Fired up about partnerships
Today we hear from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Fire Coordinator Glen Stratton about the recent release of the Northeast Regional Action Plan of the Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. The cohesive strategy responded to the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act of 2009 to address how fire managers can work together to develop fire resiliency across the land, protect human communities and respond to wildfires.
Q: Why is the cohesive strategy important to the Northeast?
A: If you look at the term “cohesive,” it involves working with partners towards a common goal. Because there are so many people here in the Northeast and it’s so fragmented, we have many partners. So to me, the “cohesive strategy” is just putting down on paper what we’re already doing.
Q: How is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service engaged in the efforts?
A: [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Fire Planner] Rick Vollick has been on the team that put together this regional action plan, so our region has been involved with the Northeast Regional Cohesive Strategy from the beginning. He’s been doing a good job of making sure our interests are represented.
Q: One of the three components of the cohesive strategy is resiliency. What does that mean?
A: Well, for me, resiliency is what we do to support the mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service. A resilient landscape would be one where a wildfire could burn through it, and it would respond [ecologically] positively. For example, we have areas in eastern Massachusetts and New Jersey where fires periodically burned. The more [prescribed] fire we can put on these landscapes, the more resilient they will be. If we’re doing our jobs, a wildfire would not be a stand-replacing event.
Q: What about the other components: human communities and wildfire response?
A: Our footprint is so small in this region with our refuges, so we work with our state partners to connect with homeowners and encourage them to do things to keep their homes safe from wildfire. For the same reason, we also rely heavily on our state and local fire cooperators to respond to any wildfires on our land. Our firefighters can respond to wherever we’re needed to put out wildfires because we’re a national resource.
Q: How do you see the Northeast Region’s fire program as contributing to the future?
A: I think Fish and Wildlife will always have a fire program, but it may look different in the future. We may not be able to assist or respond with the resources that we once had, but we’ll always be able to assist in all of the areas of the cohesive strategy, be it advisory or contributing resources and equipment. I don’t see the fire program going away.