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Announcing 2023 Agency Administrator Refresher Webinar
Save the Date: March 29, 2023 12-2pm (Mountain Time)
Join us for our annual refresher on WFDSS and other fire management topics for agency administrators. This session serves as a WFDSS refresher for agency administrator certification/qualification requirements. Registration is required for this webinar. The link is provided below. For any questions about the session, registration, or accessibility accommodations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rare Opportunity for Free Communication Help on Your Project!
Wildland Fire Management RD&A (WFM RD&A) is sponsoring two ABT Narrative Gym sessions that are open to anyone and everyone. Dr. Randy Olson, founder of the ABT (And-But-Therefore) Framework, is generously offering the sessions to support our work in wildland fire. This renowned narrative framework has been implemented by federal agencies, The World Bank, Pfizer, and numerous non-profits. More information can be found at: http://abtframework.com/
Although the gym sessions will focus on wildland fire topics, Randy will provide an overall introduction of the ABT Framework and the narrative structure he teaches is applicable to any topic. Simply attend to watch and learn as an observer of the session or let Randy and his team of ABT builders help you tackle a real communication challenge you face.
Attend one or both sessions for free!
4/5/2023 from noon-1330 (Mountain Time)
4/19/2023 from noon-1330 (Mountain Time)
Would you just like to attend and observe? Use this zoom link to join (passcode 335072) or email email@example.com and ask for an .ics file to add it to your outlook calendar.
Would you like to “Win the ABT Narrative Gym Lottery!” and submit your wildland fire communication topic for consideration to be discussed during one of the sessions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered and you will be contacted ahead of time if chosen.
There is no catch to this offer… numerous staff are currently undertaking an ABT Framework training course, and because it has proven so valuable, we would like to share this opportunity with anyone interested. Please join us!
Program Manager's Desk
The WFM RD&A has experienced substantial changes over the past few months. We have lost several staff members to retirement and transfer. Caroline Noble and Ben Butler retired. Erin Noonan-Wright and Trevor Miller transferred to other jobs within the Forest Service. While we miss the folks who left, we are excited about the new employees we’ve added to our staff.
We converted a vacant tech transfer specialist position into a Visual Information Specialist position and hired Alison Mims from NPS. We filled a long-vacant Data Manager position (hosted by NPS) with Data Scientist, Amanda Rumsey. Tessa Nicolet joined our staff (from her Fire Ecologist position in the SW) and Tederell "TJ" Boyer (from the Southern Area Coordination Center) were recently hired as Tech Transfer Specialists. Reggie Goolsby filled a promotion position to a Lead Fire Management Specialist.
We continue to develop and manage three major software applications, Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS), Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System (IFTDSS), and Fire Modeling Services Framework (FMSF).
The WFDSS application continues to provide real-time decision support to fire managers. The application is aging and we are working on a replacement (NextGen WFDSS) that will modernize the software architecture, improve the user interface and include new analytics that are currently being served up on the Risk Management Dashboard. We expect to have a beta version of NextGen available for testing (and to serve as a backup to current WFDSS if it crashes) by May of 2023. We expect to release the working version of NextGen (and decommission current WFDSS) in the spring of 2024.
We have made significant improvements in risk assessment in IFTDSS over the past year and will add new risk components this coming year. We also expect to respond to prescribed fire planning and implementation improvements identified in the USFS Chief’s Prescribed Fire Program Review. We have a tremendous training workload associated with the new features in IFTDSS and are working on ways to meet that demand.
The FMSF is a relatively new application that most field fire managers users will not work with directly, but will experience improvements in other applications that it services. The FMSF will deliver a range of services to the IFTDSS and WFDSS applications enabling those applications to be more streamlined and less prone to “bugs” and “crashes”. All of the fire behavior models, analytics, fuels layers, weather streams and other data will be delivered to the WFDSS and IFTDSS applications by FMSF. Fire models and analytics will be managed more effectively by housing them in one instance on FMSF rather than multiple instances in all applications that use them. In addition, FMSF will serve as a hosting site for new analytics and other large data sets that may be useful when making decisions on wildland fire.
