Newsletter #2
June 27, 2016
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A publication by the Southeast Region Strategy Committee to highlight progress within the context of the Cohesive Strategy and demonstrations of success across the Southeast. Stories are always welcome and can be sent to gwood@southernforests.org.

America’s Longleaf shares 2015 accomplishments
America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative (ALRI) recently released its 2015 range-wide accomplishments report. According to the report’s findings, 2015 was a record breaking year with projects on almost 2 million acres by the collaborative partners working to improve or restore the longleaf pine ecosystem throughout the Southeast. For more information, click here.

WFM RD&A tests Wildfire notification app
The Wildland Fire Management Research, Development and Application (WFM RD&A) program has released the beta for its Wildfires Near Me web application, which allows users to select specified areas and notify you when a wildfire occurs near the location. The site collects wildfire information from several federal reporting systems, social media feeds and news media feeds to report wildfires in the application.

Florida hosts national meeting and workshop
The Fire Learning Network, Fire Adapted Communities Network and the Indigenous Peoples Burning Network gathered in Jacksonville, Florida, April 26-29 for a meeting and a field tour of the fire-dependent ecosystem in Baker County, Florida. Several stops during the tour exhibited the collaborative efforts to create and maintain a fire resilient landscape and to create a community to be resilient to wildfires. Tour participants also had the opportunity to observe a prescribed burn being implemented and the equipment necessary to execute prescribed burns and suppress wildfires. Local media joined in later in the day to promote the event.

Help improve LANDFIRE surface fuels spatial
LANDFIRE, also known as the Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools Program, is a vegetation, fire, and fuel characteristic mapping program managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior. A key data product of the LANDFIRE program is fire behavior fuel models (FBFM). LANDFIRE uses a set of regionally defined “rules” to develop this product from foundational data sets such as current vegetation, cover and height. In the past, LANDFIRE created these rules in a series of calibration workshops; however, conducting on-site workshops is now challenging given travel and resource constraints. To increase participation in the FBFM review and revision process, the LANDFIRE program developed a web-enable database to allow interested individuals to provide feedback on LANDFIRE FBFM mapping rules. This database will gather feedback and suggestions about how to improve the mapping rules and will inform how FBFMs are potentially mapped in the future. LANDFIRE conducted a series of regional webinars to kick-off the FBFM review process. Following this series of webinars, they will hold conference calls or webinars to address specific issues that emerge from analyses of database results (suggested edits, comments and other feedback). To become an authorized user, please email to: landfire@northwestknowledge.net. Once you are an authorized user, please visit https://landfire.nkn.uidaho.edu/user and view the Home page and Demo pages.
First collaborative burn in the FLN Northern Escarpment Landscape
The first collaborative burn in the Fire Learning Network’s Northern Escarpment Landscape in NC occurred this past burn season between the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, The Nature Conservancy, National Park Service and N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. This group has been working for several years to execute a burn in this landscape and the 431-acre burn was a success and the largest burn thus far for the landscape. Approximately 40 personnel from the multiple agencies executed the burn on Thurman Chatham Game Lands, Doughton Park and N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation lands. Click here to see video of the prescribed burn.

