Minutes of the January 25-27, 2000 Meeting

The meeting was called to order at 1300 January 25, 2000. This meeting was held at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, Montana.


Mike Dannenberg, Chair

Diana Enright, Rep for NW MT, Absent

Connie Fox, Rep for SW MT

Dick Rath, Rep for SC MT,

Pat Mullaney, Rep for E. MT

John Allhands, Rep for Central MT

North Dakota, Vacant

Sandy Groth, Rep. For North Idaho

Ann Acheson, Tech Spec. in education, Absent

D.C. Haas, Tech. Spec.

Denny Sutherlund, Tech. Spec.,absent

Lee Clark, Tech. Spec.

Jim Green, MT. DES, NRCG Liaison

Bruce Suenram, Tech. Spec.

Cathy Scofield, Tech. Spec.

Bill Peterson, Tech Spec.,absent


Education program for the Fire Use Program

The Prevention and Education Committee was asked by the Fire Use Committee for assistance and support in the selection or development of a consistent public message on fire use. The Northern Rockies needs an educational program that addresses the benefits and impacts of returning fire to the ecosystem. This program should address in-house training as well as external.

The P&E committee discussed the need of this project, and asked several questions that need to be asked:

Do we need this kind of education?

Is the public already educated on this subject?

Is this a conflicting message?

Are we endangering people with fire-use?

Who is the audience?

Do we need an "In-house" training package?

What material already exists?

The Prevention and Education Committee agreed to take the lead on this project with support from the Fire Use Committee.


Ann Acheson , Bill Peterson,   DC Haas, Dick Rath,   Two members of the Fire Use Committee

Analysis of the Wildland/ Urban Interface Codes

A report for NRCG

Bruce Suenram gave a report of an analysis of the various W/U Interface Codes. The International Fire Chiefs have a code; NFPA 299; Insurance Services Organization has a document; and the State of Montana has guidelines.

After reviewing the various proposed codes, the discussion centered on several concepts.

1. One code does not fit the needs of the Northern Rockies. The best parts from several would be needed.

2. The NRCG may endorse a code, but cannot adopt. Only local jurisdictions may adopt, and only by ordinance.

3. Code adoption in the Northern Rockies not likely. The NRCG must join forces with structure agencies to promote education of the risks.

4. NRCG members should promote their agency use of the codes if we expect local agencies and private citizens to follow the code recommendations.

Bruce Suenram will refine the presentation and will present to NRCG in the near future. Thanks Bruce.

Industrial Fires

The Idaho Department of Lands has started to see an increase in size and cost of some industrial fires. Many areas are starting to see more use of feller/bunchers in logging programs, and these machines can and do present special problems. Anyone experiencing fire problems with feller/bunchers should report those problems to their zone prevention representative so we can compile the information and send out an alert.

Bear at the Fair

DC Haas reported that the Missoula County Fairgrounds have instituted a new policy charging costumed characters, such as Smokey T. Bear, an a displayers fee. Although no fatalities have been reported from children being mauled, the fair board claims this is in response to safety issues. DC Haas will keep us informed on this ongoing issue.

Movie Report

"WILDFIRE: Feel the Heat"

Mike Dannenberg has been working on a proposal to bring the movie WILDFIRE to the I-Max Theater in Spokane. The will be an interagency project that encompasses two geographical areas, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies. Financing has been secured to fund the lease of the movie and an effort is under way to produce a four-minute prevention infomercial. Efforts are also under way for a prevention show during the Summer Celebration at the River Front Park. This movie comes with a school educational package. Estimated number of potential school age viewers, 20-30,000. Potential adult viewings of movie and infomercial, 150,000.

The movie is scheduled to begin showing in August 2000. A special showing for firefighters will be scheduled during the fall, possibly October 2000.

Great Basin/Northern Rockies Prevention Workshop

The final arrangements are being made for the 2000 joint workshop in Nevada. The agenda has been finalized, and the announcements are out. We encourage everyone to try and attend, as these workshops are an excellent source of information on fire prevention.

When the Northern Rockies decided to join forces with the Great Basin to host one workshop, a rotation was established as to where the next workshop would be held. The workshop for 2001 will be held in Montana with the Northern Rockies Prevention Committee taking the lead. The Site Selection Task Group reported to the committee about the possible locations to hold a workshop of this size in Montana. These sites were narrowed down to three, Chico Hot Springs, and two sites in Whitefish.

