Welcome to the Forest Flyer, an occasional news update from the United States Forest Service International Programs Africa and Middle East Team. To view previous issues of this newsletter, please  click here . For more information about our programs, contact Kathleen Sheridan, Program Coordinator, at kathleen.sheridan@usda.gov
Above, Tim Murphy (center) manages a prescribed burn and incident management team exercise in Helderberg, South Africa.
“What moved me continually was seeing young kids coming out of informal townships, the poorest of the poor, getting jobs, making an income, taking pride in their work and helping to support their families. These young South African firefighters brought a powerful warrior spirit to fighting fire, singing and dancing as they trained and worked; their attitude was impressive, and an important lesson for the American instructors,” said Tim. 
Improving Lives through Disaster Response, Work Force Development, and Partnerships – Meet Tim Murphy
Born in the city of Butte, Montana and raised in nearby Anaconda, Tim Murphy never expected to wander far from his family home. Instead, after 25 technical missions to southern Africa, Tim may have more friends in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana than in the United States.

For the past 15 years, Tim has been at the helm of the Southern Africa All Hazards Program , a partnership supported by both the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, which ended in 2018. In collaboration with the South African company Working on Fire , the program helped several southern African countries develop a national approach to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to and recover from disasters.

Through the Southern Africa All Hazards Program, seasoned U.S. disaster response specialists like Tim trained more than 5,000 young men and women to become emergency responders. The preparation and training should put an end to devastating fires like the 2001 Kruger National Park fire that killed 21 people and caused extensive damage to villages and infrastructure.
Above, Fouad Assali (left) participates in a U.S. Forest Service fire management study tour to the Ocala National Forest in Florida.
“U.S. Forest Service experts have contributed significantly to making us love the profession of being fully engaged as a forest fire protector. Regarding specifically t he fight against forest fires, we affirm that ICS [Incident Command System] is an exemplary mode of organization to face disasters,” said Assali.   
The U.S. State Department Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs funds U.S. Forest Service programs in Morocco. For more information, please contact Angela Trujillo angelatrujillo@fs.fed.us.
U.S. - Moroccan Partnership Leads to Improved Fire Management
Fouad Assali is one of Morocco’s preeminent wildfire management specialists. He fields calls and requests from all levels of government and international partners at all hours of the day and night with grace, humility, good humor, and an incredible sense of diplomacy. When the U.S. Forest Service approached the Moroccan High Commission on Water, Forests and Combating Desertification to initiate a technical cooperation program on wildfire management in 2012, Assali and his team were obvious partners for the endeavor. 
The U.S.-Moroccan partnership exemplifies U.S. Forest Service technical assistance abroad. Both the Moroccan High Commission and the U.S. Forest Service recognized the increasing severity of forest fires in Mediterranean-type ecosystems and committed to a shared vision for approaching the problem. The program uses a simple model for engagement that follows three main guidelines: 1. a clear, step-by-step list of objectives, 2. engagement and involvement of qualified human resources and monitoring of achievements, and 3. support from leadership to mobilize human resources and funding as needed. A major success of this approach was the development of the National Center for Forest Climate Risk Management in Rabat, which the High Commission established in 2016 to improve coordination and management of forest fire response and climate risk in Morocco. U.S. Forest Service experts worked with the High Commission staff to implement institutional structure, standard operation procedures, and fire operations guides for the center.