A Newsletter for the Southern Prescribed Fire Community
No. 34
July 2019

SERPPAS Principals Meeting
The 2019 SERPPAS Principals Meeting, co-chaired by DoD Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Ms. Maureen Sullivan, and the Commissioner of GA Department of Natural Resources (GADNR), Mr. Mark Williams, was held on June 4-5, 2019 at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama. This meeting included updates on the progress of the SERPPAS Good Map and work group actions based on the 2018 – 2020 SERPPAS Strategic Plan, including the SERPPAS Prescribed Fire Working Group. The Principals were provided an opportunity to share their priorities for the coming year. During the field portion of the meeting, participants saw conservation actions on AL Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (ALDCNR) and AL Forestry Commission (AFC) lands, as well as black hawk helicopter training on a remote training field enabled by the partnership between these state agencies and Fort Rucker. At the meeting, Mr. Williams passed the co-chair role for the next two year term to Mr. Chuck Sykes, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The Principals expressed their commitment to and appreciation of the SERPPAS partnership to advance their missions in the region.

SERPPAS 101 Webinar Recording Available
Want to know more about SERPPAS? A SERPPAS 101 webinar was held on May 20, 2019 and the recording is now available. The webinar focuses on the partnership's history, current efforts, and future direction. 
Southeast Cohesive Fire Management Strategy

Smoke Summits Work Toward Achieving Both Air Quality and Prescribed Fire Goals

By: Holly Campbell, Southern Regional Extension Forestry, Mark Melvin, Jones Center at Ichauway, Jenn Fawcett, North Carolina State Extension, Gary Wood, Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, Scott Davis, US Environmental Protection Agency

The latest Success Story from the Southeast Cohesive Strategy covers the fourth Southeast
Prescribed Fire and Smoke Management Summit. The Summit provides a platform for state prescribed fire and air quality stakeholders to discuss prescribed fire smoke management issues, including identifying solutions to achieve both air quality and prescribed fire goals.
Image: Attendees of Southeast Prescribed Fire and Smoke Management Summit IV in front of a live burn in which they could help conduct.
America's Longleaf Restoration Initiative Releases 2018 Range-Wide Accomplishment Report

The America's Longleaf Restoration Initiative (ALRI) 2018 Range-Wide Accomplishment Report is now available. The report covers ALRI's impact from 2010-2018, including for prescribed burning. It also lays out strategies for moving forward to accomplish the goal of 8 million acres of longleaf pine habitat by 2025.
North Georgia Prescribed Fire Council Hosts First Meeting

The inaugural North Georgia Prescribed Fire Council Meeting held on June 6, 2019 in Jasper, Georgia was a huge success! This meeting, hosted by the Chestatee-Chattahoochee RC&D, was intended to help grow the state council’s efforts in North Georgia. The nearly 200 participants heard presentations on the purpose and history of the Georgia Prescribed Fire Council, the state of fire in Georgia, the benefits of burning for wildlife in hardwoods, prescribed fire seasonality, trends in the state’s air quality program, and the 2018 Farm Bill. Participants included state and federal land managers, NGO’s, forestry consultants and private landowners.

Image: Burner Bob attends the North Georgia Prescribed Fire Council Meeting
Credit: Mike Davis, USDA Forest Service Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
North Carolina Holds Growing Season Prescribed Fire Workshop

The NC Prescribed Fire Council, with support from the NC Forest Service, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, NC State Parks, NC Sandhills PBA, NC State University and the Southern Fire Exchange, hosted the Advanced Growing Season Prescribed Fire Workshop on May 29 & 30 at the Millstone 4-H Camp and Sandhills Game Lands in Ellerbe, NC. Burners learned about parameters and techniques specific to applying fire when plants are actively growing in the spring and summer months. In addition to classroom training, a 50-acre live burn was conducted where the participants rotated through stations focusing on the evaluation of fuel conditions, plant response, smoke management, and firing techniques. Approximately 60 burners with representation from six states including Texas, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina attended the training.

