Communication Prevention and Investigation Working Team Meeting Notes September 30, 2010 This meeting of the team was by conference call and began at 1:30 p.m. In Attendance: Esther Hernandez (Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office), Chair, Communication Prevention and Investigation Working Team; Steve Wilson, Oregon Department of Forestry; Lauren Maloney, Bureau of Land Management/US Forest Service – SORO; Sandy Williams, Washington Department of Natural Resources; Rod Nichols, Oregon Department of Forestry, Paul Bell, Steering Committee Liaison, Oregon Department of Forestry, Claire McGrew, Oregon Office of State Marshal, Jeree Mills, U.S. Forest Service, Maria Thi Mai, Bureau of Land Management. The team also hosted visitor Kelly Niles from the Oregon Department of Forestry, who is the co-chair of the annual fire prevention workshop. Representative Updates: Jeree Mills talked about Pacific Northwest Wildfire Coordinating Group (PNWCG) Communication Prevention and Investigation Working Team (CPI WT) website. The website that the previous Prevention Working Team had developed had its domain registration expire over the summer. The site available to the CPI WT through the PNWCG (Found at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/fire/pnwcg/communication-fire-prevention-and-investigation/) does not currently have information posted, and this web site will be the best location for the team to post materials or links to relevant web sites. Jeree is also working with interested Forest Service employees to brainstorm ideas about ways to engage with 2011 Wildfire Awareness Week. Sandy Williams has made an effort to produce wildfire prevention materials though state printing services using Living with Fire materials. Unfortunately, she learned that the state printer’s office has lost the Living with Fire template. She is looking for another copy of the template. The round robin reports paused to allow Kelly Niles to talk with the group about the prevention conference while he was on the call. Task Order # 1009-11, Annual Fire Prevention Workshop: The CPI WT has been issued a task order from the PNWCG Steering Committee to explore offering support for an annual prevention conference and to provide the committee with a report offering a recommendation. Steering Committee Liaison Paul Bell gave background on the task order that the Steering Committee would like the CPI WT to consider official participation and support of the conference that is typically held each February at Salishan. The Steering Committee recognizes that many Washington agencies do not allow their employees to travel outside the state, and would like the group to consider whether the PNWCG should officially support this conference, what that support would be, and also whether developing a second conference offered within the state of Washington would be a good project for the CPI WT to develop. Sandy emphasized that prevention workshops are very important development opportunities, but state agency funding personell to attend is a problem. She supports the CPI WT developing a conference accessible to Washington agency employees for 2012 or 2013 when state agency budgets might improve. Esther agreed that the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office is in the same position with no budget for travel, and that planning for a prevention conference in Washington for the future is a good idea. Claire said the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is also experiencing a budget shortfall and that concern over funding prevention workshops has also been expressed by a number of their partners. Kelly agreed that Sandy, Esther and Claire have done a good job of framing the difficulty in putting on a prevention workshop. The Salishan workshop committee understands this dynamic and has worked to keep this conference in place because it has been strongly supported in the past several years by the State of Oregon through employee attendance. No single agency has stepped up to offer conference funding, so this group has worked hard to keep costs low. This year the group has been able to reduce the expense of the scheduled 2011 workshop, and has had planning help from CPI WT members Steve and Claire. Two important ways the CPI WT can support this workshop are directing funding to help and sending agency employees. Steve asked the group to consider opportunities for the CPI WT to stay connected to this workshop, such as adding the PNWCG logo to the conference brochure. Kelly explained that some of the options his workshop-planning group has looked at include seeking grants through the Forest Service or BLM (both agencies have offered grant funding for scholarships in recent years past), as well as other cost supplements, including private grants. The group has not yet been successful, but continues to try. They have been told the group could qualify grants if it had a 501(c)3 non-profit status and tax ID number. Paul suggested that partnering with the Douglas Forest Protective Association (DFPA) might be an avenue to take advantage of their already-existing non-profit status, and Kelly agreed to check on that. Kelly also shared that there has been lots of feedback to workshop planners to offer more NWCG-certified training and continuing education courses. This additional training would make the workshop more valuable, and allow more agencies to send employees. As a result, the upcoming workshop will offer NWCG’s P-101, Fire Prevention Education I. This course will also offer college credit through Central Oregon Community College. Kelly indicated brochures for this February’s conference will go out by the end of October. He said the group would be pleased to add the PNWCG logo to the brochure, but would need to know and have a high-quality copy of the logo by October 8th in order to meet the current timeline. The group then discussed whether to add the PNWCG logo to this year’s conference brochure. Sandy supports adding the PNWCG logo even though WA DNR employees cannot attend this year because of the cost (about $750 total per person). Paul suggested including