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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Forest Fire Compacts

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February 2018

A View from the Field: An Interview with Mike Kern
Banner that reads Northeast Region Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.  
Devin Wanner, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

February 2018

A man poses for a picture in the woods.
Mike Kern. (Courtesy photo by Karen Kern) 
Mike Kern, Division of Forest Fire Protection Chief, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry

Michael Kern is the Chief of the Division of Forest Fire Protection for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry. He also serves as the Chief Forest Fire Warden. His Division is responsible for providing wildfire protection and the associated preparedness and coordination duties on the 16-million acres of State and private wildlands within the Commonwealth. The Division also provides oversight to the statewide prescribed fire program and coordinates burn plan reviews for all agencies, organizations, and private landowners.

Kern has worked in the state wildland fire program since 2007; prior to that he was a forester with the Bureau of Forestry for several years. Kern earned his degree in Forest Management from Penn State and currently resides in rural Pennsylvania with his wife and two daughters.

What are some of the challenges for the wildland fire program in your state/agency?
Our biggest challenges here in Pennsylvania involve working with cooperators. The sheer number of not only Federal and State partners, but especially local cooperators, can be overwhelming at times. We have 67 counties and about 2,500 local municipalities, each with their own form of government. On top of that there are approximately 1,800 local fire departments, most of which are rural, volunteer departments. Working with these diverse stakeholders on wildland fire issues has been challenging.

Megan's Corner - February 2018
LANDFIRE logo and the text In the Northeast.  
Here's some recent NE LANDFIRE highlights:

Data call: It's that time of year again to send your data to LANDFIRE. The current call cutoff is 3/21/18 (though we encourage this at all times of the year!). It is SO important to send LANDFIRE data about vegetation and disturbances on the ground to inform their mapping. Do you want LANDFIRE trying to figure out what's on your landscape from a satellite image, or do you want to tell them what is actually there? Here are some of the datasets that we submitted from our region last year. If you are unfamiliar with Remap, how data is used, or how to submit it, check out the   Remap briefing paper I prepared last year, or the last page of the Northeast LANDFIRE Quick Guide, both of which link to relevant pages on I and the LANDFIRE program have also produced a new visual and description on how plot data improves LANDFIRE mapping. Contact me with any questions and please copy me on data submissions e-mailed to Brenda Lundberg.

LiDAR: In LANDFIRE's January postcard, they shared more information on how LiDAR data is being used in the Remap, along with a descriptive schematic, which I've also posted on the Google forum. On that same forum thread, I showed you that our region was completely missing any LiDAR data within one mapping tile in New York State. I've worked with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) to gather LiDAR data from that area, which was shipped across the country to Sioux Falls, SD, on January 19. Thank you so much to April Marinov and her colleagues at NY DEC. A map of the LiDAR coverage submitted is also on the same LiDAR forum thread.

Fuel critique "how to" workshop: The recent workshop I hosted at the Stewardship Network Conference in Lansing, MI, may have had few attendees but was a great success: The Huron Manistee National Forest is now working with the Michigan DNR to calibrate fuels data of the whole lower peninsula of Michigan together. I also recorded all the presentations to share widely since they are applicable throughout our region (see three videos posted so far). The guest speakers were fantastic in describing fire behavior fuel models, why a local calibration is necessary, and a new online tool that streamlines the process. You can access the videos as well as presentations and supporting files here.

More info on fuel model critiques: I recently found this article by some of our LANDFIRE local data modification experts, Kori Blankenship and Don Helmbrecht, which beautifully describes the need for local data calibration and some guidance on how to begin. It may be focused on an Idaho example, but the work at Huron Manistee in Michigan has a very similar story.

Canadian fuels dataset for the Upper Great Lakes: Lots of action here and will update when we are ready to share. We will definitely be looking for feedback from folks in this group.


