NAFSE May 2015 Newsletter
View this email in your browser
In this month's Newsletter:
Announcing our NEW WEBSITE
March Field Trip Recap
Smoke Modeling Resources
In The News: NJ's Stockton University, Senate hearings, and regional articles and news clips on this year's fire season.
Upcoming Events: NAFSE Webinar and Workshops
Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference
One Fire Day: Short Stories of Memorable Fires
North Atlantic Fire Science Resource Highlight: Ecological Effects of Prescribed Fire Season
Introducing our NEW WEBSITE!

We are very excited about our new website and the resources we are able to offer with its launch. We will have a webinar at the beginning of June to introduce members of our Exchange to all aspects of the website. Please join us!
Our website includes all of our past webinars, research briefs, newsletters, past and future events, relevant links and access to a complete database of research focused on the Northeast. Is there something missing from our website that you would like included? Contact with comments.
March field trip recap

In March, NAFSE, the Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance, and the Forest Guild hosted a fire science and land management field trip in Mashpee, Cape Cod. Although the ground was still covered with snow, participants donned snow shoes and boots
and visited a diversity of sites including Mashpee Wampanoag tribal land, Town of Mashpee land, and land owned by the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife.  Joel Carlson of Northeast Forest & Fire Management, LLC illustrated the rich collaborations of municipal, state, tribal, federal, and non-profit partners needed to accomplish these unique combinations of mastication, thinning, and prescribed burning to meet the ecological needs of the pine barrens ecosystem.

The Cape Cod Times posted photos from the trip and the local NPR station did a radio show with several of the key speakers on the field trip.

For more information check out this virtual field trip, created by Kate Sullivan of NE-FFM, LLC.  It includes before and after photos of mechanical and fire treatments, information about the sites visited, and partners.
Smoke Modeling Resources

We have had several requests for smoke modeling resources in the North Atlantic region and have put together a few important resources for our subscribers.

Selected smoke modeling tools suggested by Joel Carlson, NEFFM, LLC.:
VSmoke-Web - a simple online tool for geometric screening. Joel uses it for initial pre-planning exploratory screening and for burn plans (generates Google Earth Files).
Hysplit (Trajectory and Dispersion) -this is great resource for burn day predictions and forensic analysis. It does not work well in a burn plan because it uses upper air sounding and thus you need to be a couple days out from the burn. It does do historical runs for forensics. Joel runs this for all his large burns or burns of potential high smoke impact in the Massachusetts area.

Suggested reading:
Managing smoke at the wildland-urban interface, the 2007 technical report by Dale Wade and Hugh Mobley -Joel believes the methods here are the best we have for the urban burning we do, but it may not be usable for burns over 50 acres.
Feel free to contact Joel Carlson for further information at

Dr. Warren Heilman, a smoke modeling expert at the U.S. Forest Service, suggested the following websites for a list smoke modeling tools used in the U.S.:
National Interagency Fire Center - Smoke Management Tools
Wildland Fire Decision Support System - Air Quality Tools
Dr. Heilman has offered to answer questions on specific tools and their proper use. Contact him at:

Recent WebinarEasy-to-Use Smoke Modeling Tools, a webinar hosted by the Lake States Fire is now available as a recording on YouTube.
In the News:
Upcoming Events:

Save the Date!
  • NAFSE Webinar: Fire Science Resources for Managers in the North Atlantic, June 5th at 12pm
  • NAFSE Capstone Workshop. New Jersey's Forest Fire: Past, Present, and Future Nov 4-6th
Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference

The 5th Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference will be held 27-29 May 2015 at the Bryant Conference Center on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The goal of the Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference is to improve land stewardship through transfer of knowledge and technology of fire as a management tool and its role in a historical context. The conference brings together noted experts in research and management to present state-of-the-art information, perspectives, and syntheses on key issues and provides learning and networking opportunities to over 300 participants.
The conference is held once every three to five years and the prior meetings were held in Springfield, Missouri (2011), Carbondale, Illinois (2008), Columbus, Ohio (2005), and Richmond, Kentucky (2000). This symposium will emphasize topics relevant to management of oak and oak-pine forests and woodlands and should be of great interest to managers, scientists, landowners, consultants and students.

The conference will feature field tours, 16 invited presentations, a poster session, and a panel discussion led by scientists and managers on a wide range of topics in fire science and management. 

