Firefighter Safety

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NASA System-Wide Safety Wildland Firefighting Operations Virtual Workshop

Workshop website.

The aim of this workshop is to better understand how NASA and community expertise can be leveraged in the development of systems that monitor, assess, mitigate, and assure safety concerns of dynamic operations in challenging work environments. The primary goals are to:

  • Identify and prioritize top safety-oriented risks, gaps in capabilities, and emerging technologies to enhance wildland firefighting for both near-term and mid-term operational concepts
  • Engage the stakeholder community in defining emergent safety-oriented roles, responsibilities, and procedures for agents undergoing increasingly complex wildland firefighting operations in information-rich but uncertain environments
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Assessing the role of short-term weather forecasts in fire manager tactical decision-making

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Respondents were less confident in the accuracy of wind and precipitation forecasts than relative humidity or weather forecasts more generally. The influence of weather information on the decision depended on the framing used in the choice experiment; specifically, whether respondents were told the initial strategy had been to directly or indirectly attack the fire. Across conditions, fire managers generally preferred to indirectly attack the fire. Decisions about the tactics to apply going forward were more sensitive to time in season when the fire was occurring and wind and precipitation forecasts than to other attributes.

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Wildfire science and values

Webinar recording.

During this peer learning session, speakers will:

  • Build understanding about the spectrum of complementary actions, based on available science, to protect the built environment and community values from wildfire, improve the ecological resilience of our landscapes, and improve the safety and effectiveness of wildfire management;
  • Discuss the concepts of landscape resilience, the wildland urban interface and the home ignition zone, fire management options, and the roles they play in reducing fire risk;
  • Address why fire needs to be restored to the landscape;
  • Consider the values that could be lost and how they relate to fire; and
  • Discuss how to increase the options for fire managers to implement integrated active management.
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Fitness and wellness for performance in wildland fire fighting

Webinar recording.

Presented by Joe Sol, Exercise Physiologist U.S. Forest Service and Brent Ruby, Professor, Department of Health and Human Performance, University of Montana. Joe and Brent will share their research on sustainment and maintenance throughout
the fire season.

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Forest roads and operational wildfire response planning

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In this communication we briefly review and illustrate how forest roads relate to recent advances in operationally focused wildfire decision support. We focus on two interrelated products used on the National Forest System and adjacent lands throughout the western USA: potential wildland fire operational delineations (PODs) and potential control locations (PCLs). We use real-world examples from the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado, USA to contextualize these concepts and illustrate how fire analytics and local fire managers both identified roads as primary control features. Specifically, distance to road was identified as the most important predictor variable in the PCL boosted regression model, and 82% of manager-identified POD boundaries aligned with roads. Lastly, we discuss recommendations for future research, emphasizing roles for enhanced decision support and empirical analysis.

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Incident management and COVID-19, lessons learned and remaining challenges

Webinar recording.

A conversation with Bea Day, Incident Commander, USDA Forest Service, Sara Sweeney, Superintendent, Mormon Lake Hotshots, USDA Forest Service and Stuart (Stu) Rodeffer, Logistics Section Chief, Portland NIMO Team, USDA Forest Service

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Advanced burn boss workshop and fire science symposium

The Advanced Burn Boss Workshop and Fire Science Symposium (click “Log in as Guest” in the event portal) is a combined virtual event that will provide targeted training for burn bosses: RT300, IFTDSS, and smoke modeling, as well as interactive presentations for a wide audience that bridge research and practice using the three pillars of the Cohesive Strategy: Resilient Ecosystems, Fire Adapted Communities, and Safe and Effective Wildfire Response.

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Living with PTSD: A wildland firefighter perspective

Webinar recording.

Presenter: Marc Titus, Staff Specialist, Nevada Division of Forestry’s Fire Adapted Communities and MS Student in Psychology, Arizona State University.

Description: PTSD is quietly impacting wildland firefighters with its often devastating personal and professional repercussions. While no official numbers exist, suicide has become another statistic now necessary to track within the wildland community as anecdotal data show an alarming trend. While agency’s come to grips with this burgeoning problem, firefighters can educate themselves to better understand the dynamics of stress, trauma and PTSD. This event will provide a unique view of the insidious nature of trauma, its effects on the human being with an eye towards recovery and nine key insights derived from the experiences of a wildland firefighter afflicted by this nervous system injury.

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Joint Fire Science Program 2019 progress report

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This progress report highlights some of the many contributions and impacts of the JFSP over the past 2 years including:

  • Continued scientific output from wildland fire research through manuscripts, management briefs, decision-support tools, and syntheses.
  • Efficient delivery of wildland fire science to practitioners through the nationwide Fire Science Exchange Network.
  • Incorporation of wildland fire science to improve policy, restoration success, public and firefighter health and safety, and fuels management, among others.
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Potential Operational Delineations (PODs), what are they, how do they work?

Webinar recording.

A presentation on Potential Operational Delineations (PODs) from multiple perspectives including both scientists and managers. We will discuss how PODs were used in Northern New Mexico past fire seasons where PODS were utilized; with an emphasis on PODs as a fire planning tool, new developments in research and applications, and innovations within the planning framework.

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