One New York Firewise USA ® Site Blazes a Trail for Wildfire Safety in the State
NFPA and Firewise USA logos.
Faith Berry, Associate Project Manager, NFPA Wildfire Division

January 26, 2018

chatted with Heidi Wagner, a community organizer for Cragsmoor, an award-winning New York Firewise USA® site (founded 10 years ago and the only one in the State) who has been helping residents there spearhead efforts to improve their wildfire safety. She spent the entire summer last year completing 22 individual Home Ignition Zone assessments as part of a project using a U.S. Forest Service grant the community received to reduce its wildfire risk.

Flowers and other plants grow in a garden behind a bench on a sunny day.
Cragsmoor's Wildfire Safety Demonstration Garden. (Courtesy photo by Heidi Wagner)
What Can New Jersey Learn from California's Deadly Wildfires?
Logo for The

William Edwards

January 10, 2018

[Reprinted with permission from The]

California wildfires again were front-page news in December. Huge wildfires burned from Los Angles down to San Diego; most were contained by the end of the year. We saw large, expensive homes threatened or outright burned down by the fires. Some fires are only halted when they reach the Pacific Ocean.

Santa Rosa, Calif., was decimated this past fall by wildfires. According to The New York Times, over 5,700 buildings were destroyed in northern California, 2,800 in Santa Rosa alone. According to the  Los Angeles Times, there were 42 confirmed deaths caused by these fires.

I have been asked a few times if this type of disaster could happen in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. My answer is that it is certainly possible, just not as probable. Let's take a look at what circumstances are different and what factors are similar.

Read the full commentary.

Fire Narratives: Are Any Accurate?
Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network logo.

January 25, 2018

Aerial view of a neighborhood affected by wildfire.
When explaining the "wildfire problem," people increasingly point to the expanding wildland-urban interface. Research forester Dr. Sarah McCaffrey explores some of the data, and counterarguments, surrounding that narrative. (Courtesy photo by David Loeffler, United States National Guard shared via Flickr Creative Commons, of Santa Rosa neighborhoods after the 2017 Tubbs Fire)

How you tell a story influences what conclusions people draw from it (think Aesop's Fables). Over the past decade, the overarching American wildfire narrative has become fairly focused on three dynamics: fuels buildup due to suppression, climate change, and the expanding wildland-urban interface (WUI). But what are these narratives based on?

There is a fair bit of research and debate as to when and where fuel overloading and climate change will have the most influence, in fact too much to be easily citable here. However, according to research for a paper that I'm developing with  Matt Thompson of the Rocky Mountain Research Station and  Courtney Schultz of Colorado State University, few data support the WUI story. Specifically, only limited data support the arguments for why and how the WUI is contributing to the wildfire problem.

Wildland Firefighter Perceptions Regarding Health and Safety Issues on the Fire Line logo.
Friday Flash eNews Issue 231

December 27, 2017

A line of firefighters in yellow gear walks in a line on a sunny day.
(Courtesy photo by
Dr. Brooks and his graduate student, including Callie Collins recently gathered survey data from working Wildland Fire Fighters (WLFF) specifying their concerns about the dangers of wildland firefighting. An online survey was conducted in spring 2017 and then followed up with a pilot study examining sleep, fatigue and body composition.

Results of the survey found the main factors contributing to accidents during fire operations (self-reported) were fatigue (physical and mental) and inadequate sleep. Sleep/fatigue data collected during the pilot study during the month of July alone indicated that WLFF spent 42.6% of their time under impaired conditions with reaction times slowed by as much as 34-100%, which is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05-0.11% or higher.

Second Annual National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop
Head and shoulders picture of a man.
International Association of Wildland Fire logo. The International Association of Wildland Fire, in  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.
Conferences, Meetings, and Training Opportunities

Conferences and Meetings


February 26 - March 2, 2018
South Portland, ME
Deadline for nominations is February 2, 2018
Deadline for financial form is February 23, 2018
March 13, 2018
MN Interagency Fire Center
Grand Rapids, MN
Cost: $20 SFEC members, $40 others
Lunch will not be provided
Registration, More Information

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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