Northern Rockies Coordinating Group (NRCG)

Training Committee Meeting - Fall 2001

Thursday, October 25, 2001 at 08:00





            Name                                                               Title/Location


Neil Nelson                                        NRCG Training Committee Chairperson,

                                                            NWZ Training Representative

Judy Crandall                                     CMZ Training Representative

Kitty Ortman                                       SWZ Training Representative

Mike Kopitzke                                     MT DNRC

Eric Kurtz                                            MT DNRC

John Christianson                                NDZ, Training Representative

Rick Lang                                            EMZ, BLM

Diane Devine                                      EMZ, Training Representative

Risa Lange-Navarro                            NRTC Training Specialist

Gaylen Yeates                                     SCZ, Gallatin NF

Jean Claybo                                         EMZ, BLM

Dave Emery                                        SWZ, Lolo NF/SMCC

Debby Atencio                                    NIZ, Idaho Panhandle NF

Kent Gilmore                                      NIZ, Clearwater/Nez Perce NF, Acting NIZ Training Representative

Bob Cunningham                                NRTC Manager

Rosie LeMire                                     NRTC Office Automation Assistant

Jeff Scussel                                         Forest Service Regional Office

Jim Liverton                                        SWZ

Nancy Gibson                                      SWZ, Bitterroot NF

Kathy Elzig                                          NRCC

Jim Steele                                            NRTC Training Specialist

Bob Wing                                            NRTC Training Specialist



Introductions (Neil Nelson)

Each participant introduced him or herself and explained their roles and responsibilities.


Prioritization of Out of Area Course Nominations (Bob Cunningham)

Nominations were listed by training course, by zone, nominee’s name, zone priority, and course location.  The committee established the Geographic Area (GA) Priority and the lists were updated (additions, deletions, etc.) Figures from last spring’s needs analysis will be compared to the actual needs identified this fall.  This information will be shared with the training representatives.  


Update on NRTC and National Nomination Forms/Process (Rosie LeMire)

We are moving toward nomination forms being processed electronically through the e-mail system.  This year will be the test year.  Northern Rockies, Northwest and Great Basin will be test locations.  All geographic areas (GA) will be using the same form.  Guides are within the system to assist in the process.  The process will be initiated by the student and routed through the appropriate channels.  There will be required fields to be filled out and those that have errors or are incomplete will be returned to the originator. NRTC recommends that whenever possible nomination forms be completed and forwarded electronically.


The NRTC e-mail address to send all NRTC nomination forms, etc. is:  


r1 nrc (for FS nominations)  (for all other nominations)


Update on NRTC Program (Bob Cunningham)



The NRCG Fire Training Program Guide was updated from the 1999 version. Bob Cunningham highlighted changes and items of importance for the group.


Page 1:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will become a party to the NRCG Training Agreement in the fall of 2001.

Page 2: Paragraph 1.  Zone are reminded that if they identify the need to host a course that is the responsibility of NRTC to present they should coordinate with the NRTC Training Specialist responsible for that curriculum. This will insure Zones are provided with the most up to date course materials available and insure course content consistency within the Geographic Area.

Page 2:  Change the e-mail addresses listed for NRTC, in the 7th paragraph, to those listed (above).

 Page 5: Paragraph 3 – Membership.  Last sentence – NWZ will chair starting Spring 2001….

Neil Nelson NWZ Training Representative is the present chair-person.  Neil will be the chair until the Spring 2002 meeting and then the chair will go to NIZ.


 Page 6 – EMZ.  Southern Land Officer should be Southern Land Office.


Page 16 – Position Task Book Procedures.  Heads up.  Trainee requirements include completion of all required training courses and prerequisite experience prior to obtaining an initiated PTB.  Policies need to be followed.  Training policies are complex and vary among agencies.  Task books are not to be issued until requirements are met.




Page 18 to 20 – NRCG Training Committee Members.   Changes to be made.

John Christianson: remove the period between John and Christianson in his e-mail address.  Change box number to 1037 Forestry Drive


Mike Kopitzke: Change zip code to 59804


 Add under Mike LeBrun (per Jean Claybo):

      Lynda Big Man

      Interagency Fire Ctr

      1299 Rim Top Drive

      Billings, MT 59105


There is no training representative for Idaho Department of State Lands (IDL) at this time.  Remove cda and dot out of e-mail address.


Rosie will update changes on Training website.



NRTC is proposing to add two additional Training Specialist positions.  These positions may be, in whole or in part, funded and or employed by non Forest Service agencies.  With approval of Forest Service Management, the Forest Service will fill these positions if other agency support is not available. 


Rosie LeMire has become USFS Region 1 Regional Wildland Firefighter Apprenticeship Program Coordinator. As the NRTC Administrative Assistant Rosie has worked in the Northern Rockies Coordination Center for 3 months each summer.  With Forest Service Management approval she will move to NRTC as a full time employee.  The additional salary costs associated with this move will be funded by the Forest Service.


NRTC purchased audio visual equipment in preparation for the upgrade of the classrooms at NRTC.  As Forest Service funding is available the NRTC classrooms with be remodeled to accommodate state of the art audio visual equipment and larger class sizes.



