NH Prescribed Fire Council Meeting Minutes

NH Prescribed Fire Council
Meeting Minutes
February 22, 2012
Dept of Resources & Economic Development Headquarters, Concord, NH
Attending: Bryan Nowell, NH Forest Protection Bureau; Jeff Lougee, The Nature
Conservancy (TNC); Lisa Landry, Dept of Environmental Services; Dick Weyrick,
University of NH; Wendy Wiesiger, Society for the Protection of NHs Forests; Bill
Nichols, NH Natural Heritage Bureau; Jim Oehler, NH Fish & Game; Zach Boyajian, NH
Army-National Guard; Chase Marshal, US Forest Service (USFS; via phone).
Recording: Jim Oehler
Approve December Meeting Minutes
Spelled Dick’s last name incorrectly. Correct.
Minutes approved unanimously with correction.
IQS vs IQCS and Tracking Qualifications – Bryan and Zack
Jen Roy, administrative assistant for the Forest Protection Bureau, gave demonstration of
IQS is for state tracking. IQCS is for federal tracking. A person can’t be actively tracked
in both systems. If a state employee assists on a federal wildland fire, the state data in
IQS gets archived and employee training and certification gets tracked in IQCS from that
point onward.
Zack did some research on IQCS since the last meeting. One question researched was,
“can state specific position titles get created in IQCS?” Answer: only if the position
would be used at a national level. Not sure in IQS. Jen Roy will ask.
Doesn’t appear that we can rely on just one system to keep track of personnel
qualifications. State personnel will be tracked in IQS and federal personnel in IQCS.
Non-profit partners will likely be in IQS.
Action Item:
Zack will review IQS in more detail with Jen Roy to see how to make that system
work for the NH prescribed burn positions. Will try inputting some test cases into the
Grandfathering Staff with Previous Experience - All
The Nature Conservancy legal council recommends that each organization review the
training and experience history of their staff and determine if they feel that staff meet
current guidelines.
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Staff would need to document their experience including positions held on different fire
events (resume format and certificates). It’s important for all historic and future
experience to be tracked.
Federal agencies don’t grandfather staff due to liability concerns. USFS has a red line
committee that goes through staff qualifications to make sure staff is up to date on
training/qualifications. Would this approach be helpful for Rx Fire Council? Jim
suggested that Rx Fire Council review staff qualifications each year at a March/April
meeting. All agreed
Action Items
While reviewing the IQS system with Jen, Zack will also try inputting a test example
of someone who has a lot of experience but not necessarily the classroom training per
current standards.
Council members will have their own staff compile experience and certificates. This
information will be shared with the NH Forest Protection Bureau. The Bureau will
determine at what level they qualify at, if any.
At each March/April meeting, Council will review current training/experience level
of all personnel and identify training needs to maintain proficiency and achieve
desired level of training.
Draft Task Book Review – Zack
Zack only received comments from Jim. Jim’s comments were discussed.
Question 1: Would we allow an RXFF2 who hasn't taken S-231 and who hasn't gotten
tasks certified to be an engine boss? Answer: No, but person could assist with engine
operation as long as qualified staff is the crew boss.
Question 2: Would the trainee take the lead on modifying ignition to address changing
weather and unexpected hazards or simply implement what is told to them by the ignition
or fire boss? Answer: Igniter would communicate how fire is burning and propose
changing ignition pattern to supervisor.
A few other slight modifications were identified that did not warrant discussion.
Jim motioned to accept the Advanced Rx Firefighter Task Book as amended. Dick 2nds.
All approved.
Action Items
Zack to continue working on task books for NH Fire Leader I and NH Fire Leader II.
Zack to edit Advanced Rx Firefighter Task Book as outlined above and send to Andy
for posting on Council’s website as a pdf.
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Review Draft MOU – Jeff
Jeff used existing prescribed fire MOUs (e.g.,, TNC and USFS) to develop existing draft.
The draft contained several questions that Jeff put to the Council.
Should the following agencies/orgs be signatories on the MOU?
North Country RC&D - No. Not relevant and has not participated.
NH Dept. of Environmental Services - Lisa Landry says no.
USFWS - Yes. Jeff will follow up with Dave Walker to verify and determine who
should sign for USFWS. USFWS has been actively burning at the Great Bay National
Wildlife Refuge.
Wildland Fire
Should MOU address cooperation on wildland fires? No. Focus should be on prescribed
fire. Individual agencies can develop MOUs for wildland fire if needed.
Should we highlight training in the Purpose section? Yes. Jeff to add text.
Other Edits
Modify first sentence of Purpose section to state, “….to facilitate cooperation among
council members.”
Modify item B1b to state, “…achieve desired ecological and resource management
goals” Given that this statement was taken directly from the Council’s bylaws, Jeff seeks
motion to amend bylaws as suggested. Wendy 1sts. Zack 2nds. All approve.
Modify B1d to state, “….communication and cooperation among council members
related to….” Again, given that this statement was taken directly from the Council’s
bylaws, Jeff seeks motion to amend bylaws as suggested. Zack 1sts. Tom 2nds. All
Change all references to “COUNCIL” to “SIGNATORIES” to clarify that individual
agency/organization representatives are not responsible to carrying out the activities
outlined in the MOU, but the agency/organization signing onto the MOU is.
Modify C2a to add qualifications record keeping in IQS, IQCS or subsequent systems.
Modify C3 and C4. Agencies/organization that follow NWCS standards may not be able
to assist on burns lead by a burn boss who is certified at the lessor state standard. TNC
and USFS will review with their fire managers and agreement coordinators to determine
how to address this.
Modify C4 to state, “….(the “assisting party”) will be given an opportunity to review the
prescribed fire burn plan prior to the day of the burn.”
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Change all references to “employees” to “personnel”.
Section C6. Escaped fire. Add language that will allow qualified staff to stay and help.
If not added, some agencies standard operating procedures may call for stepping back
until suppression agencies arrive on the scene.
Section C7. Aircraft. Should this be addressed in the MOU. USFS typically requires
aircraft language in all fire agreements. However, we may not use aircraft for prescribed
fire in NH. Exceptions may be aerial ignition or Army-National Guard training on fire
suppression. TNC and USFS will see if their agencies will require language to be added.
Federal agencies will require a max of a 5 year period for MOU. They need to be
reviewed at least every 5 years.
Action Item
Jeff to make changes to draft MOU and bylaws as outlined above and send revised
MOU to Council members for in-house review including administrators, agreement
coordinator, etc.
Calendar – Jim
Jim reviewed a number of online calendar options to see which would work best for
listing training and prescribed burning opportunities on the Council’s website. Two best
options were Zoho Calendar and Google Calendar. Test of Zoho Calendar proved
unsuccessful. Not all Council members could view it. No issues with the testing of
Google Calendar.
Action Items
Jim to provide html code to Andy Fast to embed Google Calendar onto the Council’s
Jim to provide administrative priveleges to Jeff and Zack to see if they can
successfully add events to the calendar.
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