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101 Posts authored by: hyltonhaynes Employee

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! 



Posted by hyltonhaynes Employee Aug 26, 2014

It will been 9 summers since I was last in the Orleans area working as a wildland firefighter/ground thumper on the Six Rivers National Forest.  This summer assignment sticks out in my mind for a number of reasons: (1) the beauty and ruggedness of the landscape (2) the perilous nature of this wildfire prone area (3) the remoteness of this area and (4) the icy cold and refreshing water of the Salmon and Klamath Rivers.  There is a magnetic pull that attracts people of a certain ilk to these wild parts, some on the other hand like the Karuk people have lived in this valley since before Europeans settlement.   

At the time of the Orleans Fire Complex in 2006, the unincorporated community of Orleans was not yet a recognized Firewise Communities/USA site.  I can remember riding back to the fire camp on the windy Klamath River Hiway each evening, thinking this would be a perfect site for Firewise outreach activities. In 2011 Orleans became a nationally recognized Firewise Communities/USA site. With the community taking responsibility through leveraging Firewise principles and the recognition process, the journey to becoming more Fire Adapted is steadily being realized. 

Upon becoming a Fire Adapted Learning Network Hub in 2013, this community and its leaders have spearheaded a return to tradition in northern California where more prescribed burning is being reintroduced onto the landscape to help mitigate the community's overall wildfire risk exposure. The practice of prescribed burning is and will continue to be a critical activity enabling long term community resilience and ecosystem sustainability. It is with great pleasure that I share this recent informative documentary and success story put together by community leaders Stormy Staats of Klamath Media and Will Harling, Director of the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council and FAC Learning Network.  Enjoy.


Alison Green the Project Wildfire Program Director and member of the Fire Adapted Learning Network forwarded me this interesting mini-documentary on the Two Bulls Fire and the need for defensible space and home hardening as Bend, Oregon expands into the forests that surround this beautiful city.   

Project Wildfire is one of the benchmark programs in community collaboration that exisits in the nation and is certainly a model that other communities should aspire to as they take the journey to becoming more Fire Adapted. One of the programs Project Wildfire administers in their suite of wildfire mitigation and prevention activities is the Firewise Communites/USA recognition program.  Year to date the City of Bend and the surrounding area has 17 recognized Firewise Communities/USA sites.  This fact alone is a testament to the resolve this community has against the threat of wildfire.


The Firewise communities map has been updated to include California and Texas community boundaries. To activate the boundary layers click on the layers link in the orange ribbon above the map. Check the below map to see whether or not you are located within one of these Firewise Communities/USA sites.  To learn more about the USAA policyholder discounts in California visit this Firewise webpage.

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Missoula Fire LabThis past week I had the opportunity to participate in the Large Fires Conference in Missoula, Montana.  The conference was a joint effort of the International Association of Wildland Fire and the Association for Fire Ecology.  More than 600 wildfire experts from around the globe - New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, France, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and South Africa to name a few were represented at this international conference. The array of presentations was quite remarkable and included presentations from political, social, economic and environmental scientists.  The keynote speaker Jerry Williams articulated the current American wildland fire experience quite admirably, as did  speakers from Australia and Canada.  One of the highlights for me was participation in a field trip to the famous USFS Missoula Fire Science Lab.  The research being conducted at this facility is quite remarkable and something we as a nation should be proud of.  Currently researchers are focussed on the physics of fire ignition to help improve our understanding of wildland fire behavior.  One of the more interesting findings of late is the critical role convection plays in fire spread.  The implications of these findings may ultimately result in significant wildland firefighting safety policy changes in the future.


Image 1: Researchers demonstrating how they go about testing the physical properties of fire whirls using two different laboratory techniques to replicate the phenomenon.  The first image shows a closed system where a vortex is used to simulate a fire whirl.  The second picture shows an open system where the predetermined configuration of the flames can be combined to create a fire whirl.


Image 2: Shows the progression of controlled test fire in a wind tunnel, that is scaled down for experimental purposes to try and better understand the physics of fire spread.  The material substrate is lazer cut cardboard that resembles haircombs arranged at set intervals to create uniform fuel for the flaming front.  By executing these experiments, researchers are able to better define fire characteristics that ultimately will help wildland fire managers make better decisions in the event of a wildfire or when doing mitigation planning in and around communities.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to present a 2 day Firewise Principles workshop to a bunch of fire professionals and community leaders at the Wildland Fire Training and Conference Center at the McClellan Business Park in Sacramento California.  During the course of the second day I had the privilege to learn about an interesting program that was born in California almost a quarter of a century ago.  The Volunteers In Prevention (VIP) program of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is an efficient fire prevention and loss reduction education force that serves the state at a local level.

