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


Chief Fire Warden

Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation


Maureen Brooks


U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area S&PF


Larry Mastic

Coordinator, Northeast Region

Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

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December 2017

Managing New Jersey's Forests for Resiliency: Let's Come Together
Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network logo.

A bird sits on a branch.
(Courtesy photo from Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network)

William F. Brash, Jr.
November 30, 2017

As a young boy, I hiked, hunted and trapped. It was common to hear quail and grouse in young forests as sparrowhawks flew overhead. Today, these birds are rare in New Jersey's forests and have been replaced by species like pileated woodpeckers, which feed on larvae beneath the bark of old, weakened trees.

An Aging Forest
The Pine Barrens of New Jersey is a 1.1 million-acre fire adapted ecosystem. It evolved with periodic fire, which renewed the forest and created a patchwork of different stand ages and sizes. The resulting mosaic supported a myriad of plant and animal species. Fast forward, and our exclusion of periodic fire and the lack of forest thinning leaves us with an old forest infested with pine beetles, which are native but are more likely to kill weak (i.e., old and dense) trees. The result is a massive fuel accumulation that has been described by an article in the Rolling Stone as potentially catastrophic. As Figure 1 shows, New Jersey's forests are becoming primarily large and mature.

USGS on Fire: It's not a matter of "if," it's a matter of "more fire science data please!"
USGS logo with text that reads science for a changing world. 

Text on top of a wildfire image that reads USGS on Fire, It's not a matter of it, it's a matter of more fire science data please.
(Courtesy photo from USGS)

November 30, 2017

Visit our new USGS fire webpage to learn how USGS fire science is making a difference.

It was a catastrophic, often heartbreaking equation at work in northern California these last few months: dryness or drought + vegetation + hotter temperatures + wind = wildfire.

Wine country residents had little warning when wildfires ignited early October, late on a Sunday night, rapidly spreading with wind gusts as high as 50 miles per hour. A 5-year drought left the region parched. And last winter's heavy rains, though a welcome relief, kick-started abundant vegetation growth, which then dried out over the hot, dry summer and early fall.

The fire's toll is tragic and devastating: more than 40 people confirmed dead and thousands of homes and business destroyed over the 100,000 acres burned. We know it's not a question of "if" it will burn, but rather what can we do to better be prepared. Science helps answer this question, and in the process can also saves lives, property and money.

TED Talk: Why Wildfires Have Gotten Worse - and What We Can Do About It
Black banner with TED in red letters and text that reads ideas worth sharing.
Image of a wildfire burning through woods with text on top that reads Why wildfires have gotten worse - and what we can do about it.
(Courtesy photo from TED)

View and listen to this recent TED talk on wildfires (14 minutes): "Megafires are the result of the way we've managed this western landscape over the last 150 years in a steadily warming climate. Much of the destruction that we are currently seeing could actually have been avoided."

New CPAW Communities Announced for 2018
Logo for the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire program that includes text that reads Helping Communities Better Planthe WIldland-Urban Interface.
United States map showing the location of communities that participate in the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire program.

Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire [CPAW] is pleased to announce the selection of eight communities for participation in the program in 2018. The communities are:
  • Deadwood, South Dakota
  • Los Alamos, New Mexico
  • Mammoth Lakes, California
  • Ocean Township, New Jersey
  • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  • San Luis Valley, Colorado
  • Sisters, Oregon
  • Wasco County, Oregon
Joining 18  communities already participating in the CPAW program, the eight cities and counties selected for 2018 will receive customized assistance over the course of one year.  Assistance includes land use plannng support and recommendations, training and capacity building, risk assessments, and/or specialized research and science.

CPAW assistance is voluntary and provided at the request of the local government. Local jurisdictions retain sole authority for implementation of any land use planning recommendations provided through CPAW. CPAW services come at no cost to the community.

In Conversation with #WomeninAg: Shawna A. Legarza
USDA logo and the text U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tomasina Brown, Special Assistant, Office of Communications in Initiatives

November 7, 2017
A woman in firefighting gear talks with two others firefighters in gear.
Shawna giving San Juan Hotshots directions on where they would attack the fire. (USDA photo)

Every month, USDA shares the story of a woman in agriculture who is leading the industry and helping other women succeed along the way. This month, we hear from Shawna A. Legarza. Shawna is currently the Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the U.S. Forest Service. Shawna was raised on a cattle ranch in Northern Nevada and entered the firefighting profession as an engine crewmember for the Bureau of Land Management. She has 29 years of experience in fire and aviation management and has held numerous leadership positions in a wide variety of regions for both the Bureau of Land Management and the USDA Forest Service.

