A Newsletter for the Southern Prescribed Fire Community
No. 29
February 2019
Southeast Cohesive Fire Management Strategy
Forest Service and BLM Partnership Provides Prescribed Fire Assistance and Training

By: Holly Campbell, Southern Regional Extension Forestry and and Kelly Cagle, USDA Forest Service-Uwharrie National Forest

A unique partnership between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Uwharrie National Forest got its start during the Fall 2016 wildfires in Western North Carolina. An Idaho BLM crew of five firefighters and their type 3 fire engine arrived to assist in wildfire suppression, working alongside many firefighters from North Carolina. The drought occuring during the fall of 2016 was projected to continue into 2017, so the BLM crew was invited to return and assist with fire suppression. Spring 2017 ended up being wetter than usual, so the BLM crew instead helped accomplish several prescribed burns on the Uwharrie National Forest. The Idaho BLM crew gained valuable prescribed fire experience, raising their qualifications and experience level. The exchange was so successful that it was held again in 2018, with plans to continue in 2019. 
Image: Uwharrie and BLM crew members stop to monitor the last few areas of active fire behavior following a long day of burning
Credit: Kelly Cagle, USDA Forest Service
Image: Uwharrie and BLM crew members stop to monitor the last few areas of active fire behavior following a long day of burning.

Credit: Kelly Cagle, USDA Forest Service
Partial Federal Government Shutdown Has Wide-Ranging Impacts
Image: Past federal government shutdown lengths
Credit: Wildfire Today
The partial federal government shutdown that lasted from December 22, 2018 to January 25, 2019 had substantial impacts to fire management including prescribed fire application, wildland fire training, and more. Wildfire Today's coverage of the shutdown's impacts includes coverage of the functional impacts as well as how the accompanying financial uncertainty impacted federal fire workers and their families. An NPR story published midway through the shutdown details the impacts on wildland fire operations, including missed burn days for prescribed fires and cancelled training events.

Image: Past federal government shutdown lengths
Credit: Wildfire Today
Bark Beetles, Drought, and Prescribed Fire
Image: Graphic from Southern Regional Extension Forestry fact sheet 
Credit: SREF Forest Health Fact Sheet, Bark Beetles, Drought, and Prescribed Fire
The latest fact sheet from Southern Regional Extension Forestry and a recently recorded webinar from the Southern Fire Exchange both address concerns that using prescribed fire, particularly applied after a drought, could overly stress trees and lead to bark beetle outbreaks. Both the fact sheet and webinar conclude, in part, that prescribed fire should not contribute to bark beetle infestations or widespread tree mortality when the fire is planned to minimize severity, or the stand has been well-managed.

Image: Graphic from Southern Regional Extension Forestry fact sheet
Credit: SREF Forest Health Fact Sheet, Bark Beetles, Drought, and Prescribed Fire
Gainesville Fire Festival Kicks off Florida's Prescribed Fire Awareness Week
Image: Observers watch as forest rangers demonstrate a prescribed burn to an area of scrub land at the Austin Cary Forest during the Flatwoods Fire and Nature Festival
Credit: Brad McClenny, The Gainsville Sun
The inaugural Flatwoods Fire & Nature Festival held in Gainsville, FL on Saturday, January 26 brought the public to Austin Cary Memorial Forest for a day of fun and education on the importance of prescribed fire. Co-hosted by many partners including the Southern Fire Exchange and Tall Timbers, the festival included live animals and a demonstration burn that those attending could watch.

The festival was also held on the weekend that kicked off Florida's Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, which lasts from January 27 to February 2. A first-ever Prescribed Fire Field Day, hosted by Hillsborough County Conservation & Environmental Lands Management in Plant City, FL will conclude the week on Saturday February 2 from 10 AM to 2 PM. Intended to be a family-friendly festival, the event will include prescribed fire demonstrations, a helicopter bucket drop, and guided hikes for kids and adults.

Image: Observers watch as forest rangers demonstrate a prescribed burn to an area of scrub land at the Austin Cary Forest during the Flatwoods Fire and Nature Festival
Credit: Brad McClenny, The Gainsville Sun
Prescribed Fire News Roundup
Oregon Approves New Air Quality Rules
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Commissions approved new smoke rules. The Smoke Management Plan would allow some smoke from prescribed burning, as long as it measures well below levels considered harmful for sensitive groups.

Land Acquisition from Deepwater Horizon Settlement Means More Prescribed Fire
The first land acquisition from the Deepwater Horizon settlement in Mississippi is complete, with the state purchasing 1,500 acres of coastal wildlife habitat. This land will be added to the prescribed burning rotation of the surrounding refuges.