Image: Participants attend the field portion of the Advanced Growing Season Prescribed Fire Workshop
Credit: Carla Freeman, North Carolina Forest Service
Helen Mohr: Fire Tiger
Clemson University's magazine, Clemson World, recently profiled Helen Mohr. Mohr is the director of the Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists ( CAFMS) and a forester with the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station. She is also the creator and program coordinator of Clemson University's Fire Tigers, an extracurricular group that allows students to gain field experience working on wildfires and prescribed fires. The profile covers Mohr's background, her current work, and her hopes and fears for the future of wildland fire and fire science.
Image: Helen Mohr in the field
Credit: Clemson World
Job Corps Centers to Remain Open
In the wake of widespread and bipartisan outcry over a plan to transfer management or close 25 Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers, the Trump Administration has, for now, reversed it's decision. Job Corps Centers provide job training in trades, including wildland fire. A joint statement issued Wednesday, June 19 from the Department of Labor and Department of Agriculture announcing he reversal reads, in part:

" Following robust engagement with stakeholders and Members of Congress regarding the future of the USFS Job Corps centers, USDA has notified DOL that the USFS will evaluate the feedback while reviewing its role in Job Corps management and operation. For the time being, USDA does not intend to transfer these centers to DOL to allow management to determine a pathway that will maximize opportunity and results for students, minimize disruptions, and improve overall performance and integrity."
New 3D Fuel Modeling Helps Predict Fire Behavior
A recent blog post from the USDA Forest Service covers newly developed 3D fuel models that provide land managers a new tool to model forest fuels. Recently tested at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the new tool allows managers to input 3D fuel from this research into fire behavior models, thus providing an opportunity to test ignition patterns for prescribed burns.
Extension Connection
Oklahoma Summer Field Day
The June 13th summer fire field day sponsored by Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association was very successful. There were 130 people in attendance representing five states: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, and Missouri. The majority of participants were landowners, with members from six different prescribed burn associations. There were also representatives from state and federal agencies, tribes, and cooperative extension in attendance. Attendees were separated into to smaller groups and rotated around to different stations, where they learned about topics including: how to conduct growing season burns, summer fire effects on forage and browse quality, impacts to wildlife, and equipment. A tour of the season of burn plots was then conducted by all to learn about forb diversity, seasonal fire effects, pollinators and invasive species. After lunch the weather was perfect for a burn, which was conducted with assistance from several of the participants.

Alabama Cooperative Extension Releases Prescribed Fire Article Series
Alabama Cooperative Extension has released two articles from a four-article series on the importance of prescribed fire in ecosystems of the Southeast. The first article describes the history of prescribed fire and factors associated for a successful burn. The second article focuses on fuel characteristics.

Tools for Engaging Landowners Effectively Releases Guide for Engaging Landowners
Frequently used by Extension professionals, Tools for Engaging Landowners Effectively (TELE), uses social science research to help natural resource outreach professionals better target their programs. TELE recently released Engaging Landowners in Conservation: A Complete Guide to Designing Programs and Communications. This guide is based on TELE's methods, and includes practical ideas and examples of successful outreach projects from across the US.

Image: Participants at the Oklahoma Summer Field Day
Credit: John Weir, Oklahoma State University
Southern Fire Exchange
Southern Fire Exchange Logo
Upcoming Workshop
SFE will host a workshop for landowners on managing duff and prescribed fire at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, NC on August 1, 2019 from 5:00-8:00 PM. Registration is free but required at pbaduffworkshop.eventbrite.com.

Latest Edition of Fire Lines Released
The second issue of the ninth volume of Fire Lines has been released. The issue covers new research on the difference in pine and saw palmetto fine dead fuel moisture dynamics, the latest fire science news from around the region, new tools and technology, events and more.

Webinar Schedule & Recent Recordings
SFE currently has one scheduled webinar. On Thursday, August 1 at 1:00 PM ET Dr. Michael J. Chamberlain of the University of Georgia will discuss Influences of Prescribed Fire on the Ecology of Wild Turkeys. Registration is required.

