Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

Northeast Region
Plymouth, MA Fire Dept.
A firefighter from Plymouth, MA, uses a drip torch to ignite grasses in a prescribed fire.    
Resilient Landscapes - Fire-Adapted Communities - Safe and Effective Wildfire Response  
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.

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

New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands

172 Pembroke Road

PO Box 1856

Concord, NH 03302-1856


Terry Gallagher

Technical Working Group Lead

U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region


Maureen Brooks

Communications Working Group Lead

U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area S&PF


Larry Mastic

Coordinator, Northeast Region

Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

Important Links

Forest Fire Compacts

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Science and Joint Fire Science Consortiums & Exchanges

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December 2015
Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program Digest Available 
FEMA logo on the left, a home along the coast on the right.

FEMA offers three Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs - the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program, and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program - to help States, Territories, Indian Tribal governments, local communities, private non-profits, and businesses implement cost-effective, long-term mitigation measures for all natural hazards. Supporting this endeavor is most effective when all stakeholders have a mutual understanding of program purpose, concepts, terminology, and procedures.
As part of this effort, FEMA has produced a digest of HMA program operational terms and references. The 2015 HMA Program Digest is an easy-to-read, easy-to use, brief summary of the basic HMA program elements. While the HMA Program Digest is primarily intended for those unfamiliar with HMA programs, it also may serve as a reference for employees, applicants, and other stakeholders with many years of experience with the programs. Because the digest is not exhaustive, either in topics or in detail, information should be verified with the FEMA HMA Unified Program Guidance and FEMA HMA program officials before becoming the basis for making decisions.

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Legislation Proposed to Limit Recreational Drone Use during a Wildfire Response 
Helecopter flying over a large forest fire.
Photo courtesy of

Posted by  Faith Berry

According to a  CNBC News article , "As wildfires continue to rage on the west coast, firefighters are not only faced with high temperatures, strong winds and arid conditions, but drone pilots who are flying their crafts too close to the blazes." Recreational drone use in airspace where wildland fires are raging has become a concern for the safety of wildland fire response. CAL FIRE has even created a  public service announcement  that warns about the use of recreational drones during a wildfire response.

A U.S. Senator from New Hampshire has proposed new Federal legislation to keep recreational drones from interfering with wildfire disaster relief efforts. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the Wildfire and Emergency Airspace Protection Act on October 7, 2015. According to the Senator's Web site, there have been 13 wildfires this year that the U.S. Forest Service has responded to that have had drones interfere with wildfire fighting aircraft. This legislation would be specifically aimed at criminalizing drone use that knowingly interferes directly with disaster relief efforts.

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Two Northeast RSC Members Presented at the Backyards & Beyond Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC

#1) Big Wildfires Don't Just Happen in the West

A man stands next to a projection screen while making a presentation at a conference.
George Baker.
Posted by Lauren Backstrom

On day two of Backyards & Beyond, George Baker (retired Fire Chief out of Mashpee, MA) gave a presentation on refuting the common myth that "Big Wildfires Don't Just Happen in the West." Chief Baker also delivered a keynote address yesterday, so read the recap if you missed it. He reviewed several significant wildfires that have occurred on the east side of the Mississippi, including what has happened since each fire and what steps, if any, have been taken to prevent another occurrence. 

Eastern wildfires can affect larger numbers of people much quicker than some in the west will, due to the denser populations on this side of the country, so handling of them is much different than it is out west. The eastern wildfires Chief Baker covered were:
  • Marlow-Stoddard Fire (New Hampshire, 1941)
  • Cape Cod Fire (Massachusetts, 1946)
  • Great Fires of 1947 (Acadia, Maine, 1947), which resulted in the formation of the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact
  • Mount Desert Island Fire (Maine, 1947)
  • Sunrise Fire (Long Island, NY, 1995)
  • Palm Coast Fire (Florida, 1998)
  • Lateral West Fire (Great Dismal Swamp National Refuge, 2011), which lasted 111 days; even Hurricane Irene didn't provide enough water to completely extinguish the fire
  • Big Cypress National Preserve Fire (Florida, 2015)
Many eastern fires don't show up in the news because they are smaller, put out much quicker, and don't typically have hundred foot flames that make for great television. While we do have some large fires out east, sometimes, we may have 100 small fires at once, which also makes response challenging. So re-framing the message so everyone knows the east also has a wildfire problem, even if it is a bit different in characteristics than those of the west, and many times affects many, many more people. Wildfire risk reduction is therefore just as important in the east and should not be ignored.
#2) What to do When a Project Fire Burns through a Community That's Becoming 'Fire Adapted'

