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Monday, June 30, 2014

Bringing Back the Best

Liz Struhar, Fire Planning Specialist for the National Park Service Southeast Region, will join the WFM RD&A team again this year.  Her detail begins June 30.  As a planning specialist she supports parks with Fire Management Plan revisions, contracts, Wilderness Minimum Requirements Analyses and Environmental Compliance needs. She also works with budget allocation models and provides some wildfire decision support assistance to parks.  Liz will work for the RD&A through mid August.  She will be working virtually out of her North Florida office for the majority of her detail.  Liz will be working on implementing a prototype Fire Planning and Fuels Management Resource Portal (a website) that is part of a joint effort assigned through the NWCG Interagency Fire Planning Committee and the Fuels Committee.  This Resource Portal is intended to bring together information for Fuels Specialists and Fire Planners to help them locate resources related to challenges they face in their day to day planning tasks as well as a variety of "toolboxes" and career development information to aid in keeping up with ever changing technology and management practices. Liz will also be assisting the WFM RD&A on other projects related to WFDSS and Risk-based decision making. We are looking forward to having Liz as part of our team. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Lead Fire Application Specialist Vacancies Filled

The WFM RD&A is pleased to announce the selections for two Lead Fire Application Specialist positions, Mark Hale and Caroline Noble.  Both began working for the WFM RD&A June 16th- Welcome Mark and Caroline.

Mark Hale on the fire line
Mark comes to us from the Superior National Forest in Minnesota where he served as a Fire Planner and as the Eastern Region Geographic Area Editor for WFDSS for the last 6 years.  Mark has been in fire since 1991 and previously worked as a hotshot and held positions such as Assistant Station Manager, Fuels technician, Fuels Specialist, Forest Aviation Officer, and acted as Forest AFMO, Forest FMO and Regional Fire Operations.  He has an A.S. in Recreation and Wildlife from Hocking Technical College, a B.S. in Fisheries Resources from the University of Idaho, and completed Technical Fire Management in 2006.  Mark will serve in one of our National Fire Decision Support Lead Analyst positions, providing support to decision-makers on wildfires as well as conducting tech transfer duties.

Caroline will be transferring to us from the National Park Service Southern Region where she has served as the Southeast Regional Fire Ecologist for the past fourteen years.  She has previously worked as a Hotshot, Fuels Specialist, Prescribed Fire Specialist, and Assistant Fire Management Officer for both the NPS and the Forest Service.   She has a B.S in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a Masters in Silviculture from the University of Idaho.  Caroline will serve as the lead for our Fuels Program as well as provide support to tech transfer initiatives.  Caroline resides in Tallahassee FL.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WFM RD&A Participates in Mann Gulch Staff Ride

Man Gulch fire Staff Ride participantsMembers of the WFM RD&A participated in a facilitated Staff Ride of the Mann Gulch fire along with the NWCG Fire Behavior Subcommittee and members of the Missoula Fire Science Laboratory, May 18th.  13 firefighters lost their lives on the Mann Gulch fire, reported August 5, 1949 on the Helena National Forest.  15 smoke jumpers and 1 fire guard were caught on the steep gulch slopes when the fire spotted across the drainage below them.  1 fire fighter (Crew Boss Wag Dodge) survived by lying in the ashes of a fire he set in advance of the main fire (an unfamiliar technique at the time).  2 others survived by running to the top of the ridge and taking refuge in the rocky scree slopes on the other side.  Sadly the remaining 13 died as they tried to run from the fire.  The tragedy was a catalyst that set in motion many changes in fire management and research.  The insight gained from walking in the steps of the men that died at Mann Gulch provide powerful lessons in crew dynamics, the fire environment, and fire behavior still today.