MINUTES OF October 18, 2000

            The Prevention and Education Committee met at 0900, October 18, 2000 in Whitefish, Montana.




             The first topic of discussion for this meeting was the upcoming workshop.  This committee is hosting the combined Great Basin/ Northern Rockies Fire Prevention and Public Safety Workshop.  The workshop will be held April 24-26, 2001 in Whitefish, MT.  The agenda was hammered out and speakers identified, and organization established.  The NRCG spring meeting is scheduled to take place concurrently with the workshop.


             Jerry Smithers gave the committee a presentation on Hazard Mitigation programs in the aftermath of the fire season and the potential for flooding.  Grant applications are being accepted for mitigation projects within Montana.  Discussed the appraisal process for grant application evaluation.  For more information and grant applications for within Montana, contact Larry Ackers at 406-841-3960.


            In light of the fact that Mike Dannenberg had been appointed chair of the Prevention and Education Committee for a two-year term three years ago, the committee decided to hold elections for a chair and vice-chair.  DC Haas was chosen to be the chair for the next two years, and Mike Santucci from North Dakota will serve as vice chair.


             The Committee had identified the lack of prevention training as one of the shortfalls within the Northern Rockies.  An action item in the strategic plan calls for this committee to support prevention training with the Northern Training Center.  Working in conjunction with the NTC, the Committee is hosting a P-301, “Wildland Fire Prevention Planning” class to be held May 7-11, 2001.  The steering group for this class consists of:

            Christa Loper                Sandy Groth

            Dick Rath                 John Allhands

            DC Haas                 Connie Fox

            Cathy Scofiel

             Another training issue that was discussed was the need for more levels of wildland fire prevention training.  Currently, NWCG has sanctioned five P or prevention courses.  P-101 and P-110 are introductory classes aimed at the first year firefighter with no prevention training.  The P-130 and P-151 classes are fire investigation courses, with little prevention direction.  The fifth class is P-301, a prevention planning class.  Another class is being taught at NARTC to prepare individuals for Prevention Team membership.  The prevention and education committee feels that prevention training should begin at Guard School and that 200 and 300 level courses in prevention implementation are needed.

Action Item:            Dannenberg to write a letter to the NWCG requesting their support in petitioning NWCG to further develop the wildfire prevention training curriculum.


            Ann Atcheson and Bill Peterson gave an update on school programs and the work that students are doing within the school system.  The Conservation and Education group is working to coordinate education programs.  In Townsend a 10 year plan is being worked on to create a “Childrens Forest” for learning; the Bitterroot is hoping to hire an education coordinator; documents are available for agencies to create a “Fireworks Trunk”.  The fireworks trunk is a package intended for K-9 grade schools to provide hands-on teaching of ecology, safety, W/U I, and fire behavior.  The “Burning Issues” program was recently added to the trunk.

            Another educational program called the Globe Program is an international, inter-disciplinary earth science program.  The Globe Program has high school students working on projects that I would need an interpreter to understand.  For more information on Globe, call Bill Peterson.

            The workshop committee has agreed to honor some of these students at the April Workshop.


             Work continues on the interface code action item.  The proposal was for Bruce Suenram to make a presentation to the NRCG meeting in Dec.  The committee is unsure if Bruce will be available or be ready to make that date.


            After a long 2000 fire season, it was apparent there were some problems with the fire restriction and closure process.  After some discussion, it was decided to table this issue until the January, 2001 meeting.  All committee members are requested to poll their agencies for fire restriction inputs.  The restriction issue will also require agency leadership and zone coordinators be brought into the development process.


             The next meeting is scheduled for during the week of January 22,2001.