We will continue our support to line officers (annual webinars, decision-making references and guides, etc.) and the Cohesive Strategy (conduit to science community and support for conferences and webinars).
There are big challenges ahead for the wildland fire community. Climate change is lengthening our fire seasons into fire years. We are experiencing increasingly severe fires, often in places that have not had large fires in their history. Many of these fire events are occurring under conditions well outside of our collective experiences. The decision support framework, data and modeling that WFDSS and IFTDSS provide are more important than ever in providing support to local managers to make the best decisions possible on how to respond to and manage unplanned and planned ignitions.
During the past several years most of the WFM RD&A staff has been assigned to development and management of our applications. We are working to reorganize our application efforts to streamline them so the staff is made available for other important components of our mission. This will allow us to increase efforts in technology transfer and innovations.
By evaluating new analytics, staff time will be focused on innovations that improve the ability of the wildland fire community to assess risk, communicate situations, and share analytics and decision rationale to our own agencies, partners, and the public.
After more than 10 years as the Program Manager for the WFM RD&A, I am retiring on 12/31/2022. I am leaving the program in good hands. The staff is comprised of some of the “best and brightest” minds in wildland fire analytics and decision-making.
I offer my best wishes… and will be watching from the sidelines cheering you on… and will continue to work on special projects in support of wildland fire.
WFDSS and WFDSS Next Generation (NextGen)
Use and reliance on WFDSS as a tool for line officers and fire managers is a testament to its value. In 2022 over 4,100 users logged into WFDSS. WFDSS was first required by the Forest Service in 2009 and by the DOI in 2010 for decision making on federal wildfires. Since that time the trend for use of fire modeling tools has increased.
While 2021 was the record setting year for analysis use, 2022 was also above the previous 10-year average for use of FSPro and Short Term Fire Behavior modeling- and this while Incidents with published decisions were below the 10 year average. This is indicative of additional modeling and analytics as requested by decision makers to aid in making risk informed decisions.
Providing support to front end WFDSS users is at the forefront of our work. The WFM RD&A offers many avenues for users to learn the application and get help in a timely manner.
- We maintain thousands of Help topics to teach and guide users from within the system.
- The WFDSS Training system is available for users to learn and practice anytime.
- WFDSS “101 lessons” are available on the Homepage for newbies.
- Having trouble with your account access? Or have a simple question? The IIA Helpdesk provides support 24/7.
- WFM RD&A staff provide year round On-Call coverage to aid users with complex issues/problems.
- The Business Team communicates monthly with interagency Geographic Area Editors (regional representatives and power users).
Looking Ahead to 2023 - The team is working to ensure WFDSS can remain functional until the Next Generation WFDSS is released. This work includes mandatory upgrades and to adopt 2 Factor Identification for access. If you are interested in what we’ve been up to check out our release notes available on the Homepage. And finally, we are looking forward to supporting S-495 (Geospatial Fire Analysis, Interpretation, and Application) this coming spring and hope to contribute to a successful offering of this important course.
WFDSS NextGen team has continued to make progress on development of the application despite several staffing and IT setbacks in early 2022. After losing our lead developer, senior user interface developer, scrum master and project manager the project had to realign the development schedule from infrastructure to core application development. The realignment allowed for the accelerated development of Relative Risk, Organization Assessment, Fire Behavior Modeling, Spatial Inventory, My Home, User Profile, and continued improvements to the map interface.