One Fire Day        

We are searching for folks to contribute short stories about fires that stand out in their memories for reasons 
that are related to fire science or urban interactions. For this newsletter, Dr. Inga La Puma relates her experience this past Spring on her first prescribed fire.
I have always considered myself to be the shining example of 'the problem'. A fire scientist who has never been on a fire, prescribed or otherwise. Then I got the call in March from Dr. Nick Skowronski, U.S. Forest Service. Did I want to come out and help with a research burn? No question! I looked forward to observing not only a prescribed fire in the New Jersey Pinelands where I had done my fire history and modeling research at Rutgers, but to observe one in which numerous scientists from the University of Edinburgh, the USFS, Tomsk State University (in Russia) and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) were collecting data on embers, smoke, and weather. This block had been burned two years before with the same equipment, and the videos I had seen were impressive. After modeling fire and forest disturbance for four or five years, I couldn't WAIT to get out in the field again.  
The morning arrived cold and clear, with a slight northwest breeze. Perfect! I met Mike Gallagher, U.S. Forest Service and Dr. Bob Kremens, RIT, at 7 a.m. at Lucille's restaurant in the middle of the Pinelands (mmm pie) and we followed Mike out to the side of the road. The sand roads at the entrance area looked familiar. I was sure I had been close during my field work measuring trees seven years ago - but this is the Pinelands, so it probably just looked the same. I was worried about wearing a coat and if it could fit under the PPE shirt I was given and if I could wear a hat under my helmet. I was glad I brought lined leather work gloves because people were complaining left and right about freezing hands. I was assigned to help Bob put up small smoke towers throughout the burn plot, and off we went.  Nick arrived and set up all the cameras while the ember people from Edinburgh set up their sites to catch embers. Finally the New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) wildland firefighters arrived and began to burn out the section next to the research plot. I watched them confidently putting fire on the ground with their drip torches and regular radio communication around the plots. I asked how they knew when the burn was done, and one of the guys said, "When the smoke stops!" Oh...right! Duh. Well, then the section warden chimed in with more detail on how all of the edges may come together and you might see a convective column in the middle of the plot. That was the kind of answer I was looking for!  

Once the side plot was burned out, it was time to burn the research plot, but we had to wait for the plane with the infrared equipment to get close enough to begin. Finally, the plane arrived and Nick told all the researchers to stay put in the safe zone. The crew lit the research plot, and as I watched the fire burn with interest, the researchers and fire crew seemed unimpressed. It was a slow crawling ground fire that even seemed to skip some areas. I believe many of the crew were disappointed that the fire didn't burn as hot as it had last time, but Nick pointed out that we were proving that prescribed fire works, and that the earlier burn had done its job by knocking down fuels.  

Nick gave the OK for me to walk with Dr. Ken Clark, U.S. Forest Service, down the side of the burn and as small as it was, I still felt the heat to the point where I wanted to step back. I got a face-full of smoke that for some reason was unexpected to me as a novice, although afterwards I was laughing at myself for it!  I finished out the day helping Ken by clipping shrub plots outside the burn and checking out his main weather tower. We walked back to check out the burn and noted small areas that looked unburned within the plot as well as an absence of personnel. We finally found everyone on the side of the sand road that divided the plot talking about how things had gone that day. I spoke with Tom Gerber, NJFFS, about coming out to help and observe more fires. Did I want to do this more often? Heck, yes! I came home totally energized from a gorgeous day outside amongst the trees and fire. I was amazed at how the knowledge of generations of fire managers in the NJFFS and the fire scientists from across the Atlantic could be combined to pull off a research-based prescribed fire, where everyone could learn, including me! I am not sure how often I can get out there - and fires don't seem to care much about my kids’ dance and piano class schedules, but still, I sincerely hope that my first fire was the beginning of many in the years to come.

Fire Science Resource Highlight

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

Ecological Effects of Prescribed Fire Season: A Literature Review and Synthesis for Managers was published by JFSP in 2009. There is an informative section which focuses solely on the Eastern US. 
NAFSE Leadership Team

USFS Northern Research Station
Nicholas Skowronski - PI
Erin Lane - Coordinator
Forest Guild
Amanda Mahaffey - Workshop and Field Trip Coordinator
NEFFPC / 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
Jessica Leahy, U of ME
Lauren Howard, Arcadia U.
Joel Carlson, NEFFM, LLC.
William Patterson, III., UMass
Matthew Duveneck, Harvard Forest
A selection of photos from our Flickr group
Add your photos to our Flickr group or email them to
Subscribe to our eNews!
You are receiving this email as a subscriber to NAFSE eNews

Copyright © 2015 North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp