January 23, 2018

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day - May 5, 2018

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

2018 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day banner

Get ready to be a part of something big! National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day will mark its fifth anniversary in 2018.  

Commit a couple of hours, or the entire day, and watch as your actions positively contribute to reducing your community’s wildfire risk. Challenge your friends, your family, relatives, faith-based group or youth organization to develop a project and join others throughout the nation in making big changes. Your efforts will help raise wildfire awareness, promote collaboration and bring neighbors together to work on projects that can help protect homes, neighborhoods and entire communities from future wildfire risk or current post-fire impacts.
For more information, go to: Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

September 20, 2017

Compendiums of Landscape Scale Conservation Efforts Now Available

To ensure healthy ecosystems across the urban-to-rural continuum and across ownerships, the U.S. Forest Service works with partners towards shared landscape conservation goals.
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. --- Three publications on landscape scale conservation efforts are now available online. "Federally Led Landscape Scale Conservation Initiatives in the Northeast and Midwest" provides an inventory of initiatives led by the U.S. Forest Service and other Federal agencies. "Multi-State Priority Areas in the Northeast and Midwest" and "Multi-State Priority Issues in the Northeast and Midwest" each summarize the priorities that State Forestry agencies identified in their 2010 State Forest Action Plans.

Landscape scale conservation occurs when landowners pursue common goals across large blocks of land. The three documents are valuable for updating State Forest Action Plans, for identifying projects to submit for competitive grants and other funding, and to help identify existing partnerships as well as opportunities for cooperation. View the compendiums on the Landscape Scale Conservation in the Northeast and Midwest page of the Northeastern Area's Web site.

June 14, 2017

New GAO Report on Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Released

GAO reviewed implementation of the Cohesive Strategy last year and has released its findings. The three Regional Coordinators were included in the interviews by the GAO Wildland Fire Team and provided input and examples of implementation from our Regions. Documents and information from the report can be viewed at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-357

May 8, 2017

NE RSC Members Present at the 1st National Cohesive Strategy Workshop

Submitted by Larry Mastic, NE RSC Coordinator

Dr. Inga La Puma, Science Communication Director, North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange; and Mr. Tom Parent, Executive Director , Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact represented the Northeast Regional Strategy Committee (NE RSC) at the first annual National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop in Reno, Nevada on April 25, 2017.

Dr. Inga La Puma and Mr. Tom Parent the Cohesive Strategy Workshop; Photo by L. Mastic, April 25, 2017

Inga presented: “Spatial Wildfire History: New Jerseys Hidden Resource”. She explained how New Jersey’s pinelands are not well known nationally as an area where wildfire regularly occurs, but is a highly volatile ecosystem in the most densely populated state in the U.S. She described how the pinelands provide a preview of issues arising in similar areas under increasing population pressures and highlight the need for appropriate scientific tools to address WUI challenges. Her talk covered the creation of a 90-year spatial wildfire history database of the pinelands, with maps of areas showing the highest wildfire frequency as well as areas with the longest fire free time periods and potential fuel buildup. She demonstrated the usefulness of maintaining or initiating a spatial fire history for any jurisdiction, and how direct applications of this type of spatial data can be used. These include landscape level planning, community level wildfire risk-reduction, wildfire response prioritization, and habitat restoration.

Tom presented:  “Facilitating Insect & Disease Research & Management Through Forest Fire Compacts”. Tom explained how the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact has been successful in implementing interstate and international mobilizations of forest health specialists. Issues addressed included Asian Longhorn Beetle (ALB), Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Southern Pine Beetle (SPB), and Spruce Budworm (SB). His presentation explained the compact structure of interagency cooperation, provided examples of successful forest health mobilizations addressing mitigation and research purposes, and described the national and international nature of the Alliance of Forest Fire Compacts, and identified future opportunities for Wildland Fire Cohesive Strategy initiatives.

February 18, 2017

Public Attitudes on Issues Affecting American Forests

Presentation given on 1/26/2017 to staff of The Nature Conservancy’s Restoring America’s Forests as part of monthly educational webinar series Slides, graphs, concepts, and data are property of The Nature Conservancy. Use for professional educational purposes is encouraged, please credit “The Nature Conservancy” on each instance of use.

If you have questions, please email JSchwedler@tnc.org and/or LGreenwood@tnc.org as your first point of contact. A recording of the full presentation as given is available upon request.

See the TNC forest issues natural survey analysis

November 15, 2016

National Fire Academy Application Period Open:  WUI and Wildland Fire Courses

The U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) National Fire Academy (NFA) offers a variety of courses that focus on WUI issues and wildland firefighting.  On-campus students can receive specialized training courses and advanced management programs of national impact offered in a classroom setting at our Emmitsburg, MD, campus. Courses can be offered in an off-campus classroom setting, providing the same courses taught in Emmitsburg but delivered in your state to provide you with the opportunity to attend NFA training closer to home.  Through NFA Online, you can receive career-enhancing, self-paced training at home.

Resident Course Offerings 

This is a six-day course for people who have organizational responsibility for wildland urban interface (WUI) risk-reduction operations in their agency or jurisdiction. The course will provide students with the ability to create and sustain a fire-adapted community (FAC) located within a WUI.

Course outcomes will include:
·         Coalition to address the WUI and create FACs.
·         Create a Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
·         Facilitate partnerships, improve networking and enhance resource allocation abilities that address WUI fire risks/issues.
·         Pre-fire communication and planning between government agencies, local jurisdictions and the community at large is essential in creating an FAC.
·         Improve quality of life and vitality within the local community.

Selection criteria:  This course is for those who have organizational responsibility for WUI risk-reduction operations in their agency or jurisdiction. Open to federal, tribal, state and local government officials including fire and emergency services, state and municipal planners, forestry management, environmental specialists, community risk-reduction specialists, and public educators.

