NAFSE April 2016 Newsletter
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In this month's Newsletter:
NAFSE's Activities: Graduate Student Group Established
NAFSE's two upcoming webinars: Register now!
NAFSE's Oak Capstone Workshop: Registration and travel funding available
New Tool for WUI Communities
In The News: Rolling Stones article on NJ fire, goats, students, and longer fire seasons
Upcoming Events: Conferences, webinars, training courses
One Fire Day: Neil Gifford's Albany Pine Bush Experience
North Atlantic Fire Science Resource Highlight: How to design a prescribed fire demonstration area
Graduate Student Group Established

In February, NAFSE held a conference call and invited all graduate students studying fire science in the North Atlantic region to participate. The goal was to begin a discussion on the needs of graduate students working in our region and how NAFSE could help. As a result of the call, NAFSE put together a short survey with the main ideas of the conversation to help us prioritize our activities. 

Here are the top five needs of graduate student fire scientists in our region:
  1. Provide travel funds for students
  2. Highlight student work in newsletters
  3. Assist students in contacting managers related to research 
  4. Establish a virtual lab group to discuss research.
  5. Act as a regional Association of Fire Ecology student group.
We are excited to help our graduate students become a cohesive group in the North Atlantic and to help establish their voice. We plan to continue these conference calls every other month. Please contact Erin Lane at to join this group or to receive updates on developments. If you require funds to attend an event related to the NAFSE mission, fill out our form here to request funding.

Register for our next webinar now!

Fauna and fire at Montague Plains (MA)

Presented by: Dave King and Joan Milam, UMass research wildlife biologists

  • Thursday, May 19th, 12:00 - 1:00 PM ET
In this webinar, Dave King and Joan Milam will discuss the impacts of fuels reduction and habitat restoration on bees, songbirds, whippoorwills, hognose snakes, butterflies, and moths at Massachusetts' Montague Plains.

Register Here!

Finding the Best Science Available on Fire Ecology and Fire Regimes in Eastern Ecosystems

Presented by:  Robin Innes and Ilana Abrahamson, USDA Forest Service

  • Wednesday, July 27th 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET

Join us for this informative webinar in cooperation with Lake States Fire Science Consortium and Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists highlighting the new fire features of the Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). Read more...

Register Here!

NAFSE's Oak Capstone Workshop

Mixed white, black and scarlet oaks - Photo credit: Bob Williams

Fire in Oak Workshop - Regional Differences, Local Applicability

Our agenda is packed full of great field stops and the best speakers. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from managers and scientists about Fire and Oak issues in the North Atlantic region. How does our region differ from other oak habitats? How is it the same? What is the latest research on the topic and how can it be applied on the ground? What are some manager needs in the oak-fire science world? We hope to answer all of these questions and more in June in Westborough, MA at the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Building. Activities will consist of one full day for our field trip, and a second indoor day with talks and panels. Hope to see you there! 
  • June 15th-16th, 2016 Westborough, MA
New Tool for WUI communities
Fire Adapted Communities Self Assessment Tool
If you’re a leader in making your community more wildfire resilient, the FAC SAT can help. This assessment tool can be used to assess individual neighborhoods, cities and even large counties.

FAC SAT is designed to help community members:

  • Identify their community’s values at risk;
  • Identify their community’s capacity to implement FAC activities;
  • Assess any gaps or limitations in funding, resources, partnerships and workforce/volunteers;
  • Prioritize future fire adaptation activities;
  • Complement other work plans; and
  • Increase understanding of long-term community fire adaptation needs.
In the News:

Will America's Worst Wildfire Disaster Happen in New Jersey? - Rolling Stones Magazine
Wildfires, Once Confined to a Season, Burn Earlier and Longer - NYTimes article
Stockton Students Observe Prescribed Fire in NJ - Philly Enquirer photos
The Smokey Generation: A Wildland Fire Oral History and Digital Storytelling Project -website
Goats Used to Reduce Fuels - news video
 Upcoming Events

Conferences of interest: 

Southern Blue Ridge Fire Learning Network Workshop
  • May 17th - May 19, 2016

This workshop will be held in the Great Smoky and Unaka Mountains Landscape with a field tour of project areas in the Cherokee National Forest. 

Register here!

International Conference on Forest Fires and WUI Fires

  • Wed, May 25th -May 27th, 2016

Following the first ForestFire conference focused on WUI fires in 2013, the second edition of the conference on fire risk assessment, modelling, mapping, and management in wildland and WUI will take place in Aix-en-Provence from May 25th to May 27th 2016. This edition is co-organized by IRSTEA, the French Southern Zone Fire Fighting Defense and Security Service, and the Innovation Cluster for Risk Management CLUSTER SAFE. This second edition is organized in partnership with the IAWF (International Association of Wildland Fire).

Register here!

Fire and Fuels Monitoring Workshop
  •  May 31st - June 2nd, 2016
There is NO FEE for this 3-Day Workshop. Attendees are responsible for their own meals, travel and lodging. Since space is limited we require that you RSVP with Lake States Fire Science ConsortiumJack McGowan-Stinski, 989-287-1734, with your name, email, and affiliation; additional information regarding lodging and materials will be emailed to those who RSVP. To be held in the Huron-Manistee National Forest Ranger Station in Oscoda, MI.

Joint Conference of the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals (ANREP) National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP)

Note: NAFSE will be cooperating with the Northeast Regional Strategy Committee along with other Exchanges and Cohesive Strategy regions in a communities of practice meeting at this national conference.