The WFDSS NextGen team has continued to be focused on the following key goals to guide development:
- Reducing the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of the system
- Improving the user experience by being: Scalable, Map Focused, and Intuitive
- Providing the users with authoritative and as near real time information as possible
Although users still aren’t able to login to the application due to this development realignment we were able to get user’s feedback through a change in how User Groups were structured and engaged. User Group feedback sessions have been ongoing since July and to date have covered: Incident Search and Landing Page, My Home, Roles, Map Layers, Legacy Data, and Relative Risk. All User Group sessions are recorded and posted along with responses and resolutions on the FAM IM application page for WFDSS (https://famit.nwcg.gov/node/2664). If you would like to have your voice in the room please attend the sessions live or watch them later and submit your feedback via the feedback form. Feedback given within via the feedback form for a session during the open period (3-4 weeks) has potential to be included in development immediately, however if you miss the form open period you can always submit feedback via the general feedback form. More user feedback sessions will be forth coming in 2023 and all users are encourage to attend.
In line with NextGen’s focus on a service oriented architecture and delivery several key advances have been made. Incorporation of the Fire Modeling Service Framework (FMSF) continues and the development team are currently working on incorporation of FSPro, with FARSITE (NTFB), MTT (STFB) and FlamMap (Basic) forthcoming. By centralizing the fire behavior modeling, all connected systems can have access to the same processes and data quality as a default. Should customization be necessary, default settings and limitations to Fire Behavior Modeling can be made at the application level.
A services centered application also meets the goal of lessening the burden of O&M by reducing the workload on the RD&A. The reduced long-term workload associated with data services vs locally hosted data has allowed NextGen to already incorporate RMA (Risk Management Assistance) dashboard layers such as the Snag Hazard and Suppression Difficulty Index (SDI), as well as, National Incident Feature Service (NIFS) layers like drop points, branch/division breaks, NIROPS, and perimeters to help give decision makers more incident context.
The WFM RD&A in cooperation with the IFPC (Interagency Fire Planning Committee) are working to build a Spatial Fire Planning Service (SFPS) that will use Arc GIS Online (AGOL) as the platform to serve both the text and spatial data to WFDSS NextGen. By serving this data to WFDSS NextGen vs housing it locally the data can also be served to other applications as well, allowing all systems to use the most up to date information as it becomes available. By centralizing the SFP data across systems, efficiency is gained for users to utilize systems like IFTDSS to do their Spatial Fire Planning. In addition, real-time collection of data gained during an incident and uploaded to the NIFS database can be viewable in WFDSS Next Gen and used for post-fire recovery. Interagency Spatial Fire Planning has continued to move forward in 2022 and is now the SFPS has a read only version with three views. These views will allow users to check their data that is currently in WFDSS for errors and make changes before their data is ported over into the production service. For more information on the SFPS consult the story map here: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/dbb790995f9e4d9aa5fad40997cf7236
The Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System
2022 proved to be another busy year for the IFTDSS team. After the release of Batch Monitoring in the FTEM system in the spring, the IFTDSS development team began work on several, long awaited enhancements, like allowing users to change symbology of their shapefiles in the Map Studio and increasing maximum landscape size from 3.5 to 12 million acres. This second enhancement is a real crowd pleaser as it facilitates running fire behavior models in the IFTDSS Playground (Landscape Fire Behavior, MTT Fire Spread, and Landscape Burn Probability) and doing Exposure Analysis or Quantitative Wildfire Risk Assessments across much larger landscapes. Now, fire managers can do their fuels management planning across their entire project, unit, or Forest with much more ease. Along with some of our high priority enhancements, we also made a few much needed updates to our Map Studio and reference data sets including refreshing many of the existing IFTDSS Reference Data Layers with more current, updated spatial data, adding new reference data to the Federal Admin Areas and Fire Environment and Safety reference data categories such as the Geographic Area layer, Estimated Ground Evacuation Time Layer, Potential Control Locations layer, Snag Hazard layer, and Suppression Difficulty Index layer. The IFTDSS team also worked with the Landfire team this year to integrate the Landfire Product Service in to the system so users now have access to 2020 Landfire data for running models. This integration with the LFPS will make it much easier for IFTDSS to provide the most current versions of Landfire data in to the future. A big win for us and our users! Finally, IBM and the IFTDSS team began working with the folks on the FamAuth team in early summer to implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA). While not as glamorous as some of the other work we have done, implementing Multifactor Authentication was an important step in keeping the IFTDSS system secure. Now users log in to IFTDSS with their PIV card thru eAuthentication or thru Login.gov. Speaking of non-glamorous work, next on tap for IFTDSS is modernizing the IFTDSS code. Over the next several months, we will be working with IBM to upgrade the software that is foundational to the IFTDSS system. While changes to the application will appear to be minor to the user community, improvements “behind the scenes” will be immense and will ensure IFTDSS stays healthy well in to the future so we can continue to deliver cool, new, and most importantly, USEFUL, functionality to the field.
