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In a previous blog about the Predictive Services latest fire predictions for this year it was shared that there would be an increased wildfire risk in the Midwest.  Recently Great Plains Fire Information Website on March 10, 2015 reported an elevated wildfire risk and a working wildfire called the North Pole Fire located in the area of Highway 16 and Renegade Road west of Custer and there were structures threatened.  The fire grew to 59 acres and there was some smoke that made driving difficult in the area. State, federal resources and a local water tender from the Custer Volunteer Fire Department were working the fire.

According to the Incident Information System from the US Forest Service Inci Web, “Type III Incident Management Team has been established in Custer and continues to monitor fire behavior, the terrain, and weather forecasts. Firefighter and public safety are the highest priority as strategies are developed and implemented to contain the fire.

No ownership has been determined at this time, although the fire has burned both private property and U.S. Forest Service land.

Fire officials said the fire held well last evening on the road system, dozer line and hand line with no significant change in size.”

It is important to take note of these tools that we have at our disposal to be aware of our risks and implement Firewise changes to our homes and landscape to insure that we are living a Year Less Dangerously From Wildfire.

To continue to reduce the threat of wildfire and create a healthier forest in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, the Los Alamos Fire Department and the Santa Fe National Forest wildland firefighters are conducting maintenance burns.  How are maintenance burns different than prescribed burns?  In prescribed burns, the purpose is often to kill live standing trees.  Maintenance burns are designed to reduce fuel on the surface such as grass, pine needles, and dead downed wood that is often placed in piles.  Flame height in maintenance burns is often but not always smaller than in prescribed burns.

These winter season burns began in January and are aimed at creating healthier forested areas adjacent to housing areas as described in the County's community wildfire protection plan (CWPP).  Burning was planned to occur during favorable weather conditions (when smoke dissipation is favorable and humidity is high) between January 9th and March 30th 2015.

Learn if your community has developed a CWPP, a plan that can develop courses of action that will insure that your community has a year of living less dangerously from wildfire.  Actions taken around your home such as cleaning gutters, moving wood piles and cleaning up under decks among others can insure that your property is safer in the event of a wildfiire.


This image is from the Los Alamos County website.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has assembled a research team made up of researchers from NFPA, Bentley University, Brandeis University and the U.S. Forest Service to investigate local fire department wildfire preparedness and readiness capabilities. The purpose of the study is to identify the most important elements in a wildfire protection program, including response and community risk reduction actions. In addition, the study will investigate how fire departments overcome barriers and adapt to the wildfire risk given the resources available to them.

WUI 2015
To this end NFPA is looking for local Fire Department Chiefs or senior line Officers who have experienced a major wildfire event within the last few years to participate in the study. NFPA is working closely with the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Wildland Fire Policy Committee to identify Fire Departments for the initial pilot phase of the project which should be completed within the next 3 weeks.

Albert Scott, Fire Data Assistant and active Lieutenant with the Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department, and I will be at the IAFC’s Wildland-Urban Interface Conference in Reno, Nevada (March 24-26) and are looking for volunteers to participate in interviews for the study during the course of the conference. Participation would involve an hour-long recorded interview to help us learn more about local fire department preparedness for wildfires. We’re offering eligible participants a $50 gift card as a way to say “thank you” for your time and support of our project. If you’re not able to join us at the conference, but would like to be included in the interview process, please let us know. We will be conducting phone interviews in the coming months. NFPA will be offering an incentive of $50 for those who participate in an interview at the conference and a choice of one NFPA Fire Protection Standard for folks who schedule an interview after the conference.

Please contact us at or  if you would like to schedule an interview at the conference or some time thereafter. You can also reach us by visiting booth 209 during the conference. Preliminary results from this study will be available in late summer. We look forward to seeing you in Reno! 


NFPA lands at Reno in force

Posted by tomwelle Mar 19, 2015

If you are headed to the International Association of Fire Chief’s Wildland Urban Interface Conference in Reno, NV this March, you will notice that NFPA has brought a wide ranging contingent to work with our partners in wildland fire safety.

On Tuesday, March 24, at 10:00 a.m. in the Tuscan 5 room, you can come check out “What’s New in the WUI” – Updates from NFPA

Here’s the lineup:

Michele Steinberg, Wildland Fire Operations Division (WFOD) Manager, NFPA, will make introductions and have opening remarks.

Tom Welle, WFOD Senior Project Manager, showcases the divisions Outreach and Advocacy activity as well as updates on the Firewise Program.

Pat Durland, Stone Creek Fire LLC, NFPA Instructor will cover Wildland Fire Mitigation Training and Education through NFPA.

Hylton Haynes, Senior Research Analyst, NFPA Fire Analysis & Research, will be speaking about a wide variety of research updates on WUI issues.

Ryan Depew, Fire Service Specialist, NFPA Public Fire Protection, rounds out the group with Wildland Fire Related Codes and Standards.

So, there you have it.   Come to Reno, come to Tuscany 5, come and learn about what NFPA is up to in the WUI.

See you there!

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