According to Pete Padelford, the VIP Coordinator for the community of Blue Lake Springs located in Arnold, California there are essentially five areas where community volunteers can participate in the following activities:

  1. Fire and Life Safety Education
  2. Public Information Education
  3. Wildland Occupant Firesafe Program
  4. Red Flag, Holiday, and Arson Patrols
  5. Communications

Pete took on the role of CAL FIRE VIP Coordinator in February 2011, at the time the program had lost some momentum.  Pete being a successful business man in his previous life, made the necessary changes to bring the program back to the successful side.  Pete’s community in particular has really focused on item #3, Wildland Occupant Firesafe Program to great effect.  This effort is a collaboration between Blue Lake Springs Homeowners Association, CAL FIRE and the Ebbetts Pass Fire District.  It was exciting to learn about all the good work Pete and his cadre of volunteers are doing to make his community more fire safe (firewise).  This successful inspection program is based on the CA Public Resources Code 4291 and addresses properties with homes or other structures, and an Ebbetts Pass Fire District Fire Ordinance that addresses unimproved lots.  The initial impetus behind the inspections is one of awareness and education.  If, after appropriate inspection and notification without tangible modification and homeowner compliance, an enforcement officer from CAL FIRE is called in.  According to the Nancy Longmore of CAL FIRE, the VIP program is a critical component in reaching out to the community and has helped reduced agency (State) costs and at the same time is achieving the desired outcome of a more fire safe (firewise) community. It all starts with education and awareness.

Pete's VIP Keys to Success

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This past weekend, Pete and his volunteers planned and implemented their first Firewise Day and hope to become eligible for Firewise recognition in the coming months.  Based on the energy and efforts of the Pete and his VIP team I am confident the Blue Lake Springs community will one day be a recognized Firewise Communities/USA® site. 

Two helpful wildfire preparedness tips sheets were recently published by the U.S. Fire Administration.  The first one revisits some Firewise Principles and the second is a closer look at personal/family evacuation planning.  In addition to these very important actions, one also need to begin thinking about their home in relation to others, because what one homeowner does directly impacts a neighboring homeowner in the event of a wildfire.  One way to engage the community as a whole is through the National Firewise Communities/USA® recognition program.


Image 1: Graphical representation of overlapping Home Ignition Zones.

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*as of 5/12/2014

The Firewise communities map has been updated.  As of today there are 1,050 nationally recognized Firewise Communities/USA® sites impacting 1.3 million people in 41 States.

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20 States represented on the Communty Events map.  South Dakota tops the table with 11 events scheduled for tomorrow.  California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington all having 8 events; Texas 7; Florida 5; Nebraska and Georgia 3; Nevada, Hawaii and Montana 2 and; Arizona,  Idaho, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, New JerseyNew Mexico and Wyoming all having 1 community event.


For further information about this national event please visit this weblink.


Click on the above image to learn more.  Additionally, here are two other resources available to the public:

National Strategy reportThe National Strategy: The Final Phase of the Development of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy policy document was released late last week.  This effort represents the culmination of a collaborative effort by Federal, state, local and tribal governments, non-governmental partners and public stakeholders. This report provides the strategic direction necessary to achieve the vision for the next century – To safely and effectively extinguish fire when needed; use fire where allowable; manage our natural resources; and as a Nation, live with wildland fire.

This policy document includes a set of guidelines that address the following priorities:

Priority # 1: Safe and effective response to wildfires including enhanced wildfire response preparedness with emphasis on both structural protection and wildfire prevention to maximize the effectiveness of initial response.

Priority # 2: Vegetation and fuels management through design and prioritization.  Including the increased use of wildland fire to meet resource management objectives and expanding methods to improve forest and rangeland resiliency.

Priority #3: Homeowner and community engagement to take proactive measures prior to a wildfire event.

Priority #4: Utilizing programs tailored to local needs which seek to prevent human-caused ignitions.

Beyond these general guidelines, four national maps have been developed to help with strategic prioritization of effort across the nation.  Throughout the rest of the week, I plan to explore these spatial tools and their relevance to the above listed priorities.

The Firewise Communities Map has been updated with the latest active Firewise Communities [1028] and Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network pilot sites [18].  Ready, Set, Go! data will be made available within the next couple of weeks.

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Please contact me ( or 617-984-7449) if you are having difficulty finding your community, or if your community location needs to be adjusted.  Visit this webpage to learn more about how to use this map.

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