Managing Fire, Understanding Ourselves:  Human Dimensions in Safety and Wildland Fire

13th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit and 4th Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire
Boise Centre, Boise, Idaho, USA, April 20-24, 2015

Workshops (Monday, April 20, 2015)

The workshops will take place on Monday, April 20, 2015, the day preceding the 13th International Wildland Fire Safety Summit & 4th Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire Conference in Boise, Idaho.

The purpose of the workshops is to provide a forum for researchers and practitioners in wildland fire to discuss and exchange interests on a defined topic. We view these workshops as an opportunity for Technology Transfer; the process to ensure that scientific and technological developments are accessible to a wider range of users who can then further develop and exploit them.

There will be a nominal registration fee for participants; this fee will cover the cost of the meeting rooms, refreshments and audio visual equipment. Workshop Schedule (times are subject to change). Register for workshops when you register for the conference.

Full Day Workshops

Building Capacity to Collaborate in Natural Resources Management
Instructors: Susie Kocher, Natural Resources Advisor, California Registered Professional Forester #2874, University of California Cooperative Extension – Central Sierra (El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties) and Kim Ingram, Community Education Specialist, , University of California Cooperative Extension Outreach Specialist for the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project

This workshop is for scientists, public land managers and stakeholders to build their capacity to collaborate in adaptive management. UC Cooperative Extension has developed training modules for all levels of natural resource management staff and stakeholders interested in developing these skills. Using a train the trainer model, we review best practices for, framing collaborative projects, meeting logistics, group dynamics, understanding interactions, dealing with difficult behaviors and reducing conflict. Over 150 staff from federal and state forestry, fire, wildlife and research agencies, local conservation districts, non-profits and irrigation districts affiliated with the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project have attended this workshop in 2013 and 2014 and report that the workshops are timely and relevant addressing collaboration issues with which they are currently dealing.

The Fire that Burns Within: Fire Service Suicide – The Reality
Mary VanHaute,Coordinator/Trainer, St. Petersburg College Center for Public Safety Innovation

There is a growing concern that suicides may be occurring in the fire service at higher levels than in the general population. The Center for Public Safety Innovation at St. Petersburg (FL) College has been grant funded to develop suicide prevention awareness programs to address the issue and reduce the risk of suicide among firefighters.  This eight-hour course provides an overview of the suicide issue globally, in the United States, and within the profession.  The suicide prevention workshop is broken into five modules that include information about suicidal behaviors and communication, prevention efforts, protocol and policy development, issues revolving stigma and how to care for survivors of suicide loss.

Assessing Residential Wildfire Hazards
Pat Durland, NFPA Instructor & Principal, Stone Creek Fire LLC

Assessing Residential Wildfire Hazards is a new and popular NFPA workshop and discussion of the physical science of heat transfer required for structure ignition by wildfires. The session topics evolve to the social science processes and models that facilitate behavior change and lead to successful WUI mitigation action at residential and community levels.

  • Provide a summary of the major issues that contribute to wildland/urban fire losses.
  • Discuss the science and research of how landscape fires ignite structures.
  • Identify the features & mitigation applications of structural ignition zones.
  • Examine the social aspects of understanding and applying pre-event mitigation actions.
  • Discuss the process of moving from residential to community mitigation successes.

Annual Fire Refresher – RT-130
Attendance at an RT-130 is required for designated positions in order to maintain currency, and for all personnel assigned to positions with fireline duties and for any position assigned to the fireline for non suppression tasks.RT-130 training will focus on mandatory core content subjects and not on a minimum time frame standard (number of training hours).  


Morning Workshops (8:30-12:30)

Improving Risk Assessment through Fire Behavior Analysis
Dan Mindar, WFM RD&A (DOI NPS), Erin Noonan-Wright, WFM RD&A (USDA FS) Tami Parkinson, WFM RD&A (USDA FS), Laurie Kurth, Applied Fire Ecologist (USDA FS) will be the group organizing and facilitating the workshop. The panel and presenters will be Line Officers (District Rangers, Forest Supervisors, Park Superintendents) with varying degrees of experience in dealing with risk assessments and decision making on large wildland fires.

The workshop will focus on the interaction between Line Officers (decision makers) and Fire Behavior Specialists, such as Fire Behavior Analysts (FBAN), Long Term Analysts (LTAN) Geospatial Analysts (GSAN), and Technical Specialists (THSP) during wildfire risk assessments.  Through short case study presentations and panel discussions we will explore how we can better work together to develop more complete risk assessments and better utilize the tools of science and technology in risk-informed decision-making on wildland fires. We will demonstrate what and how fire behavior information can influence a decision and lead to improved resource management as well as explore opportunities to develop additional information that currently is not available. Target Audience: Fire Behavior Specialists and Line Officers involved in risk assessments and decision making on wildland fire incidents.