Chief's Honor Awards 2017: Honorable Mention - New York Southern Pine Beetle Management Team
November 9, 2017

Editor's Note: This effort included the Forest Health Working Team of the Northeast Forest Fire Protection Compact.
Banner that reads Chief's Honor Awards 2017 Sustaining Our Forests and Grasslands.
Closeup photo of pine beetle specimens.
An adult Southern pine beetle. (Forest Service photo) 
WASHINGTON --  The Southern pine beetle [SPB] is one of the most destructive pine insect pests in North America. While the beetle is endemic to the Southeastern United States, warming temperatures in recent years have allowed it to expand its range. The first time the SPB was found infesting trees outside of its known range (link is external) was in New York on the Wertheim Wildlife Refuge and several other sites on Long Island in 2014. To meet this challenge, entomologist Kevin Dodds, along with state, and federal colleagues, built a team of local and national scientists, managers, administrators, and stakeholders to advance science-based management of this climate-induced expansion. The team worked to gain public trust and responded to the threat using conventional and unconventional tools, including rapid deployment of a Forest Health Working Team mobilized under the Northeast Forest Fire Protection Compact. Overall, in less than a year, the team stood up a program that has successfully installed SPB suppression, prevention, research, and outreach. Suppression started within months of the first SPB detection. The resulting program is restoring rare landscapes while reducing the spread of the SPB.

Science is Changing the Way We Talk About the Home Ignition Zone
NFPA and Xchange logos. 

November 13, 2017
Illustration of zones around a home where wildfire can ignite.
This past year, the NFPA worked with curriculum developers and instructors to revise the Assessing Structure Ignition Potential from Wildfire (HIZ) course. These revisions were based on scientific experiments and post fire evaluations that examined how homes burned during a wildfire.

As we've shared in previous blogs and resources, embers and small flames from low intensity surface fires continue to be the primary sources of ignition. What has changed is what we call the focus areas within the HIZ, where they are located, and the emphasis on the HOME as the most important component to address.

Second Annual National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop
Head and shoulders picture of a man.
The International Association of Wildland Fire, in
International Association of Wildland Fire logo.
partnership with the Wildland Fire Leadership Council an d the Western, Southeast, and Northeast Regions of the Cohesive Strategy, invites you to join us at the 2nd Annual National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop to be held March 26-29, 2018, in Reno, NV.

Regular registration fee: $125 (Before March 1, 2018)
Regular registration fee: $175 (After March 1, 2018)

Note to U.S. Forest Service Employees: The deadline to go through the required Forest Service Meetings Management process to gain approval to attend has now passed.

Other agencies may also quality for waived registration; please contact us  for more information.

Megan's Corner - December 2017
LANDFIRE logo and the text In the Northeast.
Here are some recent NE LANDFIRE highlights:
  • I'm hosting a workshop at the Stewardship Network Conference with Robert Ziel and Persephone Whelan on January 14. We are going to dig into LANDFIRE's fire behavior fuel model datasets, the fuel model critique done at the Huron Manistee National Forest, and how the LANDFIRE Total Fuels Change Tool supported this effort. The purpose is to bring together folks interested in this type of work, familiarize them with the tools available as well as on-the-ground examples, and hopefully establish further collaborations. See more on the forum.
  • At a recent Minnesota Incident Command System meeting, I learned about a super slick and powerful online modeling tool, the Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System (IFTDSS). It allows you to easily create landscape (.LCP) files, edit fuel model rulesets, plan treatments, run fire behavior models (only FlamMap Basic as of now), generate reports, and even more coming soon (including risk assessment). See more on the forum
  • Thank you for contributing to the LANDFIRE applications spreadsheet that Henry Bastian initiated and that many helped circulate. This is very helpful for demonstrating the need for the LANDFIRE program and fostering continued support. If you know of a LANDFIRE application that was not submitted through this process, please fill out the spreadsheet linked on my post.
  • I'm excited to see many of you at the NE RSC face-to-face and Igniting Exchange in January! I'll be sharing more about this fuel modeling work and highlighting the work done at the Huron Manistee National Forest.

Conferences, Meetings, and Training Opportunities


Conferences and Meetings


78th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference
January 28-31, 2018
Milwaukee, WI

Igniting Exchange: Bridging the Gap between Science and Management
January 30 - February 1, 2018
Portland, ME

(Registration Now Open)
February 6-7, 2018 
Fort Custer National Training Center
Battle Creek, MI 

2nd Annual Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (WI-TREX)
April 9-25, 2018
Registration Form at link above
Applications due by February 16, 2018
Selections will be made by March 1, 2018
Wisconsin (various locations)


Wildland Urban Interface Conference
February 27 - March 1, 2018
Peppermill Resort
Reno, NV

2nd Annual National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop
Making a Difference; Building Capacity, Improving Preparedness, and Learning From Experience
March 26-29, 2018
Peppermill Resort Spa Casino
Reno, NV

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? 


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