Northeast Region Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy banner with a graphic of the 20 states of the Northeast and Midwest and National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy logo.
The Northeast Regional Strategy Committee (NE RSC) provides executive leadership, coordination, and guidance to carry out the Northeast Regional Action Plan while providing a forum for members to guide strategic direction for fire and land management activities. The NE RSC continues to collaboratively recognize, support, and help with National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy goals and implementation efforts.

Brad Simpkins, New Hampshire State Forester
In This Issue
Northeast Region Cohesive Strategy Key Contacts

Chair

Chief Fire Warden

Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

 

Larry Mastic

Coordinator, Northeast Region

Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

Important Links



Forest Fire Compacts





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August 2018

Massachusetts Interagency Wildfire Crew Assists with Canadian Wildfires
Members of the MassWildlife prescribed fire crew recently assisted in securing wildfires in the Province of Québec
 
Marion Larson, Media Contact

July 26, 2018

A group of people poses for a photo in front of a bus.
(Courtesy photo by Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife)

Three members of the MassWildlife prescribed fire crew, Fletcher Clark, Chris Connors, and Ben Mazzei, assisted in securing wildfires in Québec Province, Canada for two weeks this July. They were joined by 16 wildland firefighters from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to form the Massachusetts Interagency Wildfire Crew-MA#1 and were mobilized through DCR and the Northeast Forest Fire Compact. The wildfire hand crew spent time containing two different wildfires, one near Radisson and the other near Lebel-sur-Quévillon in Québec Province. The crew spent most of their time on a large 24,500-acre fire on Wilson Lake in a remote region of Québec Province. Lightning strikes caused the dry, dense vegetation in the area to ignite and caused the wildfires.



Megan's Corner - August 2018
LANDFIRE logo and the text In the Northeast.
  • Risk Assessment, Fuels, and Fire Occurrence: U.S. Forest Service Region 9 has officially awarded a contract to Pyrologix to conduct a risk assessment for the region using the methods described in publication RMRS-GTR-315: "A Wildfire Risk Assessment Framework for Land and Resource Management." This will involve 1) wall-to-wall HAZARD (burn probability, burn severity) mapping for all 20 States and 2) full RISK mapping (addition of resources and assets at risk) for ONLY the area covered by national forests plus a 10-mile buffer around Forest Service lands. There are FOUR ways you can support and benefit from this effort:
    • MOST URGENT: I am currently analyzing the fire occurrence data that will be used in the risk assessment (Karen Short's database), which ingests data from many reporting systems, including NASF, and does quality control checks and editing. I am working with Karen Short and a few specific States where we've identified issues of fires being dropped from the NASF reporting database. See my forum post for more information and to look at data for your State. Karen has been tasked with finalizing the 2016-2017 database by September/October, so we only have until the end of August to submit updated data for risk assessment (methods for re-submittal TBD).
    • The hazard mapping will involve calibration of the LANDFIRE fuel model data (with YOUR help!!). Please let us know your knowledge of fire behavior fuel models (FBFMs) and how we can help you learn more to make these workshops more successful. All you have to do is take 3-5 minutes to complete THIS SURVEY. More information to come on local calibration workshops.
    • Help fund a wall-to-wall risk map in part 2 of the effort. See the briefing paper for more information.
    • If you'd like to be involved in discussions about wildfire risk assessment in the Northeast, please join or contact the NE RSC's risk assessment priority working group through myself, Larry Mastic, or Nan Johnson.


 

NE LANDFIRE Contact: Megan.Sebasky@wisconsin.gov


 
New Analyses Reveal WUI Growth in the U.S.
Website banner for the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Northern Research Station.
Editor's Note: "As of 2010, the NE region (states and DC) contained more than 278,000 km2 of WUI (14.6% of total land area in the region, and 36.2% of all WUI area in the conterminous U.S.). From 1990 to 2010, WUI area in the region expanded by more than 54,800 km2, an area equal to the states of New Hampshire and Vermont combined, for a growth rate of 24.5%." (Source: Miranda H. Mockrin, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Forest Service, Northern Research Station)

Research Issue


United States map showing wildland-urban interface areas. The highest concentrations of WUI are generally east of the Mississippi River and along the Pacific Coast.
( U.S. Forest Service graphic)

Wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas ---    where houses and other development meet or mix with undeveloped natural areas ---    are places of transition and change. Undeveloped wildlands offer extensive opportunities for outdoor recreation and the aesthetic and personal advantages of living "in the country." At the same time, human development changes wildlands over time, eating away at the edges or breaking large natural areas into smaller patches. Our recent study found that WUI grew rapidly from 1990 to 2010 in the U.S., expanding from 30.8 to 43.4 million homes (a 41% increase), covering from 581,000 to 770,000 km 2 (33% growth), making it the fastest growing land use type in the conterminous U.S. New WUI area totaled 189,000 km 2, an area that is larger than Washington State. This expansion of the WUI poses particular challenges for wildfire management, creating more buildings at risk to wildfire in environments where firefighting is often difficult.





Mid-Atlantic Forest Fire Compact Wins National Smokey Bear Award
Ohio Department of Natural Resources banner.
Ohio DNR in Forestry

July 20, 2018

COLUMBUS, OH ---    The Mid-Atlantic Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact's (MAIFFPC) Fire Prevention Committee was recently presented with the Golden Smokey Award, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Ohio's representative on the committee, Aaron Kloss of Centerburg in Knox County, accepted the honor on behalf of the ODNR Division of Forestry. The presentation ceremony took place at Vinton Furnace State Forest on Wednesday, July 18 in conjunction with the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance summer meeting.

A group of people pose for a picture including someone dressed as Smokey the Bear.
From left to right: Ashley Melvin of Delaware, Fred Turck of Virginia, Aaron Kloss of Ohio, Smokey Bear, Dave Robbins of Maryland, and Levi Gelnett of Pennsylvania. Other committee members include Rodger Ozburn and Greg McLaughlin. (Courtesy photo by Ohio DNR Division of Forestry)

"I'm pleased to represent the ODNR Division of Forestry on the compact prevention committee and all of the work we have done for wildfire prevention across the state, region and nation," said Kloss, who has been dispatched throughout the country more than 20 times to fight wildfires with ODNR's wildland fire crews and as an ODNR Division of Forestry single resource. "To receive the Golden Smokey Award is a true honor, and being able to work with other people in our region who are passionate about preventing wildfires has been a great experience."

 Read the full Mid-Atlantic Forest Fire Compact article.

Pyne: It's Time to Rethink Firefighting in the Wildland-Urban Interface
Treesource logo. 
Forest Journalism for a Sustainable Future

Stephen Pyne

July 16, 2018

A firefighter uses a chainsaw while fighting a fire at night.
A sawyer works the night shift on the 416 fire in Colorado earlier this summer. (Courtesy photo from inciweb)

So far, the 2018 fire season has produced a handful of big fires in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado; conflagrations in Oklahoma and Kansas; and a fire bust in Alaska, along with garden-variety wildfires from Florida to Oregon. Some of those fires are in rural areas, some are in wildlands, and a few are in exurbs.

Even in a time of new normals, this looks pretty typical. Fire starts are a little below the  10-year running average, and the amount of burned area is running above that average. But no one can predict what may happen in the coming months. California thought it had dodged a bullet in 2017, until a swarm of wildfires in late fall  blasted through Napa and Sonoma counties, followed by the Big One ---    the Thomas fire, California's  largest on record  [at the time of this writing] , in Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Every major fire rekindles another round of commentaries about "America's wildfire problem." But the fact is that our nation does not have a fire problem. It has many fire problems, and they require different strategies. Some problem fires have technical solutions, some demand cultural calls. All are political.

Here's one idea: It's time to rethink firefighting in the geekily labeled  wildland-urban interface, or WUI ---    zones where human development intermingles with forests, grasslands and other feral vegetation.


Co-Managing Wildfire: Conversations You Need to Have Right Now
Logo Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network.
Branda Nowell, Ph.D., Anne-Lise Velez, Ph.D., and Toddi Steelman, Ph.D.

July 12, 2018

WIde-angle photograph of a line of fire trucks.
The latest research on multijurisdictional wildfire response, with suggestions about conversations to have before the fire that may make co-management more successful. (Courtesy photo by Lance Cheung, USDA shared via Flickr Creative Commons)

2017 saw numerous wildfires move cross across the American landscape, many traversing three or more jurisdictions. Co-management has been proposed as a guiding concept for operating effectively in what appears to be a new interjurisdictional wildfire-world order. Sounds great, right? But how do we get there?

While ill-defined in policy, co-management in scholarship refers to sharing decision-making power (Berkes, 2009). Scholars of change management have long recognized the challenges of retrofitting new concepts and ideas into existing systems (Todnem, 2005). This reality begs two questions in the wildfire world: Does our existing incident command system accommodate principles of co-management? And, what is being employed to retrofit the existing incident command practices to adapt to the demands of more complex multijurisdictional spaces?

Over the last year, we studied 10 of the most jurisdictionally complex fires of 2017, conducting interviews and surveys with over 80 incident commanders, land managers and agency administrators involved in those fires. While analysis is still underway, we can share some preliminary insights from our data with an eye toward the remainder of the 2018 fire year.



Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2017
NFPA Journal banner.

Last year, 60 firefighters were killed while on duty, with sudden cardiac arrest accounting for almost half of those deaths. Plus, 2017 saw a troubling spike in firefighters struck and killed by vehicles.

Rita F. Fahy, Paul R. LeBlanc, Joseph L. Molis

July 2, 2018

Historically, NFPA has produced an annual look at on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States that focuses on deaths that occurred while the victims were on the job, either as the result of traumatic injuries or the onset of acute medical conditions. In truth, the firefighter fatality picture is far broader, as studies have shown that years spent in the fire service can take a toll on a firefighter's health, both physical and emotional, and can also result in exposures to toxins that eventually result in job-related cancer. Unfortunately, a comprehensive study that enumerates all duty-related deaths in a year is not yet possible to accomplish.


Conferences, Meetings, and Training Opportunities

   
 
Conferences and Meetings

--Regional--

Cloquet Forestry Center and Fond du Lac Tribal Forestry Field Tour ---   Translating Historical Fire Regimes into Contemporary Forest Management
September 20, 2018
University of Minnesota Cloquet Forestry Center
Cloquet, MN

October 29 - November 9, 2018
Pickens County, SC
 
Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission Wildland Fire Academy
October 29 - November 2, 2018
South Portland, ME

--National-- 
 
Wildland Fire Leadership Council Meeting
September 17, 2018
Washington, DC


Alliance of Forest Fire Compacts Annual Meeting
October 9-10, 2018
New Orleans, LA

The Northeast Regional Strategy Committee (NE RSC) delivers articles and stories each month that demonstrate the collaborative efforts of agencies, organizations and communities supporting and promoting the three goals of the Cohesive Strategy: Restoring Resilient Landscapes, Creating Fire Adapted Communities and Responding to Wildfire. 

 

This news update is our primary communication tool with our partners and the public. Looking for more Northeast Region Cohesive Strategy information or past published news update issues? Visit this Web site.

 

Does your agency, organization, or community have a project or event you'd like to see featured in the NE RSC News Update? 

 

Tell us about it! Just contact  Larry Mastic .
Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry | 603-953-3294 | rfitzhenry@fs.fed.us | https://www.fs.usda.gov/naspf/
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