  • June 26-29, 2016 

For the first time, NACDEP and ANREP are teaming up for a Joint Annual Conference June 26-29, 2016 at the Sheraton  Hotel in beautiful and vibrant Burlington, Vermont. They are anticipating over 350 attendees, providing an excellent opportunity to broaden networks, present and learn from your peers, and learn from an expanded topic menu. 
Register here!

Forest Stewards Guild National Meeting
  • July 13th-15th, 2016
The Forest Stewards Guild is joining forces with the Minnesota Society of American Foresters and The Nature Conservancy Chapters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to explore the themes of Restoration, Conservation and Collaboration  in Duluth, Minnesota. You're invited to spend a memorable few days at the head of our largest inland sea, meeting expert presenters, Guild members, and other practitioners from coast to coast.  
Register here!

Second International Smoke Symposium
  • November 11th-14th. 2016 
To be held in Long Beach, CA. Call for Presentations, Posters and Special Sessions. Note that the call for abstracts closes on May 16th. This conference will bring together researchers from the atmospheric sciences, the ecological sciences, mathematicians, computer sciences, climatologists, social scientists, health professionals, smoke responders and others to discuss the complex issues of wildland fire smoke and identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for innovation and development.

Highlighted Training Opportunities:
Mid-Atlantic Wildfire Training Academy
  • June 4th-10th, 2016 in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The academy is presented by the Mid-Atlantic Forest Fire Compact, the West Virginia University School of Natural Resources, and the USDA Forest Service. The Wildfire Academy will offer a suite of courses in essential wildland firefighting skills, from basic to advanced levels.      
Read more...                                    

Basic I-Suite
  • June 7th-9th, 2015
This is a full course held by the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact in Portland, ME, covering the basics of all E-I-Suite modules including data base and data administration modules. Emphasis will be on resources, IAP, demobilization, time and cost modules. Contact Tom Parent at for more information. Nominations due by May 1st.

Find More Eastern Area Training Opportunities
One Fire Day        

We are always searching for folks to contribute short stories. Email to share your story!

This month's story is brought to you by Neil Gifford, Conservation Director for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and NAFSE Community Representative. Neil describes their journey towards implementing growing season prescribed fires and their challenges and successes along the way. It's a great read - thanks Neil!

A New Rx: Creating safer and more effective fires in the WUI
After decades of suppression, implementing ecologically meaningful fire in the Albany Pine Bush urban landscape was particularly challenging until we modified how and when we implemented prescribed burns.

The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission began using prescribed fire in 1991 with the guidance of The Nature Conservancy and the watchful cooperation of the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. The goals were to restore globally-rare, inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, and recover the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Similarly to many other parts of the Northeast, spring and fall dormant season fires were most numerous, and therefore believed to be the most beneficial to our conservation goals. However, decades of accumulated fuels and flammable pine barrens plants made dormant season prescribed fires intense and flashy, commonly producing rapid rates-of-spread and flame lengths of 10-30 feet.

Despite this fireline intensity, few of these fires resulted in severity sufficient enough to reduce invasive woody growth, consume litter and duff, expose mineral soil, or foster recruitment of native grasses and wildflowers needed by the Karner blue. This behavior, coupled with the complexity of burning in a heavily developed landscape, meant individual burns needed to be small (2-10 acres) to ensure safe operations and 100% mop-up by dark. Small burns proved feasible, but resulted in limited contiguous burned acres in any given year and little benefit in fuel reduction or habitat restoration at the desired scale.

After a small escape during a dormant season fire in 1999, it became clear that we needed to find a more effective way to approach our fire management program. Specifically, we needed to increase fire severity (aka reaction intensity) by reducing rates-of-spread and increasing residence time. Considering that growing season fires occurred periodically in the past, and that UMass-Amherst research showed woody shrub vulnerability to post leaf-out fires, we suspected growing season treatments might be effective for our purposes.

Read More!
Fire Science Resource Highlights

Each newsletter we will highlight useful resources with applications to the North Atlantic Region.

Designing a Prescribed Fire Demonstration Area

Written by: Martha C. Monroe, Geo Babb, Kimberly A. Heuberger 

Have you ever wondered about how to design a prescribed fire demonstration area that would be informative for land managers, students, and policy makers? Having a demo site is a great way to increase educational opportunities and increase scientific communication. The University of Florida's Institute for Food and Agricultural Science Extension has developed a publication designed to help you do just that. 

"This study indicates that attitudes and perceptions can shift if a concerted effort is made to notify, educate, and expose residents to prescribed fire."
NAFSE Leadership Team

USFS Northern Research Station
Nicholas Skowronski - PI
Erin Lane - Coordinator
Forest Stewards Guild
Amanda Mahaffey - Workshop and Field Trip Coordinator
NFFPC / Rutgers University
Inga La Puma - Co-PI/ Science Communications Director

NAFSE Community Representatives

Gregory Nowacki, USFS
Kenneth Clark, USFS
Thomas Parent, NEFFPC
Maris Gabliks, USFS
John Ross, CIFFC

Tom Gerber, NJFFS
John Cecil, NJ Audubon
Brad Simpkins, NHDFL
Neil Gifford, APBPC
Kathy Schwager, BNL

Jessica Leahy, U of ME
Lauren Howard, Arcadia U.
Joel Carlson, NEFFM, LLC.
William Patterson, III., UMass
Matthew Duveneck, Harvard Forest

Our Exchange region.
A selection of prescribed fire photos from this season in our region provided by (clockwise from top left) Philly Enquirer, Joel Carlson, Ed Lord, and Bob Williams
Add your photos to our Flickr group or email them to
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