One last note. Sad for us, but happy for her, we had to say goodbye to Caroline Noble this fall as she retired at the end of October. Caroline was instrumental in getting this new, awesome version of IFTDSS off the ground. We will all miss her contribution to the team. Ending on a happy note though, we are welcoming Tessa Nicolet to the team. We are super excited to have her join us and insure IFTDSS runs into the future!
‘Tis the season for Fuels Treatment Effectiveness Monitoring (FTEM) data entry! USFS and DOI Bureau fire managers are plugging away at entering their fuel treatment effectiveness data in to the FTEM system in IFTDSS as we speak! Winter is a busy time for the FTEM system as managers race to meet data entry deadlines for the 2022 fire season. Lucky for them, the IFTDSS/FTEM development team implemented a means by which large amounts of fuel treatment/wildfire interaction data can be entered in to the FTEM system simultaneously via the Batch Monitoring Spreadsheet. In order to accommodate and facilitate FTEM data entry on fires of increasing size with large numbers of treatment interactions, users can now download a spreadsheet with as many wildfire and treatment interactions as they would like, enter the data into the spreadsheet, and then upload in to FTEM to simultaneously populate the FTEM database and complete their monitoring in one fell swoop! This new uploading process has simplified entering FTEM data into the system. Happy Monitoring!
IFTDSS Technology Transfer
2022 started off with a few presentations to the wildly popular Fuels Community of Practice group. This is an effort led by the US Forest Service to bring together fuels practitioners from all agencies and partners. Twice monthly seminars have become a great venue for the IFTDSS Team to communicate with the interagency community on the latest and greatest developments in IFTDSS. A total of five presentations were provided for the Community of Practice group through 2022 including two that were offered following the 90 day pause by the Forest Service to review the National Prescribed Fire Program. These presentations were a great opportunity to show the fire management community how IFTDSS can help build better burn plans and develop more spatially compelling and defensible fuels treatment planning documents.
February and December brought two editions of the NWCG RX340/341 Burn Boss courses. We have been working hard for the past couple of years to integrate IFTDSS into the new curriculum that is being developed. There have been some starts and stops, but information and exercises are established now in the test course and great feedback is being collected as the RX340/341 courses are offered across the country.
2022 was the first time since its inception that the Forest Service was able to offer an in-person 2 weeks session of the Fuels Academy. Twenty students and about ten instructors traveled to Ft. Huachuca Army Installation in Arizona to spend time learning about fuels treatment planning on site with the resource managers and the neighboring Forest Service and BLM. Kim Ernstrom and Josh Hyde joined the group to support the class in learning how to apply IFTDSS to their exercises and planning documents. Field visits and work in the classroom really brought IFTDSS into the planning process. It is planned for IFTDSS to be incorporated in the next 2 years of the Fuels Academy curriculum.
Updates continue to happen and feedback continues being collected for the two online courses in the Wildland Fire Learning Portal: IFTDSS Overview 2022 and How to Use IFTDSS for a Prescribed Fire Plan. Both of these online courses are required pre-work for the RX340/341 courses and many other users are taking advantage of the online format for IFTDSS training.