The NRTC Course Coordinator’s Guide has been revised.  Course Coordinators will be presented with the new guide at tomorrows Course Coordinator Meeting.







AD and Contractor Training, Qualifications, and Hiring (Judy Crandall)


Training and red cards were discussed.  It was noted that more guidance, support and clarification needs to be provided on handled AD’s and contractors.  The red cards and yellow cards need to be tracked.  We have “freelance” AD’s.  Nobody is tracking them.  We have to make sure they meet the requirements. 


OWCP claims were discussed.  An example is an AD received injuries and obtained medical treatment.  OWCP then required the Forest Service to provide work for the AD  even though the fire emergency had ended. Personnel is negotiating with OWCP.


AD’s and the 14 day policy and R&R we discussed.  We need guidance on this issue.


We need NRCG to help build some consistencies that include: issuing red cards and yellow cards, issuing task books and certification, oversight.  Legal requirements need to be addressed.  Safety issued need to be emphasized.  Certification on the cards needs to be revised to identify the certifier.  We are having problems with vendors.  There are problems identifying who the trainer is.  A yellow card was issued by someone who wasn’t a vendor. 


When question associated with AD and contractor training or qualification arises we need to have a phone number in order to contact the training provider.


We have to have quality and content, consistency of vendor training to comply with standards.


It was also mentioned that we don’t hire engines without an engine boss.  The engines have to meet standards as well as the individuals.  This is not in the business management handbook.


We need to have something in place to deal with contractors.  It was recommended that an operating guide be developed in order to have consistent management of these issues at the Geographic Area level.


Mike Kopitzke suggested a committee be formed to work on these issues.  Judy Crandall, Nancy Gibson, and Mike Kopitzke agreed serve on the committee.  It was recommended that a representative such as Kathy Benson from the Fire Business Management be included in the group. 








Review of Training Provider MOU Process (Bob Cunningham)


NRCG Zone Training Representatives are tasked by NRCG with oversight of Training Providers who have signed MOU’s with NRCG.  It is appropriate for the Zone Training Representatives to review the success of the Training Provider MOU’s program and as deemed appropriate make recommendations to NRCG on the Training Provider concept.  It was suggested the group looking at the AD and Contractor issues review this area.  Focusing on the MOU process may clear up questions on the other issues.  Neil Nelson, Kitty Ortman, and Jean Claybo will work on this issue in conjunction with the AD/Contract Employee Issues committee. Copies of Training Provider MOU’s are available at 



Review/Validation of NRCG Training Committee (Neil Nelson)


The NRCG Training Committee presented NRCG with an issue paper at the Spring NRCG meeting. Neil Nelson will revisit the issue paper with NRCG at their fall meeting and ask for concurrence on the recommendation contained in the Issue Paper.  Until NRCG provides specific guidance the Training Committee cannot move forward on the recommendations.


Neil Nelson is requesting Mark Vore of NIZ to accompany him to the meeting on November 14 – 15, 2001.  If Mark is unavailable, Kitty Ortman agreed to assist Neil.


Update on Geographic Area Training Proposals (Bob Cunningham)



As stated earlier Rosie LeMire will coordinate this Forest Service program. Region 1 has over 100 new employees placed in this program. 



NRTC has been asked by the Forest Service to look at this concept.  We will target people across all State and Federal agencies moving into fire management officer positions.  We are considering a curriculum to complement existing courses and to cover hard to get courses in supervision, personnel, etc.  We are still in the initial stages on this concept and will share a concept of the program at the spring training meeting.



NRTC was requested by BLM in Montana to research conducting a Wildland Firefighter Academy.  The academy would focus on local government and contractor Wildland Fire training. The concept is similar to the Wildland Fire Academies that have been conducted in Colorado and Utah. 









S-300 Simulation (Kitty Ortman)


It was mentioned that Idaho Panhandle NF had attempted the S-300 Simulation, but was unsuccessful due to lack of support from the simulation developers.  Seven years ago a proposal to develop a field friendly fire training simulation program was submitted.  A test version was done in Spokane in 1987.  To date $650,000 has been expended, but there is no finished product.  If a S-300 simulation is available for field use this winter, NRTC agreed to host a Train the Trainee session for the simulation.


Other Business (Neil Nelson)


Give all hard copies of nominations to Rosie today.  If you can send electronically, send when you get back to your office.  If payment is required and no payment information is provided, the nomination will be returned to the Zone. 


Posting Zone Training Schedules on the web was discussed.  If you don’t have a web page, contact Rosie for assistance in having your zone schedule posted.


For your information:  Wildland  Fire Safety, November 6 – 8, 2001, University of Montana.  For more information about the conference, questions about registration or travel to Missoula, please contact Natural Resource Management Division, Center for Continuing Education, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812.  Call 406-243-4623 or email:


The committee discussed recognizing Marilyn Johnson for all of her work and commitment to training.











Notetaker:  Verena Rattler, 2302 W. Broadway #3, Missoula, Montana 59808-1862.  406-728-7378.