this issue in the report requested by the Steering Committee. Sandy asked that the notes reflect the CPI WT’s request of the Steering Committee to offer some scholarship funding for this year’s workshop that would cover the entire cost of attending for state personnel. The working team discussed whether it needs approval from the Steering Committee in advance to add the PNWCG logo to the prevention workshop brochure, and determined advance approval is not necessary. Paul indicated that if the group could provide him a written report by October 15 th, he could present it to the Steering Committee at its October 20 th meeting to share the group’s request for support of this year’s prevention conference. If the meeting notes could be prepared soon, they could serve as the draft report to fulfill the task order request for a written report. The CPI WT took a vote and all members agreed to support use of the PNWCG logo on the brochure for the 2011 prevention workshop. Kelly reminded the group to support the conference by sending employees and any funds it can offer, as well as offering agency instructors for future course offerings. He also requested input as to what prevention classes employees need. All agreed that providing NWCG courses as part of the prevention workshop would likely boost attendance. Kelly thanked the group for its open-minded support of the workshop. Task Order # 1009-09, Wildfire Awareness Week: This task order asked the CPI WT to consider implementation of Wildfire Awareness Week in the Pacific Northwest and whether there should be a single PNWCG-sponsored Wildfire Awareness Week program or if existing efforts by the various wildfire agencies serve the public well. The order also requests that the CPI WT recommend an appropriate date or date range for a Wildfire Awareness Week program and to describe the process to implement the teams’ recommendation. Jeree reiterated that she is working with a group of Forest Service employees who feel passionately about putting on a program for next year’s Wildfire Awareness Week and that it is currently best for that group to focus its energies on what the Forest Service can do. Sandy shared some of the efforts she has made, for example, the International Association of Wildland Fire is interested in taking on Wildfire Awareness Week. Having a non-profit behind this movement to take Wildfire Awareness week to a global level would be beneficial to those struggling at the state level. In taking on this activity, IAWF has a broader support base and would then be able to solicit funding as well. Sandy has been asked by Chris Johnson from the Northwest Territories to attend a Canadian Partners and Protection meeting to discuss. This is an increasing challenge in Washington due to staffing issues and budget cuts, but they have enjoyed good success in the past with the aid of a BLM grant that helped Washington to offer a burn barrel exchange program as part of the 2010 Wildfire Awareness Week. Rod reported that Oregon Department of Forestry has also had past success with Wildfire Awareness Week. In 2008, they were able to obtain $40,000 through Keep Oregon Green to produce and distribute fire-resistant plan posters. The group discussed whether these various agency strategies are working, or whether there should be a single Wildfire Awareness Week program led by the PNWCG CPI WT. The consensus is that the CPI would like to maintain the current strategy for now, but will consider other methods into the future. It seems that this group can facilitate good connection of groups across the region and can help cross pollination of ideas by sharing the different activities that are going on. Rod noted that in 2009, Oregon, California and Nevada offered a joint Wildfire Awareness Proclamation and each state had differing themes or emphasis because wildfire issues are different in each state. This was a relatively easy way for the three states to coordinate their efforts. There was also a discussion concerning the date range for Wildfire Awareness Week. Rod noted the Oregon/California/Nevada event was all on the same week, and only differed by the themes introduced. National Wildfire Awareness week runs the full week in May that precedes Mother’s Day, beginning on Sunday and running through Saturday. For 2011 that is Sunday, May 1st through Saturday, May 7th. Sandy reported that Mark Gray had recently received an email message from Mary Ellen at Keep Oregon Green requesting that the state of Washington observe Wildfire Awareness Week during a particular week in June; Sandy explained that May works better for Washington for a number of reasons, including the fact that this date range is the former PNWCG Prevention Working Team had previously agreed upon for Wildfire Awareness Week. Maria shared that BLM has been making a strong effort to have a social media presence, and that BLM waited until late July this year, when fire season typically begins in Oregon and Washington, to share fire prevention information. She said that it would be fairly easy for BLM to support Wildfire Awareness Week through use of social media during that week in May or any other timeframe. After some discussion, the group agreed it will support the status quo. It will lean toward supporting Wildfire Awareness Week efforts by the various agencies, particularly during the week in May that precedes Mother’s Day, and will commit to informal coordination through the CPI WT round robin information sharing as this group meets throughout the year. Task Order # 1009-10, PNWCG Annual Accomplishment Report: Paul again provided background on this tasking, noting that producing an annual accomplishment report is a part of the PNWCG strategic plan. In 2010, Paul worked with Rod to obtain information from PNWCG Steering Committee facilitator Pat Kelly and put together a report sharing the past year’s PNWCG accomplishments. Rod indicated he had created a simple two-page design and made sure to get lots of input from Pat as he developed the report. What drives the timing of developing the report is obtaining inputs from the various PNWCG working teams on or after the date