The Forest Service National Prescribed Fire Review has brought considerable attention to the use of IFTDSS in Prescribed Fire Plans and Fuels Treatment Planning documents. We are expecting a very busy year in 2023 as many requests roll in to learn more about IFTDSS and how to apply it across fire management. NAFRI is sponsoring a detail program to find IFTDSS users in the field to assist with teaching the use of IFTDSS. An announcement went out to hire fuels specialists on 120-day details working in small groups and travel across the regions assisting the IFTDSS team in teaching many different aspects of IFTDSS. Online training is a great foundation but getting out in the field with in-person workshops proves to be the most effective way to bring these tools to field practitioners. Stay tuned for more information on the developing workshops and let us know if there is interest in hosting a workshop or being part of the training cadre. You can contact Kim Ernstrom at email@example.com or Tim Yurkiewicz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tech transfer activities 2022
- Online Courses: Wildland Fire Learning Portal:
- IFTDSS Overview 2022
- IFTDSS for Prescribed Fire Plans
- Quantitative Wildfire Risk Assessment (under development FS Enterprise)
- Overview of IFTDSS
- Using IFTDSS for Treatment Planning – Yosemite National Park
- FS Fuels Academy (in person Ft. Huachuca)
- FS Fuels Community of Practice
- Intro to FTEM – Jan 6th
- Using IFTDSS for Prescribed Burn Plans – Jan 20th
- Using IFTDSS for QWRA – May 5th
- IFTDSS for Treatment Planning: Case Studies and Model Comparisons - October 6th
- Editing Landscapes and IFTDSS for Holding and Contingency – Nov 3rd
- RX340/341 Burn Boss Courses
- February 2022 – Tall Timbers, Ember Alliance, U of Idaho – National course delivery (50 Students)
- December 2022 – Great Basin – Test Course (28 Students)
- FS Region 4 Burn Boss Workshop
- Region 6 Forest Service Shared Stewardship project – IFTDSS Hazard and exposure
- IFTDSS QWRA in use for Oregon -Washington Electric Cooperative - Risk Mapping
- Science You can Use – RMRS – Exploring IFTDSS - February 16th Webinar
- Fire managers from Greece at NIFC – Introduction to IFTDSS
- IFTDSS – A tool for cross-boundary fuels mitigation planning – 6th National Cohesive National Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop in Asheville, NC
The WFMRD&A data team is responsible for maintaining an extensive collection of wildland fire data products and integrating these products into critical planning, management, and reporting applications such as WFDSS and IFTDSS. The team utilizes the latest advances in geospatial technology and cloud infrastructure to ensure that the data products serviced are accurate, provide optimal performance, and ultimately meet the wildland fire community’s needs.
Heading into 2023, the group will focus their efforts on the annual geospatial data refresh for WFDSS Classic. Through this effort, existing spatial layers in WFDSS Classic are refreshed depending on when the authoritative data source provides an updated layer. Each layer has a different refresh schedule, which could occur on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.
The team will also continue to support data needs for IFTDSS and for WFDSS NextGen as the application is developed. In support of WFDSS NextGen, the team is involved in the development of an innovative Spatial Fire Planning Service which Agency fire planning and geospatial personnel will use to manage fire planning language and data. This new service will simplify maintenance and improve the accuracy and governance of fire planning language and shapes.
Nicole Vaillant from WFM RD&A is a coauthor on a published paper, along with others from USGS, University of Idaho, University of California - Merced, Utah State University, Colorado State University, and Boise State University. In this forum paper they briefly review current knowledge of common fuel treatment approaches, their intended benefits, potential risks, and limitations. They additionally discuss challenges for fuel treatment strategies in the context of changes in climate, invasive species, wildlife habitat, and human population, and explore how advances in geospatial technologies, monitoring, and fire behavior modeling, as well as accounting for social context, can improve the efficacy of fuels management in sagebrush ecosystems. Citation and link below:
Shinneman, D. J., Strand, E. K., Pellant, M., Abatzoglou, J. T., Brunson, M. W., Glenn, N. F., Heinrichs, J. A., Sadegh, M., Vaillant, N. M. 2023. Future Direction of Fuels Management in Sagebrush Rangelands. Rangeland Ecology & Management 86: 50-63.
Nicole also coauthored another newly published paper, along with others from Oregon State University, Pacific Northwest Research Station, and Pyrologix. They examine how invasion of the annual grass ventenata (Ventenata dubia) alters simulated fire across forest-mosaic landscapes of the 7 million ha Blue Mountains Ecoregion using the Large Fire Simulator (FSim) with custom fuel landscapes: present-day invaded vs. historic uninvaded. Invasion increased simulated mean fire size, burn probability, and flame lengths throughout the ecoregion and the strength of these impacts varied by location and scale. This study demonstrates how annual grass invasion can influence fire behavior and resilience across forest landscapes despite primarily invading non-forested areas, and highlights invasion as an important management issue in an expansive forest-mosaic ecosystem. Citation and link below:
Tortorelli, C.M., Kim, J. B., Vaillant, N. M., Riley, K., Dye, A., Nietupski, T. C., Vogler, K. C., Lemons, R., Day, M., Krawchuk, M. A., Kerns, B. K. 2023. Feeding the fire: annual grass invasion facilitates modeled fire spread across Inland Northwest forest-mosaic landscapes, Ecosphere 14(2): e4413. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.4413
Researchers Publish Paper on WFDSS
Stephen Fillmore and Travis Paveglio recently published a paper in the International Journal of Wildland Fire entitled, "Use of the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) for full suppression and managed fires within the Southwestern Region of the US Forest Service". Within the abstract, the researchers identify their key results as, "Users indicated that the program is viewed as efficient for sharing information about wildfires and documenting management decision rationale. They identified emerging gaps in technical proficiency and the need for specialised training that creates high-level users to help guide teams using the program." The authors provide suggestions for the continued use of WFDSS with modifications and training recommendations. Citation and link below:
Fillmore, S.D. and Paveglio T.B. (2023). Use of the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) for full suppression and managed fires within the Southwestern Region of the US Forest Service. International Journal of Wildland Fire.
Line Officer Qualifications Program
The Line Officer “Certification” program is now the Line Officer Qualification program. Tami Parkinson has been a key member of this NLOT committee to develop and provide guidance to the program for Line Officers/Agency Administrators to meet specific competencies when managing fire – prescribed or wildfire. This program started with a word document table called the Line Officer Learning Action Plan. It grew to a taskbook with AADM qualifications in IQCS and then to a qualification system of 6 positions total, (WFA 1, 2, 3; and RXA1,2,3) along with the taskbook. The intent of the program is to leverage the existing ordering processes (qualified or trainee), training opportunities, taskbook reviews, and qualification standards that already exist for fire resources, thus extending this management to the AA’s who are providing oversight and direction for these program areas. More information can be found at: https://wfmrda.nwcg.gov/agency-administrator-toolbox/agency-administrator-resources
If you have feedback to the taskbook or the program, there is a form link at the bottom of the webpage to solicit feedback or recommendations to the program.
Decision Support Centers
The WFM RD&A supported several Decision Support Centers in 2022. Fire season began early with Wes Hall and Mark Hale working remotely with the Southern Geographic Area in January through March, providing assistance with seasonal assessment, fire behavior modeling, and decision support. On March 26,th Mark traveled to the Southern Area Coordination Center in Atlanta for 14 days to set up and manage a Decision Support Center (DSC) for the region. WFM RD&A provided decision support, managed pods of Strategic Operational Planners (SOPL) and Long Term Fire Analysts (LTAN) in the region, assisted with Fuels Advisories, and updated seasonal assessments and AGOL products. The DSC also worked with remote analysts, including Jon Rieck from Region 1, to provide time sensitive fire behavior modeling products that helped state and local officials plan evacuations for fires near Gatlinburg, TN.
