I am in South Portland, Maine, waiting to set up the NFPA booth at a conference being hosted by the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission, a group of fire managers, program managers and wildland firefighters from the New England States, New York, Quebec, The Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland, Labrador and the New England National Forests. This is their “Winter Awareness Meeting”. It is being held at the Best Western Merry Manor Inn.
Despite blizzard conditions with wind gusts of 40 mph and 14.8 inches of snow so far, they are in the ready to share information and the latest research to help ensure a safer fire season. Snow-nados twirl outside but inside the focus will be on fire prevention. Their determination to work through these conditions speaks highly of their concern for their fellow wildland firefighters, their local communities and the region's natural resources.
High winds are also an influencing factor in the intensity and spread of wildland fires. Now while winter winds and precipitation are in the headlines, let us work together to develop plans and projects to be as prepared for the wildfire season as we are for winter blizzards.
Photos of Maine state flag and a view of the meeting hotel in South Portland, Maine, January 27, 2015 - Faith Berry