Presenter: Jolene Ackerman, Wisconsin DNR - Division of Forestry

Spring fire season was mild in Wisconsin in 2013. By mid-May, we were nearing green-up when wildfire's favorite weather conditions - a warm, dry, windy day - and a spark from a logging operation met to result in the largest wildfire to burn in Wisconsin in 33 years. The 7,500-acre Germann Road Fire burned through two townships in northwest Wisconsin. The ink had just dried on their Community Wildfire Protection Plan and a few hazard mitigation projects had been completed when the fire happened. This session will describe how Firewise recommendations stack up to the results of a post-fire property assessment project and how homeowner interviews and media contacts became assets in getting Firewise preparedness messages out to others.

Large Stewardship Project on Ottawa NF Provides Multiple Benefits
Two Forest Service signs for Ottawa National Forest's Nesbit Lake and Norway Lake.
[Ed. Note: This is an excellent example of meeting the Cohesive Strategy goal of restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes, even though wildland fire management was not the primary objective.]

The Ottawa National Forest recently completed a large-scale restoration project that mitigated hazardous fuels and watershed concerns while improving recreation and education opportunities at Camp Nesbit and Norway Lake Recreation Area. Projects accomplished thanks to this stewardship contract included new lakeside retaining walls at Camp Nesbit and Norway Lake swimming areas to address erosion and sedimentation, salvage and thinning of nearby red pine stands, removal of large hazard trees and slash at Norway Lake Campground, and boat landing rehabilitation.

Source: Chief's Desk, November 13, 2015

Between Two Fires - New Book from Stephen Pyne
Cover of the Stephen Pyne book Between Two Fires, A Fire History of Contemporary America. From a fire policy of prevention at all costs to today's restored burning, Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America is America's history channeled through the story of wildland fire management.

Stephen J. Pyne tells of a fire revolution that began in the 1960s as a reaction to simple suppression and single-agency hegemony and then evolved into more enlightened programs of fire management. It describes the counterrevolution of the 1980s that stalled the movement, the revival of reform after 1994, and the fire scene that has evolved since then.

The research was sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Joint Fire Science Program.

Source: Friday Flash eNews, Issue 135 | November 20, 2015
The Northeast Regional Strategy Committee has a New Web Site!
Northeastern Region Cohesive Wildland Fire Managaement Strategy web site banner, The Northeast Regional Strategy Committee for the Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy has developed a new Web site! This resource is dedicated to serving its members with up-to-date information; current and past newsletters; and links to both national and regional Cohesive Strategy plans, reports, and other key resources Many thanks go to Matt Frank from Dovetail Partners for setting up this site.

Conferences, Meetings, and Training Opportunities

Conferences and Meetings

January 24-27, 2016 
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Grand Rapids, MI

Burning Issues III Symposium: How do we integrate competing wildland fire objectives in land management and restoration?
February 2-3, 2016
A Symposium hosted by: MI National Guard, Michigan Prescribed Fire Council, Lake States Fire Science Consortium, and Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium
Fort Custer National Training Center, Augusta, MI
Registration information


2016 Wildland Urban Interface Conference
March 8-10, 2016
Peppermill Resort
Reno, NV
Online Registration and Hotel Information

Training Courses 

Fire Training in Michigan from Grand Valley State University
January 8-10 and 15-17, 2016
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Hastings, MI 
Registration Information available November 2015

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 | 304-285-1524 | |
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