Chain Saw Safety After Storms
The latest issue of The Consultant ( the magazine of the Association of Consulting Foresters) featured a helpful article on how to safely use a chain saw while cleaning up after a storm. The article is a helpful reminder for beginners and experienced personnel alike, particularly those who experienced damage during last year's hurricanes.

International Competition Challenges Teens to Consider Wildfires, Climate Change
The New York Academy of Sciences’ Wildfire Challenge asked international teams of teenagers to build solutions that can identify fire-prone areas, recognize fires early and prevent fires from spreading. These "Firebusters" considered options including sensors on electrical equipment and prescribed burning.
Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network
Fire Adapted Communities Logo
Fantastic Failure: Shared Vision, Shattered Trust
The latest Fire Adapted Communities blog post tells the story of a collaboration in northern California that, despite three years of planning and the best of intentions, took a turn for the worse. This failure provided the basis for improved understanding and a foundation for building trust.
Extension Connection
Graphic of people holding hands
Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Training Event Connects Many Partners
A January training program on using prescribed fire to reduce fire risk brought together over 18 fire departments and five prescribed burn associations at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Headquarters. Information was presented by many partners, including Oklahoma State University Prescribed Fire Associate Extension Specialist John Weir.
Tall Timbers Research Station
Tall Timbers Logo
Tall Timbers and Partners Help Local School Restore Longleaf
Thomas County Central High School, with the help of Tall Timbers, the Georgia Forestry Foundation, and the International Forestry Company, has planted two plots of longleaf pine adjacent to its baseball field. The plots will allow students to witness the benefits of prescribed fire and other good forest management practices as the stands age.
Southern Fire Exchange
Southern Fire Exchange Logo
Upcoming Fire Science Workshop
The Southern Fire Exchange will host a duff fire science workshop on June 26, 2019 at Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines, NC. Space is limited and registration is required.

SFE will also be assisting in the Prescribed Fire for Wildlife workshop that will be held in Quincy, FL February 26-28. Registration is required.

Ground Bird Nesting Fact Sheets
As many areas of the South gear up for spring prescribed burning, concerns may arise as to the impacts of prescribed fire on ground nesting birds. Two SFE fact sheets that synthesize research on ground-nesting birds and prescribed fire and specific management concerns for quail, turkey and deer may be helpful in addressing these concerns.

Upcoming Webinars
Upcoming webinars from the Southern Fire Exchange will address a variety of topics related to prescribed fire.

Funding Opportunities
Close-up of $100 bills
Georgia Hurricane Aid Opportunities
The Georgia Forestry Commission is offering emergency assistance to landowners impacted by Hurricane Michael. Two programs are available to help landowners with specific needs: the Forest Debris Management Program and the Forest Access Road & Firebreak Restoration Project. Separate application procedures are required for each program, and must be submitted by February 11, 2019. Full program information and applications are available on the GFC website.

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Grants
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and State Farm Insurance will award up to $500 to work on community wildfire hazard mitigation projects. Funds must be used, at least in part, on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, Saturday, May 4, 2019. Applicants should submit their projects by 11:59 PM ET on March 1.

2019 REPI Challenge Deadline Extended
The Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Challenge has extended the deadline for pre-proposals due to the now-ended partial federal government shutdown. Pre-proposals should now by submitted by Friday, February 8, 2019 at 8 PM ET.

Longleaf Stewardship Fund 2019
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is accepting grant proposals through the Longleaf Stewardship Fund through February 7, 2019 at 11:59 PM ET. Additional information can be found on the program website, and an informational webinar will be held on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 2:00 PM ET. Registration for the webinar is required.

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.
Webinars, Video, and Other Media
Upcoming Webinars

Archived Webinars

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

Podcast Series

  • 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 Burner Certification Courses

  • Georgia - Courses are offered by the Georgia Forestry Commission, with the next course scheduled for May 2-3, 2019 in Moultrie, GA.

  • March 5-7, 2019, Hattiesburg, MS
  • June 18-20, 2019, Pearl, MS
  • September 24-26, 2019, Starkville MS

Conferences, Workshops, Festivals and Other Events

  • May 14-16, 2019 - Southern Blue Ridge Fire Learning Network, Athens, TN

  • May 29-30, 2019 - Prescribed Fire in the Growing Season Advanced Prescribed Fire Workshop, Ellerbe, NC

  • 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.

Various Positions - Atlantic Wildfire Resources LLC is seeking to expand their list of personnel to assist with contracted wildland fire projects in NC and VA. For additional information contact Brandon Price at fire@wildlandforestry.com. Full position information is available  here.

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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