All past SFE webinars are available on the SFE YouTube page. The recent webinar held in May on Mapping Burned Areas from the Landsat Archive is now available.
Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network
Prescribed Fire-Related Blog Posts
The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network blog publishes a variety of content related to fire adaptation. The following recent posts may be of interest to the prescribed fire community:

Forest Stewards Guild

Pyrodiversity: Women in Fire Management
The Spring 2019 edition of the Forest Stewards Guild magazine, The Forest Steward, focuses on "Women of the Woods." This includes a feature on Pyrodiversity: Women in Fire Management.
Joint Fire Science Program
New Introduction to Fuel Loading Video
The Wildland Fire Education and Training Collaborative (WETC) has released a new video which covers the basics of fuel loading. The video was produced in conjunction with multiple other organizations, including JFSP.

Assessment of Research Needs Related to Wildland Fire Safety
The final report for a JFSP-funded project studying researching needs related to wildland firefighter safety is now available.

Key Findings from the study include:

  • Previous investigations of firefighter entrapment incidents have similar summaries and recommendations
  • The entrapment investigation process and existing data reporting/storage systems are flawed
  • There is likely a substantial under-reporting of entrapment incidents
  • The number of entrapment-related fatalities are decreasing but the number of entrapment incidents are not
  • Factual information from previous entrapments can be used to predict/project future entrapment hazard and risk
Prescribed Fire News Roundup
Proposed NEPA Revisions Would Fast Track Forest Management Projects
National Public Radio summarizes a proposed revision to the National Environmental Policy Act that would allow federal land managers to fast-track certain forest management projects, including prescribed fire.

Forgotten Landscapes: Bringing Back the Rich Grasslands of the Southeast
Yale Environment 360 covers the newly established Southeastern Grasslands Initiative. SGI is working to restore grassland ecosystems that were historically maintained by frequent fire and grazing animals such as bison.

If We Don't Burn it, Nature Will: Georgia Blazes Old Fears, Leads Nation in Prescribed Fire
The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, in partnership with The Telegraph, Climate Central, and Southerly , produced a fantastic piece on Georgia's prescribed fire success.

With Rise in Wildfires, Prescribed Burns May be a Solution
Dr. Crystal Kolden, professor of fire science at the University of Idaho, joins PBS NewsHour Weekend to discuss a new report that shows prescribed fire is being underutilized in the western US.

Downed Timber after Hurricane Michael Poses Ecological Risks
WFSU Public Media covers the concerns over risks from timber that fell during Hurricane Michael, particularly the threat of wildfire as prescribed fire efforts are hampered by the downed timber.

Wildfire Smoke Worse for Kids' Health than Prescribed Burns
Reuters Health reports on a California study that found smoke from wildfires causes more health problems than smoke from prescribed fires.
Funding Opportunities
Close-up of $100 bills
Prescribed Fire and Habitat Management Assistance in North Florida
Wildland Restoration International is available to help public and private landowners and land managers in Florida with prescribed fire and habitat management. WRI is specifically reaching out to private landowners receiving cost share funding from NRCS for prescribed burning who need help getting their contracts completed. Landowners are eligible in the counties of Levy, Alachua, Putnam, Marion, Flagler, Volusia, Lake, Sumter, Hernando, Polk, Osceola, Manatee, Hardee, and Highlands.  If you are interested, contact WRI Fire Program Coordinator Ryan Kennelly at  ryan.kennelly@wildlandrestoration.org or 352-373-0550.

Travel, Research, and Educational Experience (TREE) Grants
The Association for Fire Ecology (AFE) will distribute Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) TREE grants. These are designed to help graduate students travel to present at conferences and workshops related to fire science and management. Applications are due 60 days before the start of the event the applicant would like to attend. Additional information and application link are available on the  AFE website
Webinars, Video, and Other Media
Archived Webinars

More recorded webinars on a variety of fire topics can be found on the Southern Fire Exchange webinar page, the Oak Woodlands and Forests Fire Consortium webinar page, and the Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists webinars and presentations page .
Podcasts & Radio

Podcast Series

  • Learn, Baby, Burn - This new podcast from the Michigan Prescribed Fire Council will cover a variety of prescribed fire topics.
  • The Fire Learning Trail - Introduces listeners to the role of fire in the Southern Appalachians, wildland firefighting, and local history
  • On The Line - Covers topics of interest to wildland firefighters, including mental health, the pack test, and health considerations.
  • Forest Voices - Covers forest stewardship and management topics, including prescribed fire.