As the Southeast received moderating conditions, the Southwest, which had seen a mild dry winter, saw wildfire activity begin to increase in March/April. Wes Hall worked remotely to support Region 3 and incidents with fire modeling and decision support. In May, as activity continued and numerous large fires were burning, Erin Noonan traveled to NM to provide LTAN support for Cerro Peldo and Hemits Peak wildfires. On May 26th, Mark Hale traveled to Albuquerque, NM to the Southwest Area Coordination Center to set up and manage a DSC. Other WFM RD&A personnel, including Jim Riddering, supported the DSC with decision support products until conditions moderated in early July.
In June, as Alaska began to see an increase wildfire activity, Tami Parkinson traveled to Fairbanks for 14 days to provide decision support for the region. Mark Hale followed behind Tami for 21 days, helping lead decision support for the DSC and coordinating decisions updates until rain and lower temps moderated conditions in late July. Mark managed pods of SOPLs in Alaska as well as several remote SOPLS and Technical Specialists. Several WFM RD&A LTANs including Sam Amato, Wes Hall, and Rick Mowery provided remote fire behavior modeling and decision support for incidents or fire zones for several weeks in July.
Activity picked up in the Northern Rockies in September, and again, WFM RD&A helped assist with DSC support. Erin Noonan assisted with fire behavior support from Missoula and Mark Hale worked remotely from WY providing decision support for incidents. All in all, WFM RD&A staff helped setup and/or support four Decision Support Centers in the Southern Area, Southwest, Alaska and Northern Rockies during the 2022 fire season.
Communications & Outreach
Alison Mims, Visual Information Specialist, released a storymap on the Moose Fire in Idaho. Working in collaboration with the Salmon-Challis National Forest and Moose Fire Incident Management Teams, the storymap filled a communication need to provide a broader-scale view of the months-long fire by describing how it occurred, clear up some publicly-spread misinformation, tackle apparent fire literacy gaps, and enroll public support for future fuels treatment. This media-rich storymap contains material specific to the fire, but also includes some elements that could be helpful for increasing understanding of fire behavior and tactics in general. Storymap link: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/620cbb2df3344b74a9686de5bb174053
Tami Parkinson was one of four chairs who provided leadership and guidance to the 5th National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Workshop in Ashville, NC this past fall. This workshop was hosted differently in that the topics were gleaned from past workshops, conversations with wildfire managers and practitioners, and national directives or emphasis areas. Nicole Valliant, Alison Mims, and Alicia Thomas, all representing the WFM RD&A participated, either presented or assisted with some of the logistical support needs. The 6th annual CS workshop will be hosted in Santa Fe New Mexico: http://cohesivestrategyworkshop.org/
In 2022 the WFM RD&A participated in the USDA FS National Mentoring program. Wes Hall and Mark Hale participated as mentors in 2022, both mentoring employees. Mentors worked with mentees, meeting over a six-month period to share career information, discuss topics, and develop innovative ideas. Both Wes and Mark met with their mentees to help develop tasks and support networking with other leaders in field.
Wes mentored Yercenia Gutierres, a contract GIS specialist on the Angeles NF. Wes worked with Yercenia on a few Forest level GIS projects including reconstruction of past wildfire perimeters that had inaccuracies with the national dataset. Wes also worked on getting her a permanent position with the government after she completed her degree before her contract expired. Yercenia accepted a permanent position with the Marine Corps in Camp Pendleton in October of 2022.
Mark mentored Ian Rodgers, a new HR employee in Atlanta, Georgia. Mark worked with Ian to increase career networks and to receive greater exposure to HR and civil rights leaders through one-on-one Teams meetings. Mark also mentored Joel Torres from the Klamath NF. He is a 20-year firefighter and assistant helicopter manager. Mark helped Joel with career development and exposure to forest leadership through involvement on the Forest Leadership Team.
