the HMNF.  In addition, the Maple Ridge Prescribed Burn was implemented directly adjacent to the Mack Lake subdivision, in which 44 structures were lost in 1980.  The burn was proposed after the 2012 Little Mack Lake Fire consumed 800 acres of jack pine west of the Mack Lake subdivision, and the subdivision was successfully defended with no structure loss.  The 2012 wildfire left a 50 acre patch of jack pine between the burn scar and the subdivision.  This unit of jack pine was surrounded by crown fire scars on two sides, and a fuelbreak and swamp on the other flanks.  The 2012 wildfire had unexpectedly provided the fire control features to safely implement a high intensity burn to reduce fuel loading and create Kirtland’s warbler habitat.

Click here to Connect to Webinar
For additional information click HERE

Proposed Federal Listing of Northern Long-eared Bat: Implications for Minnesota & DNR Actions

With the possible federal listing of the northern long-eared bat as an Endangered species, there are a variety of implications to forest and fire management activities in the Lake States.  Recently, the Minnesota DNR briefed the Minnesota Governor’s office on the possible implications of this action.  Click HERE to read the summary of that briefing. 

A Fire Management Field Trip in SW MI
brought to you by 

Multiple Perspectives on Fire Sensitive Species in Fire Dependent Habitats
Friday, October 10, 2014 9:00 am to 3:30 pm
How to optimize prescribed fire planning and operations for rare species conservation, restoration of habitat, and minimizing fire-induced mortality in small populations.  Some discussion highlights: Oak savanna, prairie and prairie fen focus; invasive species and fire; considerations for prairie vole, eastern box turtle and eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Explore the sites with land managers, fire officers, and researchers.
The field trip is free and open to the public, but space is limited.
Register HERE by Friday, Oct. 3 to secure your spot

Fire and Wildlife in Mixed-Pine Ecosystems of Eastern Upper Michigan: A Field Tour

When: Thursday, 23 October 2014 from 10 AM to 4:00 PM ET
Where: Seney National Wildlife Refuge, meeting at Visitor Center
Who: Federal, State, and Private Land Managers and Scientists

The goal of this field tour is to provide an opportunity for professional exchange among land managers and scientists interested in mixed-pine (red pine-dominated) ecosystem conservation and restoration, the role of fire in both, and related implications for non-game wildlife. The tour will consist of visits to “benchmark” and “altered” stands (jack pine-dominated sites).  Treatments to be discussed include variable retention harvests and mixed-severity prescribed fire. Sites will be visited that are now waiting prescribed fire, those burned recently, and those stands burned some time ago. We will summarize published papers on fire history, vegetation structure and composition, treatment effects, and wildlife communities, while promoting exchange among attendees re: the role and application of prescribed fire (or managed wildfire).

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Dr. Greg Corace (Applied Sciences Program, Seney NWR) at Deadline for RSVP is Tuesday 21 October at NOON ET. Individuals from the same office are encouraged to share a vehicle to limit the train through the refuge. A wash-down station will be provided to minimize the spread of invasive plants from vehicles. Lunch is the responsibility of each attendee and will occur in the field.

Join us for the second webinar in the LANDFIRE and Regional Fire Science Consortia Webinars

October 8 at Noon EST/1100 CST
Where should we burn? A Fire Needs Assessment for Wisconsin.

Given the limitations on prescribed fire resources, the Fire Science Consortia have developed a model, also known as the Fire Needs Assessment, to identify high priority areas for management with prescribed fire. They mapped fire dependent vegetation using the LANDFIRE Existing Vegetation Layer (EVT), and ranked management units based on the potential benefits, effort, and challenges associated with using prescribed fire on the landscape. Tracy will show how open access data and stakeholder involvement have shaped this project, and share the initial results of the Fire Needs Assessment.
Tracy is a Fire Information Specialist with the Tallgrass Prairie & Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium. She works at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

See more HERE

October 29: Customizing Data.