Single Episodes

Upcoming Events, Training, and Networking
Prescribed Fire Council Meetings

  • Texas - August 8, 2019, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin. This will be the first annual meeting in Texas. More details coming soon!

  • North Carolina - August 14-15, 2019, Swansboro, NC. This meeting will be a joint meeting with the NC Longleaf Coalition. Registration will open soon.

  • Alabama - September 5, 2019, Jefferson State Community College Chilton-Clanton Campus, Clanton, AL More information and registration coming soon.

  • North Florida - September 18, 2019 - Pearl in the Wild, Tallahassee, FL. Details and registration information will be available approximately one Month prior to the meeting.

  • South Carolina - September 24-25, 2019 - Newberry, SC. A full agenda will be available in August.

  • Central Florida - October 4, 2019, Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, FL More details coming soon.
Prescribed Burner Certification Courses

  • October 1-2, 2019, Statesboro, GA
  • December 3-4, 2019, Jasper, GA

  • Louisiana - Courses are offered through LSU Cooperative Extension Service, though none are currently scheduled.

  • September 24-26, 2019, Starkville MS

  • Virginia - The Virginia Department of Forestry offers the materials for their prescribed fire and smoke management course online. No courses are currently scheduled.
Conferences, Workshops, Festivals and Other Events

  • Ongoing - Fire in the Field, This intermediate firefighter training program (equivalent to NWCG S-131, S-133, and S-231 courses, as well as the G-131 course) is designed to prepare the Firefighter 2 (FFT2) to move to the Firefighter 1 (FFT1) position. 
Job Postings
All jobs are open as of the Driptorch Digest send date, however application reviews may have begun.

AmeriCorps Fire Initiative Staff - The Nature Conservancy is seeking an AmeriCorps members to serve with its Fire Initiative staff over an 11-month period. The work will include participation in numerous Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX) and time on a locally- or regionally-based prescribed fire crew. Details are on the Conservancy’s careers page (job ID 47728); applications are due by July 3. Current Conservancy employees should apply through PeopleSoft.

Veterans Fire Corps - The Student Conservation Association is accepting applications from post-9/11-era US military veterans for its Fire Corps internships. Additional information and the application portal can be found on the  program website.

Various Positions -  Wildland Restoration International  is currently recruiting conservation-minded, NWCG-qualified staff for the following prescribed fire and ecosystem restoration team positions. Please    visit their website  for more information and application instructions.  WRI also has a   subscription option that will notify you by email of job announcements and training opportunities.

Fire Ecology Internships - The Fire Ecology Program at Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy in Tallahassee, FL seeks to provide field and laboratory experience for college students and recent graduates in the areas of plant ecology, ecosystem ecology, and fire ecology and science. Most internships last 12-16 weeks and are largely fieldwork based. Summer interns work from May-August and Fall interns work from October-December.   Get full details and application instructions here.

Online Job Boards 
Partner Newsletters
Find more fire-related information from our friends & partners!

Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers & Scientists Newsletter ( current edition )
Department of Defense Natural Selections Newsletter  ( current edition )
Fire Learning Network  Networker  ( current edition )
Forest Stewards Guild After Wildfire: News & Networking ( current edition  and  subscription link )
Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks LCC Newsletter ( current edition )
Joint Fire Science Program  Fire Science Digest  ( current and archived editions )
LANDFIRE Bulletin & Post Card  ( current edition and subscription form   )
Partners for Conservation News ( current news and subscription form )
REPI Program Newsletter ( current edition and subscription form )
SERPPAS Circular ( current edition )
South Atlantic LCC Newsletter ( current edition )
Southeast Region Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy  ( current edition   )
Southern Fire Exchange  Firelines  Newsletter  ( current edition and subscription link )
Tall Timbers  eNews  and  eJournal
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center Two More Chains  ( current edition )
Contact us to share your prescribed fire information, stories, or events!
Jennifer Fawcett
NC State Extension Forestry
Extension Associate
SERPPAS Prescribed Fire Working Group Coordinator

Laurel Kays
NC State Extension Forestry
Extension Assistant

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