WFMRDA experienced many staff changes this past year. We said goodbye to two of our long-term employees as they entered retirement. The office also welcomed several new employees.
Tim Sexton, Program Manager for the Wildland Fire Research, Development & Application office retired at the end of December 2022. He managed the Wildland Fire Decision Support System as well as facilitated technology transfer of new science associated with wildland fire to the field. He previously served as a District Ranger on the Superior National Forest, the National Fire Use Program Manager, National Park Service Fire Ecologist, and District FMO and Hotshot Superintendent in the Pacific Northwest. Operationally, he served as Area Commander, Type I Incident Commander on Great Basin IMT 1 and as a Type II IC on Rocky Mountain IMT #2. His more than 50 years of service spanned 3 agencies, numerous forests, and many national committees. Tim’s leadership will be greatly missed throughout the wildland fire community.
Caroline Noble, lead of the Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System since 2014, retired at the end of October with over 30 years of federal service. Most of her career was with the National Park Service including assignments at Yosemite & Glacier National Parks and the Southeast Regional Office. Caroline joined the US Forest Service WFMRD&A in 2014 and has been the Lead for IFTDSS from the beginning. The WFMRD&A staff and the IFTDSS Team will miss her outstanding leadership.
WFM RD&A is pleased to welcome several new employees on board. Alison Mims joined the office in May 2022 filling a new Visual Information Specialist position. She began her career working in federal paleontology, but quickly moved into science communications and media after earning an MFA in Science & Natural History Filmmaking. For nearly 20 years, she worked for the National Park Service before joining the WFM RD&A. Amanda Ramsey with the National Park Service joined the RDA as the new Data Scientist, filling in behind Andrew Baily who left last October 2021. Amanda started November 7th and will help manage data for all the RDA applications. Tederell J. (TJ) Boyer joined the staff on December 18th filling in behind Trevor Miller. He has held many fire and dispatch positions, but comes to us most recently as the Intelligence Coordinator for the Southern Area Coordination Center. Tessa Nicolet just recently joined the WFM RD&A. She started her natural resource career on the Lincoln National Forest chasing Mexican Spotted Owls and Northern Goshawks through the south central New Mexican mountains. She pursued education in fire ecology and then returned to the Lincoln National Forest as the forest fire ecologist and later became the Southwestern Regional Fire Ecologist. K.C. Shedden is our most recent addition. He is a Fire Technology Transfer Specialist working out of Boise, Idaho for the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP) at NIFC. His role has split responsibilities between JFSP and the WFM RD&A. Like other WFM RD&A staff, K.C. will serve as a convenor for opportunities to leverage fire science research opportunities with the Wildland Fire community.
In addition to changes in permanent staff, we would like to acknowledge the incredible support we have received from those who detailed with the program in 2022: Ryan Hughes, Lindsay Silvia, Grant Grey, Patrick Doyle, and Scott Brewer. Alicia Thomas began detailing in 2022 and we are grateful to have her continued support into 2023. Rick Mowery detailed behind Tami Parkinson while Tami detailed as the Deputy Fire Director for Region 1.
Hello, I am Tami Parkinson the Acting Program Manager; I was selected to fill the first 120-day detail behind Tim Sexton. I have been a part of the WFM RD&A program since 2010. I primarily have focused on projects associated with the FS Agency Administrators, interagency line officers, policy changes or updates, Cohesive Strategy implementation, training and other projects or briefings as relevant to technology transfer. I have also provided oversight to several agreements and contracts leveraging capacities within academics and subject matter expertise outside the federal government. During my detail, I aim to provide continuity to the entire WFM program until the Program Manager position is filled permanently. The WFM RD&A staff has worked hard to develop and maintain relationships with many internal, external, and non-federal partners; maintaining this communication and being deliberate with these relationships will be a priority for me. I am looking forward to this detail opportunity – maintaining the relationships we have in place in addition to fostering new program relationships with external entities.