NASF Wildland Fire Committee meets in rural Washington state

The NASF Wildland Fire Committee, chaired by Florida State Forester Jim Karels and staffed by NASF Fire Director Dan Smith, met May 29-30, 2019 in Winthrop, Washington, to discuss pressing national wildfire concerns including cooperative fire agreements, interstate forest fire compacts liability legislation, the concept of shared stewardship, funding for the State Fire Assistance and Volunteer Fire Assistance programs, and implementation of wildland fire technology.

Special meeting guests included Shawna Legarza, director of fire and aviation for the USDA Forest Service, Rich Elliott, member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Wildland Fire Policy Committee, and Jeff Rupert, director of wildland fire for the Department of Interior. Representatives from FEMA also provided meeting goers with updates on the development of FEMA Supplemental Response Teams and information on how state forestry agencies can support that effort and participate in FEMA’s wildfire mitigation grant program.

From left to right: Alaska State Forester Chris Maisch, Florida State Forester Jim Karels, and Texas State Forester Tom Boggus pictured near the site of the Thirtymile Fire.

The committee discussed implementation of the Wildland Fire Leadership Fire Council’s top priorities as well, including best methods for (1) integrating new science and technology into more active land management and (2) increasing interaction between land and fire managers, particularly in pre-fire season coordination and prescribed fire implementation.

The meeting closed with a half-day field tour led by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and Washington State Forester George Geissler. Attendees visited the Thirtymile Fire (2001) and the Twisp River Fire (2015) sites and heard from several first responders who provided initial response on the fires. Today, first responders promote lessons learned through staff rides at both sites.

Have questions? Contact Communications Director Whitney Forman-Cook at wforman-cook@stateforesters.org.