Wildland Fire Smoke Health Effects Research and Tools to Inform Public Health Policy and Recommendations
Instructors: Ana G. Rappold, Susan Stone, Pete Lahm, Wayne E Cascio, Sarah Henderson, Ph.D., Angela Jiayun Yao, Catherine Elliott, MD, PHPH, Joseph W Domitrovich, Ian Gilmour, Brian Reich, Sim Larkin, Ph.D., Susan O'Neill , Dr. Paul Garbe

Due to a predicted increase in the number and severity of wildfires, new research has focused on identifying the health effects associated with both public and firefighter exposure to Wildland fire smoke and spatiotemporal prediction of smoke exposures. In the last several years the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) funded research proposals for estimating the health impacts of wildfires and exposures to smoke. The goal of this workshop is to bring together health researchers, including those funded by JFSP, together with federal, state, and local agencies who develop public health policies, as well as the technology by which relevant information can be transferred.  In the first part of the workshop we will discuss health research and how it can be used to inform public health policy. The second part of the workshop will focus on guidelines and recommendations to reduce the public health impacts of smoke exposure, and the new tools for forecasting smoke.   As a result of the workshop, researchers will gain further insight on the knowledge needed to improve public health practice and related gaps, as well as gain understanding of the latest technologies and how they can be used to transfer useful information.

Morning Workshop (10:30-12:30)

CANCELLED - Understanding Rangeland Fire Protection Associations: A Panel Discussion and Workshop
Instructors:Gordon Foster,
Rangeland Fire Protection Coordinator, Oregon Department of Forestry; Julia Sullens, South Idaho Fire Liaison, Idaho Department of Lands; Jesse Abrams, Institute for a Sustainable Environment, University of Oregon; Emily Jane Davis, Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University

Oregon and Idaho have both developed policies to recognize and support the creation of Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs), voluntary associations of landowners in range landscapes that provide fire protection to areas that are otherwise unprotected by existing professional fire agencies. In recent years, RFPAs have been on the front lines of response to several major rangeland fires. Beyond their roles in fire response, many RFPAs have begun to engage in activities such as prescribed burning to reduce the susceptibility of local lands to extreme fire events. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce participants to the RFPA model, explain how RFPAs operate, describe the policies and programs that guide their work, discuss possible challenges, and explore means of overcoming those challenges. A key focus will be to understand the differences between Oregon’s and Idaho’s RFPA models and discuss the costs and benefits associated with each. The workshop will consist of a panel containing RFPA members, state and federal agency representatives, and researchers. The panel format will allow for a great deal of discussion and creative interchange between panelists and workshop participants. 

 Afternoon Workshops (1:30-5:30)

US National Grid (USNG) and Wildland Fire
Instructors: Ron Steffens, IAWF Board Member, Wildfire Magazine Chair, Professor at Green Mountain College; Rich McCrea, IAWF member, Wildfire Magazine Vice-Chair, Owner of LarchFire LLC Wildland Fire Consulting and Al Studt. Communications & Structures Specialist with Florida Task Force 4, Lieutenant with Cape Canaveral Fire Rescue, Cape Canaveral, FL.

This workshop entails basic training on the U.S. National Grid (USNG) with hands on demonstrations of GPS and web tools. USNG provides a nationally consistent language of location that has been optimized for local applications. The USNG expands the utility of topographic, street and other large-scale maps by adding several powerful features: It provides a grid reference system that is seamless across jurisdictional boundaries; it provides the foundation for a universal map index; and it enables user-friendly position referencing on appropriately gridded paper and digital maps, global positioning systems (GPS) receivers, and other map portals.

USNG is easy to learn and use and is interoperable with multiple agencies including the US Military. There are many potential applications of USNG in wildland fire operations including tracking firefighting resources, planning and implementation of daily fire operations, and tracking fire behavior across the landscape. USNG grid coordinates can be quickly articulated over a radio, using an identification that totals 6 numbers — the basic, truncated numbers that define any location to an area 100 meters by 100 meters. The potential uses of USNG will be discussed as well as how this system could be implemented.

Stress First Aid for Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services Personnel
Kim Lightley and Dr. Patricia Watson

Stress First Aid (SFA) is a National Fallen Firefighters Foundation program supporting Firefighter Life Safety Initiative #13, “Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support.” It is designed to reduce the risk for stress reactions in fire and rescue personnel and to help recognize individuals who are reacting to a wide range of stressors in their work and personal lives and who are in need of interventions. SFA offers a spectrum of one-on-one or group interventions to ensure safety, reduce the risk for more severe stress reactions, and promote recovery. SFA monitors the progress of recovery to ensure return to full function and well-being. The principles of peer teams in the fire service and how they can be organized to promote healing are also discussed.

Competency in Crisis
Instructors: Christophe FRERSON, MSc, Commander, French Fire Service  

This workshop is designed to move participants to a higher level of competency in crisis management by the use of case study, facilitated dialogues and interactive exercises. Learners will virtually visit the Southern France Crisis Center and experience a 2014 day of Corsican multiple crises (simultaneous wildfires, evacuations, village fires, main roads blocked and a fire engine rollover accident) through interactive media with some of the French operations leaders. You will see firsthand how they consciously use High Reliability Organizing processes to support competency during this multi-crisis day and learn how to bring the salient parts together to “up your game.”  Competency in this context is an amalgamation of critical thinking, time pressure decision making, and of course leadership. You will have the opportunity to learn and practice new skills in a safe environment with expert guidance. A library of case studies, in addition to the Corsican crisis, will be available after the special session to demonstrate key learning concepts with Saddleback and Yarnell Hill fatality fires as well as other international incidents.

If you have any questions please contact Mikel Robinson at or (406) 531-8264.