Don Helmbrecht, Wildland Fire Analyst, USDA Forest Service, TEAMS Enterprise Unit, presents "Updating LANDFIRE Data for Wildfire and Harvest Disturbance."


See more HERE

Lake States Fire Science Consortia contact: Jack McGowan-Stinski
TPOS contacts: Tracy Hmielowski and Craig Maier


Proposals are due by November 21, 2014, 5:00 p.m. MST
For more information of the 2015 Announcement of Funding Opportunities click HERE

Crown Fire Behavior in Conifer Forests – A Synthesis


A Special Issue of Fire Management Today

The Joint Fire Science Program is pleased to have contributed to the set of papers appearing in this special volume of Fire Management Today. Having commissioned a thorough synthesis of knowledge and understanding regarding crown fire behavior in coniferous forests a few years ago, we invite you to take advantage of this important information.

Upcoming Regional Fire Trainings 

The following fire training opportunities have been brought to our attention. If you are offering fire courses in the next year please send information to Jack McGowan-Stinski so that we can post in future newsletters for you.

The Michigan Prescribed Fire Council will be hosting the Field Day portion for the Firefighter Type 2 (FFT2) (run as a two day incident) at Kalamazoo Nature Center October 25-26, 2014

Course Description: This field course serves as the capstone exercise for the S-130 online coursework. The two-day course is run like a NWCG incident to better prepare students for the activities of a wildland firefighter. We last held this in October of 2012, to rave reviews from the participants.

Students may register for the field days prior to completing the required online modules for I-100, S-190, & S-130. The online courses MUST be completed and copies of the certificates MUST be presented at the time of the field days.

Objective: To attain FFT2 level of qualification. 

Course Prerequisites: Online course work outlined in the "Initial Firefighter Training Information."

Cost for Field Days: $80

Lodging and Meals: Cost included in the tuition fee. Meals will be catered. This training will be run like an overnight wildfire incident and students will be spiking out. We are encouraging you to stay onsite but understand if you choose not to. If you decide not to stay onsite you will need to make your own overnight accommodations. If you decide to stay onsite, plan for the elements.


Contact Ryan Koziatek with any questions.

Wildland Fire Courses at Fox Valley Technical College – Fall 2014

S-290 Intermediate Fire Behavior
October 15-18, 2014
S-212 Wildland Powersaws
December 9 -12, 2014

S-270 Air Ops
Contact FVTC
Please contact Rick Buser for more information, or call 920-205-5902

The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center (Grand Rapids, MN) will be hosting a RX-410 on January 26-29, 2015

2014 New York Wildfire and Incident Management Academy

October 23-November 2, 2014 

The Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission's Wildfire Task Force will hold the 17th annual New York Wildfire and Incident Management Academy from October 23 through November 2, 2014, at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY.

LSFSC Regional Conferences and Meetings

Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference
(TPOS and LSFSC is hosting a special fire and invasives session as part of this Conference)
October 20-22, 2014 in Duluth, MN

A Lake States and Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Symposium
Burning Issues: How do we integrate competing objectives in land management and restoration?
When: January 13 and 14, 2014
Where: Fort Custer Training Center, Augusta, MI
Registration information available fall 2014

Stewardship Network 2015 Conference
2015 Science, Practice & Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems Conference
January 23 & 24, 2015 at the Kellogg Center, East Lansing, MI

Midwest Fire Conference
Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium
February 17-19, 2015 in Dubuque, Iowa

Conferences in the U.S.

SAF National Convention
October 8-11, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah
41st Annual Natural Areas Conference - Deeply Rooted in Restoration
October 15–17, 2014 in Dayton, Ohio

CFFDRS in Alaska Summit Meeting
Oct 28-30, 2014 in Fairbanks., Alaska

Wildland Urban Interface Conference
March 25-26, 2015 in Reno, Nevada
Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference
May 27-29, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

6th International Fire Ecology and Management Congress
Advancing Ecology in Fire Management: Knowledge Transfer through Workshops, Presentations, and Meetings
November 16-20, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas

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