Note: During a conference call, the committee agreed to host the next Great Basin/ Northern Rockies Prevention Workshop at the Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish on April 23rd, 2001.

The next part of the discussion centered on the possible agenda items for the 2001 workshop. The group started brainstorming and some of the possible topics include; Interagency cooperation in prevention, education, new partnerships, fire investigations, Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation, Fireworks trunk. All sessions presented at Whitefish will have materials that can shared back with participant's home unit.

Action Item: a task group will be assembled and tasks assigned at a meeting during this years workshop.

Assigned: Mike Dannenberg will assemble the meeting

Montana Disaster Declarations

Jim Greene, liaison from NRCG to the Prevention and Education Committee made a presentation about Montana Disaster Declarations, and the process used to make them. He also explained the differences between disaster declarations and restrictions.

Geographic Area Wide Fire Statistics

Discussion centered on the fact that there is no area-wide fire cause information for prevention planning. Discussion on this topic covered what the information would be used for, who would be the central collection point, and what data to collect. Centralized data would help zones plan prevention on an interagency basis. Cathy Scofield agreed to start the process by collecting blank fire reports from the various agencies and look at the problems associated with compiling this data.

Action item: States to get copies of fire reports to Cathy.


Cathy Scofield presented a briefing paper addressing some problem areas with the Fire Restrictions and Closure process as used today. DC Haas also presented a letter written by Montana DNRC employees explaining some of the problems they have experienced.

The committee discussed the existing 1995 NRCG Restriction document, and decided that the document could use some updating. Specifically, issues that should be reviewed include:

* The process

* Differences in fire danger that occur within a zone

* Agencies that fall within more than one zone or county

* Interagency concurrence

* Process to rescind

* Parameters used to determine the need for restrictions

* Enforcement

* Coordination of communication of restriction information to news media

* Agency activities should reflect the restrictions placed on the public

The discussion centered on the need for fire managers to have flexibility in determining what, if any, restrictions might be needed. Zone coordinators are supposed to communicate with all agencies in the zone to promote a coordinated restriction process. This could be supported by a worksheet to provide information on fire danger that might be prompting talk of restrictions. DC Haas presented an example worksheet that Montana uses. This type of worksheet could also be tied to levels of fire prevention activities. The NRCG Web Site was recommended as a way to track restrictions in as they happen.

Action Item: Review and rewrite the 1995 NRCG Restrictions and Closure Paper and design a worksheet to help determine the need for restrictions. Verify the use of NRCG web site for tracking restrictions.

Assigned Cathy Scofield and Mike Dannenberg

National Prevention Use

Following the discussion on Restrictions, the committee addressed the use of prevention teams. Like restrictions and closures, this is a prevention tool that needs to be coordinated at an interagency basis. The prevention teams are being addressed in the National Mob guide, and will be mentioned in the Northern Rockies Mob Guide, (Cathy to do). The group feels that the use of these teams should be coordinated similar to restrictions.

Some discussion took place about the National Prevention Teams and membership, whether these should be red card positions, and who pays for the teams. A task book for the position was urged.

Action Item: Write guidelines for the use of teams similar to that of the restrictions guidelines.

Assigned: Cathy Scofield, Lee Clark, and Mike Dannenberg

Note : Applications for Prevention Teams were handed out and should be returned to Cathy or Lee.

Prevention Training Academy

There appears to be a need for training in wildfire prevention. We need to ensure that the prevention courses are listed on the needs analysis, and the training committee discusses the possibility of prevention training. The committee discussed the possibility of hosting a prevention academy, where P- courses along with supporting other classes could be taught. The prevention committee members agreed to help instruct such an academy. The Northern Training Center will be contacted for coordination and advertising.

Action Item: Coordinate a prevention academy.

Assigned: Dannenberg, Clark, Scofield, and Haas

Wildland/Urban Interface Programs

Dealing with the wildland/urban interface is a problem that faces all firefighters. There are numerous programs that deal with getting the message out to homeowners. These programs all say similar things, but may use different terms and advocate different techniques. We are looking for a common message, while providing information on fire education. We need to present a unified message.

Action Item: Review the existing W/I Interface programs, see if one meets the needs of the NR.

Assigned: DC Haas

Prevention List

The committee feels that the NR's should compile a list of names of those people actively involved in getting the fire prevention message out.

Action Item: Compile a list of those individuals actively involved in fire prevention.

Assigned: Mike Dannenberg