Note:  Local jurisdictions are encouraged to submit applications for community risk reduction teams (limited to five persons) to include positions such as land-use planners, forest planners, natural resource managers, WUI coordinators, public information officers, fire department wildfire representatives.
Priority selection will be given for up to three teams (of five) per course offering. Applications must be submitted together, be approved, and be signed by the head of a sponsoring organization, with a cover letter indicating that they are applying as a team.

Prerequisites:  Incident Command System (ICS)-100-level and ICS-200-level training. Preferred courses are Q0462 and Q0463, available through NFA Online at www.usfa.fema.gov/training/nfa/courses/online.html.  Chief’s signature attests that the applicant has completed this required training.

Upcoming scheduled offerings
Two first semester (October 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017) courses have vacancies as of this writing. Interested students should apply as soon as possible. 
·         November 27, 2016 - December 2, 2016
·         March 5 - 10, 2017

One second semester course has been posted, but more may be added in 2017. The application deadline is December 15, 2016. 
·         May 14 - 16, 2017

How to apply:
The application period for our second semester (April 1, 2017 – Sept. 30, 2017) courses is open from October 15 – December 15, 2016. Here’s how to apply for courses and get a Student Identification Number.

Student stipends:
Students may be eligible to receive stipends to offset a portion of the expense of attendance at certain training courses. For more information about stipends and eligibility, refer to the USFA website at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/training/nfa/about/training_costs.html.

Online Courses

USFA offers many online WUI and wildland firefighting courses; some offered through the NFA course catalog and others via the NFA Online Self Study Learning Management System (LMS). 

Students can access the following courses through the NFA Online courses catalog at https://apps.usfa.fema.gov/nfacourses/catalog/search?&&forget=true&courseCode=Q. Additional courses are under development and will be posted to this site when ready.
·         Q-2100 Wildland Urban Interface Preparedness/Mitigation Series: Set 1.1
·         Q-617 ICS Simulation Series: Wildland Fire

In partnership with NWCG, USFA hosts the following courses via the NFA Online Self Study Learning Management System (LMS). To apply for these courses, students must register with the LMS at https://nfa.plateau.com/learning/user/login.jsp

NWCG Public Courses:
·         NWCG Mountain Flying Training (2013) Online
·         NWCG L-180, Human Factors in the Wildland Fire Service (2014) Online
·         NWCG S-260 (V5), The Interagency Incident Business Management (2015) Online 
·         NWCG S-110, Basic Wildland Fire Orientation 2014
·         NWCG S-130, Firefighter Training (2008) Online Component
·         NWCG S-190, Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior (2008) Online
·         NWCG S-230, Crew Boss (Single Resource) (2012) Online Component
·         NWCG S-231, Engine Boss (Single Resource) (2012) Online Component

IQCS Courses available only to NWCG students:
·         NWCG IQCS: Account Manager (2016) Online
·         NWCG IQCS: FMO/Certifying Official (2016) Online
·         NWCG IQCS: Group Leader/Supervisor (2016) Online
·         NWCG IQCS: Training Officer/Training Coordinator/Nomination Coordinator (2016) Online

Wildland Training Skills Crosswalk for Structural Firefighters

The Wildland Training Skills Crosswalk for Structural Firefighters, developed with the NWCG, identifies critical wildland firefighting skills that structural firefighters need to be safe and effective in an initial attack on a wildland fire in their jurisdiction or when working with state and federal wildland firefighters.

The Crosswalk compares National Fire Protection Association structural firefighting standards with National Wildfire Coordinating Group wildland firefighting Position Task Books. It identifies wildland skills and knowledge that qualified and experienced firefighters would not already have acquired through their structural firefighting training.

By incorporating a structural firefighter’s existing fire suppression knowledge and skills, use of the Crosswalk:
·         Reduces required classroom hours.
·         Makes efficient use of limited training hours.
·         Reduces course content redundancies between wildland and structural fire suppression training.
USFA offers free training materials for delivery of the following wildland structural firefighting courses:
·         Company Officer (G330)
·         Non-Supervisory Structural Firefighters: Advanced (G131)
·         Non-Supervisory Structural Firefighters: Basic ( G130)
·         Strike Team/Task Force Leader (G231)

Though the Skills Crosswalk training program is undergoing revision, current materials are still available.  For more information and to order these training materials, please email us.  Also see https://www.usfa.fema.gov/training/other/ for further information. 

Where to Find Additional Information

O-305, Type 3 All-Hazards Incident Management Team Course
All-Hazard Incident Management Teams (AHIMT) play an essential role in the management of, and response to, local/regional/national emergencies, natural disasters and public events.  The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) provides professional development support and technical assistance to teams/agencies in order to help AHIMT members obtain the knowledge and skills needed to perform effectively as a team under stressful, dynamic conditions.  The course is delivered in the field and is conducted by a host agency.  For more information on how to host an O-305 course, see current course offering, or to further develop your Type 3 AHIMT, visit the USFA AHIMT website at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/training/imt/.

For any additional information regarding training and professional development opportunities available through USFA and the NFA, please refer to the Training and Professional Development link on USFA’s website at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/training/.

Also visit our online WUI Toolkit at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/wui_toolkit/.

Submitted by:  Patti Blankenship, Technical Advisor, DHS/FEMA/U.S. Fire Administration, and Chair, Cohesive Strategy National Strategic Committee

The following USFA staff contributed to this article: Juliann Frantz, NFA Online System Administrator, National Fire Academy; Phyllis Krietz, WUI Program Specialist, National Fire Programs Division; Jeff Soule’, AHIMT Program Manager, National Fire Programs Division; Woody Stratton, Training Specialist and WUI:FAC Course Manager, National Fire Academy