NRCG Northwest Montana Zone

Spring Meeting


April 30, 2002


NRCG Zone Members Attending:                           Unable to Attend:             

  • Cathy Calloway, FNF,  Chair   
  • Charlie Webster, KNF        
  • Ted Mead, DNRC      
  • Fred VanHorn, GNP
  • Alan Marble, Flathead Co
  • Martha Smith, Sanders Co
  • Bob Rebarchik, USFWS
  • Prevention: Mark Stanley & Marcy Goheen
  • Training: Neil Nelson
  • Business: Bill Caldwell
  • Jean Helps, FIDC
  • Rick Kesling, Lincoln Co.



  • Fire Use: Dennis Divoky
  • Randy Sutton, Lincoln Co
  • Steve Stanley, Lake Co
  • Operations: Mark Romey





Follow-up items are listed in bold in these notes.


Committee Updates  --NRCG Committee notes  & spring meeting should soon be posted on the web at



·        NRCG Supplements to the Interagency Business Mgmt Handbook should soon be on the web; AD-5 rates reviewed and finalized (soon to be posted)

·        Working to improve coordination with NRCG Ops and Training Committees via establishing designated liaisons between the committees.

·        NRCG Equipment committee has been approved. The NW Mt Zone will need to identify a rep to that committee when they get organized. Working with issue of engine GVWR/safety issues, also single resource engine boss dispatches with engines (NRCG Policy letter 4/26/02)

·        Major training effort in fire business “Back to Basics” sessions in each NRCG Zone     

·        Equipment inspection Train the Trainer session was held in Missoula.  Local follow-up – compile & distribute list of NW Montana personnel attending - NEIL – look for OJT opportunities for these folk this year. May need to consider additional training within the Zone next year

·        Buying teams – 2 established within Northern Rockies. Also the option for “short” 3 person teams

·        National crew and engine contracts continue to be delayed – may not materialize at all this year. Even if they do, expect no impact for NW Montana this year.

·        Recommendations re training for AD Sawyers/fallers was approved, but no timeline yet for implementation



·        A busy training season has been ongoing, with concentrated sessions coming up. Zone training schedule at

o       Interagency Training academy will be May 27-June 7

o       DNRC Engine School – week of June 11

o       NPS Guard School  - week of June 17

·        One new FS requirement is for all of our Apprentices to receive mandatory hazmat training. Neil will be coordinating a session for this specific  24 hour requirement.

·        Will work to get the training schedule for the Zone set earlier this year – Dec

·        NWCG Training issues – continuing to work with issues surrounding contractor training and certification, current MOUs for training providers are good till fall.

·        Upcoming effort to do a better job of training NEEDS assessment versus wants assessment.  Northern Rockies is acting as a prototype for information that will be built into the new IQCS Incident Quals & Certification System, under development. We should try to put some energy into this effort to help do a better job regionally of scheduling and prioritizing training. NRTC put on more than their “max capability” for sessions this year!  NRCG has provided info on historical team use by agency to help get this done.  Zone response will be due on May 31. Cathy will participate in a conference call 5/10 and follow-up with Neil to facilitate our response. Zone Training committee reps should expect to be contacted for input in the next few weeks.

·        Course equivalency issue is still being looked at in the training committee



Prevention Group has been working on updating the Zone prevention and Education Plan, including the Closures & Restrictions info. Additional input provided at the meeting. Draft of prevention actions and trigger points has been included – there is also an effort to do this at the NRCG level, so we may defer more work on that section till we see the NRCG products. Fred volunteered GNP to do a draft of the “Fire In the Ecosystem” section, to provide talking points. May defer smoke mgmt section till next fall.  Mark & Marcy will follow up to complete as much as possible and finalize by the 3rd week of May. 


Identified need for new Media Contact (vice Pat Cross). Allen Rowley on the FNF has agreed to play this role on an interim basis through the summer. We will need to identify a longer-term solution at our fall meeting. Prevention committee is doing some additional staff work re the logistics of paid ads versus news releases. Mark will follow-up with Allen re final prevention plan and recommendations from the committee re zone messages, timeline & method. The Zone would like to see individual contacts to media folks to help facilitate their cooperation in getting these messages out.


Restrictions & Closures – Mark attended a NRCG session last month. Feeling is things went smoother in 2001.  Basically they are refining what worked last year, without major changes expected. Still some questions/issues to finalize boundary with adjoining zones & standard exemptions.  Also discussion of other counties role in Restrictions and Closures:  Lake, Glacier, Powell and Lewis & Clark Counties potentially affected. Mark to follow up with John Dahlberg & see if theres a need to have some additional discussion with these counties. Would like to coordinate some standard signing for the Zone, with a place to write in exemptions. Please forward examples from last year to Mark to get this included in the plan.


Railroad Coordination Meeting – There is currently an annual meeting between the USFS, DNRC, and Burlington-Northern Santa Fe Rail Road representatives. The Zone agreed to make this an NRCG Zone coordination meeting to facilitate additional communication. All NRCG members will be have the opportunity to participate in next year’s meeting.


NW Montana Support Zone Operating Plan – This plan had not been revised for several years, and there is a need to bring it more up-to-date with current operating procedures for how we work together in extended attack, in incident support and MAC situations. There may be a need for a task group to closely look at the plan this year. The group decided it was important interim step to at least do an update to the plan for this  fire season, to include the role of the Counties,  outline the mobilization of resources within the Zone, and  add current MAC group operating procedures. Charlie & Neil agreed to put together a working draft to better serve us this summer, with the goal of finalizing a plan for signature next winter. Please get issues and input for changes to them so they can complete a draft by July 1.


NW Montana Mob Plan for Dispatching resources out of Zone – Plan is currently being routed for signature. We discussed need to clarify some wording regarding contact/dispatch procedures. Neil will write the additional verbage and get to Wally Bennett to incorporate. Cathy will forward final version via e-mail when signed. 


Zone Interagency Coordination  -  Discussed the direction the FNF and KNF are going with new  Cooperative Fire Specialist position, and the possibility of having it be an Interagency position to further strengthen Zone coordination efforts. A preliminary listing of possible task areas was briefly discussed. There was a general feeling that this might benefit the Zone, in that we would provide someone to focus efforts to further Zone priority projects, and could provide staff support to the Zone in a number of areas. Agency needs, priorities, and ability to support such a position would vary, but we felt the idea is worth considering. There may be grants that this person could pursue to help fund the position as well. Each Agency Rep should provide Charlie with a list of priority tasks or issues for such a position to address by June 15. Charlie will try to synthesize the information,  and develop a more specific proposal that each Agency Rep could forward to their Administrator for consideration by July 15.


Reviewed & updated Zone Contact list - -Mark will distribute with final edits





Scheduled Date for Fall Zone Meeting – October 11, 2002

(this is prior to Fall NWCG Meeting)



Thanks to all for another productive meeting. Lets keep the good communication going as we move into the summer season.


Cathy Calloway, Chair & Scribe