of the scheduled February in-person reports to the Steering Committee, and then putting together the report by April. Rod does not think this task will be especially challenging for the group to prepare. He agreed to send a copy of the 2010 report to CPI WT members. Public Information Officer Training & Experience Requirements Document: Lauren shared a document she drafted to describe training and experience required for the different types of Public Information Officers (PIOF, PIO2 & PIO1), including the differences between various agencies and a citation to the resource that describes the requirement. This was developed as the result of CPI WT discussions in the spring of 2010, which identified a need for the group to offer support for more consistent information to be available to potential fire information officers, as many interested PIOs run into varied guidance from their home unit training officers. Lauren worked with the assistance of State and Regional Training Officer Mike Spencer to develop the table. Lauren added that on September 29th Tom Knappenberger forwarded to her an email message with a copy of a formal request from the national NWCG Communications, Education and Prevention working team to the NWCG Operations and Workforce Development working team proposing modification of existing requirements for PIOs. Several of the proposed changes would significantly impact this draft document. As a result, Lauren proposed that the group “hold” this draft document while she researched whether and when these NWCG changes might be adopted so that this document would be in line with current national requirements. Lauren will follow up and send out a refined document prior to the next scheduled meeting. Smokey Bear Awards: Jeree expects the Forest Service will put out a call for nominations via letters to State Foresters later this fall, with the deadline for nominations falling around the end of January. Jeree emphasized that the letters will instruct applicants to be sure to either submit applications directly to her, or to at least send her a courtesy copy so that she will be aware of any nominations submitted from Oregon or Washington. When Jeree receives a copy of this letter, she will pass it on to the group. This award is not just for individuals, but also for any groups or partners that might be doing fire prevention work worth celebrating. Does anyone have a group or individual in mind? Sandy will review the letter when it comes out to help her decide whether to offer a nomination. Time will be set aside on this group’s December meeting agenda to coordinate potential nominations. Group members were encouraged to consider possible nominations between now and then. The nominating individual will be responsible to do the write up and any other paperwork, with possible support help from this group. Representative Updates (continued): Jeree recapped her plan to work on Wildfire Awareness Week activities with a group of Forest Service employees. Claire reported that the week of October 3rd through 9th is structural Fire Prevention Week and she has been involved with that effort on behalf of Oregon. Lauren reported that the new BLM Grants Manager started working in BLM/FS Fire & Aviation Management on September 27th. His name is Dennis Fiore and he comes from Prineville BLM. The Fiscal Year 2011 Wildland-Urban Interface Community Assistance grants program is currently under revision through a subgroup of the PNWCG Fuels Working Team, which is comprised of almost entirely new members this year. It is anticipated that a call for applications will go out by early December with an application deadline likely in mid-February. The program will likely award significantly reduced funding through the BLM this year (approximately $100,000) while Forest Service funding will likely increase to around $2.5 Million available, with a focus on projects that have a strong element of biomass utilization. Lauren also shared that BLM will host a national fire trespass workshop in Portland in January with BLM state and local fire trespass coordinators and law enforcement offices as the intended audience. The group will likely invite Jeff Bonebreak from ODF to give a short talk about activities of the NWCG Investigation working team of which he is a member. Social Networking: Esther reported on behalf of the Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office that employees are cleared to utilize YouTube and Twitter to promote safety messages, and could use these tools in this capacity to help support any complementary efforts of the CPI WT. Claire offered that access to social media through the State of Oregon has been tight, but they are moving toward increased access to more fully engage in social media efforts. Prevention Website: The former Prevention Working Team Prevention website is no longer available. This site’s domain registration expired over the summer. Other options to share regional prevention, communication or investigation information exist through the Northwest Coordination Center website or through the PNWCG website in the CPI WT area. Paul mentioned that he had received an email message from Jim Edmonds, the PNWCG web master, and the CPI WT needs to provide content for its web page, including at least a charter and recent team meeting notes. Lauren will send some notes and the charter to Jim for posting; Jeree asked whether posting links to this site would be appropriate, and the group agreed it would. Jeree will draft a list and send it out to the group by email for any additions. Announcement: Jeree announced she has been engaged in working with the US Mint on the development of a Mt. Hood quarter through their America the Beautiful program. This is significant because most of these quarters are of national parks, not national forests. There will be a quarter “kick-off” ceremony at the World Forestry Center on November 17 th at 10:30 a.m. A free quarter will be offered to children under the age of 18. Adults may buy quarters, but they must be purchased by the roll. The call concluded at 3:15 p.m.
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