May 2014: Volume 5, Issue 6
Minnesota Wildfire Academy
By Doug Miedtke, Minnesota Interagency Fire Center
annual Minnesota Wildland Fire Academy was held June 2-6, 2014 at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The academy is sponsored by the Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) partners including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and National Park Service along with Advanced Minnesota, a cooperative of northeast Minnesota community colleges. Twenty-six courses were offered in the functional areas of Operations, Plans, and Logistics as well as courses in dispatch, leadership and emergency vehicle operations. Enrollment at the academy has increased steadily over the years with a record of 678 student registrations in 2014. Most students were drawn from the Lake States region although others traveled from as far away as Alaska, Florida, Arizona and Washington, DC.
The academy was considered a success, with many students ready to take on new roles and responsibilities in fire suppression and prescribed fire around the country. Plans are already being made for the next academy scheduled for June 1-5, 2015.
RX-301 Prescribed Fire Burn Plan Implementation Course
By Persephone Whelan, Asst. Fire Management Officer, Huron-Manistee National Forest
was a busy week for multiple agencies in one classroom. In Oscoda, Michigan the cadre utilized the National Wildfire Coordination Group’s RX-301 Prescribed Fire Burn Plan Implementation curriculum tailored to meet the needs of multiple agencies within Michigan. Students and Cadre represented the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, US Forest Service, Department of Defense, the USDA Office of General Counsel, and the Lake States Fire Science Consortium.
Working in interagency groups students were introduced to multiple topics ranging from agency policies, line officer requirements, monitoring, conversions to wildfires and technical accuracy of burn plans. Students also got hands on experience with burn plans from the US Forest Service, Michigan DNR and The Nature Conservancy.
In addition to classroom work, the cadre and students went to the field to examine and discuss two different fuel breaks, one recently created by the Michigan DNR and the second treated with multiple entries of prescribed fire created by the US Forest Service. The field trip also viewed and discussed the Huron- Manistee’s successful broadcast burning with red pine (Pinus resinosa
) over story.
Both students and cadre learned a lot and considered the three days a success. Plans are being made for more classes utilizing the interagency approach.
Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS)
New 2012 Fire Data
MTBS is a multi-year project designed to consistently map the locations, extent, burn severity and boundaries of fires across all lands of the United States that have burned since 1984. MTBS data is used at local and regional levels to evaluate ecological impacts of fire, and at the national level to identify trends in burn severity. This information is necessary for monitoring the effectiveness and effects of the National Fire Plan and the Health Forests Restoration Act.
The Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity (MTBS) project recently completed burn severity mapping for fires occurring in 2012 that met MTBS size criteria. This brings the total number of fires mapped by the project to 17,936, and covers 133 million acres. With this release the MTBS data record now spans the years 1984 through 2012.
to read more.
Article on Using Drones in Wildland Fire Mapping
Recently there was an interesting article
in the Anchorage Daily News
about drones mapping hotspots on a fire on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. Alaska has federal permission from the FAA as a test of these technologies in civilian airspace.
Save-the-Date for a Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Field Trip in SW MI
Join us on Friday, Oct. 10 in southwest Michigan to learn how land managers and researchers are honing the use of prescribed fire to maintain wildlife habitat while reducing impacts to rare species. Restoring habitat while protecting individuals of rare species is an ongoing dilemma facing biologists and land managers.
The field trip will include plenty of time for discussion and multiple stops on both sides of the fence separating the Michigan National Guard's Fort Custer Training Center and the Michigan DNR's Fort Custer Recreation Area.
The issues presented in this field trip resonate with what the Consortium heard from the community during a panel discussion at the 2013 regional fire conference. Some of the key points from that discussion were:
- More monitoring of fire effects on rare fauna
- Improved information on life history and phenology of many species
- Improve the sharing of the results of research and experience
- Contractors and private landowners tend to lack access to information on likely locations of rare species and impacts of fire on these species
- Diversity of management methods (such as mowing, burn timing, ignition techniques) can minimize impacts within a burn unit (example: consider fall and growing season burns repetitive spring burns)
- Consider the implications of “doing nothing” to the habitat, as well as the impacts of prescribed burns on individuals
- Most of these species need improvements in their habitat on a large scale to survive
The complete notes from the panel discussion "Incorporating fire sensitive species into prescribed fire planning and operations" are available as a PDF to view or download HERE
Regional Fire Science Consortia and LANDFIRE Webinars
and the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP)
are planning a series of webinars
that are designed to help land managers and others understand and use data resources to assist them when making decisions regarding large landscape projects. Because the suite of LANDFIRE tools are based in vegetation history and current conditions, they can be applied in both fire and non-fire related activities and are particularly suited for running scenarios and considering management plans.
Each series of three webinars share the same components: an introduction to LANDFIRE (aka LANDFIRE 101), a look at a report or case study of how LANDFIRE products were and are being used on the ground, and a session on customizing data for specific landscapes. Each includes information that is based in the geographic area of the particular consortium. Because the components offer the same resource information, you are welcome to register for any of the sessions in any region.
All of the webinars are scheduled for noon, ET. They are being recorded and will be posted online.
AUTUMN SERIES PREVIEW
September 17: LANDFIRE 101 with Randy Swaty, The Nature Conservancy LANDFIRE ecologist
October 8: Assessing Needs with Tracy Hmielowski, Wisconsin Fire Needs Assessment
October 29: Customizing Data. Don Helmbrecht, Wildland Fire Analyst, USDA Forest Service, TEAMS Enterprise Unit
Registration information will be available Summer 2014
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, along with the Lake States Fire Science Consortium, will be conducting the S-130 and S-190 course for Grand Valley State University
Wildland Fire Courses at Fox Valley Technical College – Fall 2014
NWCG S-390 Advanced Fire Behavior
June 4-7, 2014
September 2 – 9, 2014
September 29 – October 3, 2014
S-290 Intermediate Fire Behavior
October 15-18, 2014
S-212 Wildland Powersaws
December 9 -12, 2014
S-270 Air Ops
Please contact Rick Buser
for more information, or call 920-205-5902
LSFSC Regional Conferences and Meetings
2014 Michigan Prescribed Fire Council Annual Meeting
September 11-12, 2014 at the Kalamazoo Nature Center, MI
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
Save-the-Date for a Lake States and Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Symposium
Stewardship Network 2015 Conference
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
2015 Science, Practice & Art of Restoring Native Ecosystems Conference
January 23 & 24, 2015 at the Kellogg Center, East Lansing, MI
Conferences in Canada
Second Terrestrial Invasive Plant Species (TIPS II) Meeting
August 6-8, 2014 at the University of Toronto- Mississauga, Ontario
Wildland Fire Canada: Integration and Accountability
October 7-9, 2014 at Halifax, Novia Scotia
Provides a forum for fire researchers and practitioners to exchange best practices and new ideas. Through the exchange of wildfire knowledge and information, the conference allows attendees to develop a deeper understanding about wildland fires from a variety of perspectives. Building on two successful conferences in 2010 and 2012, the Wildland Fire Canada conference series facilitates partnerships from a multitude of natural resource management and research disciplines.
Conferences in the U.S.
The Society for Ecological Restoration is partnering with the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration to bring you the Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration
July 28-August 1, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana
99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
August 10-15, 2014 in Sacramento, California
41st Annual Natural Areas Conference - Deeply Rooted in Restoration
October 15–17, 2014 in Dayton, Ohio