White House holds a “Convening on Wildland Fire” to discuss the increasing threat of wildfires
In conjunction with a Wildland Fire Leadership Council meeting recently held in Washington, D.C., the White House hosted a “Convening on Wildland Fire.” During the four-hour briefing, participants the increasing threat of wildland fire across the U.S. and identified policy actions needed to increase resiliency of communities in the WUI. Florida State Forester Jim Karels and Oklahoma State Forester George Geissler were among the attendees. President Obama signed an Executive Order on Wildland Urban Interface Federal Risk Mitigation aimed to reduce risks to people, minimize property losses from wildfire and mitigate risk to federal buildings located in the WUI.
Florida Forest Service restores, maintains Northwest Florida’s longleaf ecosystem
More than 1,000 acres of the Blackwater River, Pine Log and Point Washington state forests have increased in biodiversity during the past three years due to an ongoing Florida Forest Service reforestation project. Click here to read more.
Conasauga Ranger District Receives 2016 Bronze Smokey Bear Award
The Conasauga Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests receives the 2016 Bronze Smokey Bear Award – the highest honor an organization can receive for outstanding wildfire prevention service on a state level. Employees of the District were on hand to accept the award at the Chatsworth-Murray County Chamber of Commerce in Chatsworth, Georgia. “It’s an honor to receive this prestigious fire prevention award,” says District Ranger Jeff Gardner who has served in that position for the past four years. “I’m so proud of the folks on this District, and our many partners, who work hard every day to help make communities safer. They do this because they really care, and it feels good to see them receive this much deserved recognition.” The award recognizes the Conasauga Ranger District for remarkable leadership in creating and implementing a public information and education campaign to alert Georgia residents and visitors about the high fire danger and their role in reducing human-caused wildfires. District employees offered consistent and creative fire prevention and education messages to the media and public, and worked with numerous partners throughout Georgia to increase the reach of the prevention messages. Conasauga Ranger District employees regularly partner with Home Depot and area libraries to present fire prevention information. New partnerships, such as Cabela’s and the Carmike 12 Cinema, have helped messages reach an even greater audience. District employees have a strong presence at local schools, on social media, and can even be spotted in local parades. The Smokey Bear Awards have been bestowed on well deserving groups and individuals annually since 1957. The National Association of State Foresters, the USDA Forest Service, and The Advertising Council sponsor the awards, and nominations are considered and voted upon by the members of the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Committee. View photos of Conasauga Ranger District employees engaged in fire prevention efforts
at https://www.flickr.com/photos/chattoconeenf/albums/72157669107834990
A forester with Texas A&M Forest Service was honored with the Bronze Smokey Bear Award during the Southern Group of State Foresters annual meeting in Mobile, Alabama. Staff Forester Jonathan Motsinger conceptualized a new way to spread Smokey’s message of personal responsibility in “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” while marrying the thrill of a treasure hunt, the adventure of an outdoor experience and the celebration of the bear’s 70th birthday. The Smokey Bear 70th Birthday Geocoin project enables geocachers to locate, move and log-in 70 trackable Smokey geocoins in a world-wide network of geocaches. Since the project launched in August 2014, the coins have been tracked across more than 380,000 miles while visiting all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 15 countries on five continents. Motsinger’s geocoin wildfire prevention campaign also aligns with the U.S. Forest Service and Texas A&M Forest Service missions to inspire more parents, children and outdoor enthusiasts to spend time outside and reconnect with nature. “While there is no way to calculate the number of people affected by this outreach and education campaign, we can confidently say that we have been able to impact a new audience with wildfire prevention messages on a national and global scale,” Texas A&M Forest Service Program Coordinator Karen Stafford said. “None of this would have been possible without the forward thinking and progressive ideas of Jon Motsinger.” For more information about Texas A&M Forest Service geocaching visit http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/geocaching/

Rob Klein - Forest Conservationist of the Year
Rob Klein, a fire ecologist with the National Park Service who works on the Appalachian/Piedmont Zone, has been named Forest Conservationist of the Year by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation at their 51st Annual Conservation Achievement Awards ceremony.

Upcoming Workshops and Webinars
June 28 SBR FLN Webinar: Ecomath Updates
2:00 Eastern / 1:00 Central
Josh Kelly will be presenting the SBR FLN webinar on updates to the Ecomath burn prioritization model being used on the North Zone of the Cherokee National Forest in the Unaka Mountains of Tennessee.
Join: https://nethope.webex.com/nethope/j.php?MTID=m18511b01f870ab2f2a5f5115c47220b7

June 29 Legal Liability for Prescribed Fire Accidents in the Southeast
1:00 Eastern / 12:00 Central
Stephen McCullers will be the presenter for this Southern Fire Exchange webinar. Information & registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sfe-webinar-legal-liability-for-prescribed-fire-accidents-in-the-southeast-tickets-25866758170

June 30 Shortleaf Pine Restoration Plan
2:00 Eastern / 1:00 Central
The new Shortleaf Pine Restoration Plan will be introduced at this webinar. The Plan is the first comprehensive strategy to improve the shortleaf pine ecosystem across its entire range.
Information: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3301947043228302081

July 7 Fire Department Wildfire Readiness Program - Station Ready
11:00 Eastern / 10:00 Central
This webinar will discuss how to prepare your fire department for the threat of wildfire. Presented byJustice Jones, Wildfire Mitigation Division Program Manager for the Austin Fire Department.
Visit https://www.iafc.org/Education/Events.cfm?itemnumber=9160 - Registration is required.

This publication is made possible through a grant from the USDA Forest Service.

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