Wildland Fire Leadership Council Meetings
Wildland Fire Leadership Council Meeting
October 15-16, 2002
Members/Designees in Attendance
Dale Bosworth (Chair)
Steve Williams - USFWS
Jim Hull - NASF
Dave Tenny - USDA
Fran Mainella - NPS
John McGee - NGA
Brian Waidmann - DOI
Terry Virden - BIA
Jim Erickson - ITC
Kathleen Clarke - BLM
Charlie Dickensen - FEMA
Chief Bosworth welcomed the Leadership Council members and others in the room to the Council meeting. He introduced and welcomed two new member/representatives:
- Terry Virden representing Neal McCaleb, Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Jim Erickson-Intertribal Timber Council
A quick review of the agenda and logistics for the field trip was done.
Review of Business Protocols
Are the meetings complying with the intent of the Charter- i.e. Is the Council addressing those items that the agencies feel need addressing? The Leadership Council wants to have a balance of informational and decisional agenda items, tackling 2-3 large-scale decisional items each quarterly meeting.
Decision: WFLC staffs will provide a list of critical large-scale issues for the Leadership Council's consideration, by the January meeting. Examples of large scale issues affecting the agencies, that surfaced in the discussion were:
- The lack of mid-level managers in agency organizations,
- differences between agencies in fire cost tracking,
- differences between agencies in fire cost tracking,
- emergency stabilization issues that differ between agencies,
- concerns surrounding the Aviation Blue Ribbon Commission,
- appeal processes that are holding up hazardous fuels treatment projects.
Discussion regarding the relationship between NWCG and WFLC took place. WFLC is intended to provide high-level strategic policy oversight with NWCG providing more tactical solutions to operational issues.
Public Meeting Protocols
The NGA and the WGA requested that the Council consider having a small group of stakeholders' present input to the Council at the beginning and end of each meeting. There is a concern that stakeholders do not have input to the decision making process if they are not able to address the Council prior to Council discussions and decisions. Stakeholders that were involved in the 10-Year Implementation Plan still want to be involved as collaborators as we continue with implementation of the NFP and 10-Year Implementation Plan.
- Decision: WFLC Staff will develop a proposal for protocols for stakeholder involvement in WFLC meetings, for the January WFLC meeting. Staff will take into consideration the need for executive business time, FACA rules, open access to the Council, etc.
The Council discussed the issue of attendance by non-WFLC individuals (agency/org personnel). The question was raised if the Council wished to enforce the current business protocol of attendance by members or identified representatives only.
- Decision: The Council decided that Leadership Council members will be identified, and other senior agency officials and other people whose presence is needed to enhance or clarify the discussion of a specific critical issue, would be welcome to be in attendance.
- Decision: Protocols for meeting attendance will be developed and proposed at the January meeting by the WFLC Staff, taking into consideration meeting logistical support, and briefing material development and distribution.
Update on 2002 Fire Season
- It was discussed that the agencies need to highlight the excellent work and success stories of our field personnel.
- An update of the 2002 Fire Season and its statistics was presented to the Council (website link).
Update on the Federal Hazardous Fuels Reduction Program
An overview of the Hazardous Fuels Reduction program was distributed to the Council (website link). Several important points were made during the discussions including:
- The necessity to continue to treat Condition Class 1 areas in order to keep them in a maintenance condition.
- The importance of treating areas through mechanical means to 1). Reduce the risk and impacts of prescribed fire, and 2). Treat areas in and around urban interface areas, and 3) ability to continue with fuels reduction work as drought conditions continue.
- The importance of leveraging funding to increase accomplishment.
- The importance of providing an analysis of the funding associated with WUI and Non-WUI project acres, prescribed fire and mechanical treatment project acres, and Condition Class 2-3 and Condition Class 1 acres.
- Decision: Prepare an analysis of the hazardous fuels program that includes the funding and acreage figures. If there is a course correction or focus that needs to be conveyed to the field, a joint interagency letter will be drafted to reflect that direction. (ex. Additional focus on contracting mechanical treatments, additional focus on the WUI etc.)
An update was presented to the Council on development of the Memorandum of Understanding between NASF, NACo, ITC and the federal wildland fire agencies, regarding collaboration on hazardous fuels reduction and rehabilitation and restoration projects.
- Discussion revolved around the ability of States to maintain a list of communities at risk from wildfires. Ideas were presented to address the concerns of both states and federal agencies.
- Decision: A decision was made to continue work on the MOU with the goal that acceptable language would be developed and the MOU would be available for final signatures by the January WFLC meeting.
Healthy Forest Initiative
An update on the Healthy Forests Initiative was presented with the note that information regarding the Initiative is changing every day. Some promising legislative proposals have been introduced, but it is unclear if Congress will have a chance to pass them. The bi-partisan nature of the proposals is very encouraging.
It's very important that people be able to see what healthy forests look like. Sharing the many examples of healthy forests would go along way to help meet our goals. Some very good examples reside in some of the Indian Country.
Next Wildland Fire Leadership Council Meeting - January 13, 2003
Potential WFLC Agenda Topics
- Prioritized issues for WFLC to consider in the future
- GAO reports-Fuels/Rehabilitation and Restoration
- Landfire Program
- 10-Year Implementation Plan Status and Actions Needed from WFLC to ensure success
- Fuels MOU-Signing
- Stakeholder Presentations (as requested)
Decision: Request by the Chair that for the January meeting there be a balance of decision issues and informational issues.
National Fire Plan Conference-January 14-15, 2003
WFLC will host the NFP Conference in January.
Discussed WFLC role and outlined the WFLC presentation. Presentation to include: individual presentations, then open mike for Q&As.
- Tenny 10-Year IP,
- Bosworth-Healthy Forests,
- Clarke-Fuels Treatment priorities
- Williams-NFP progress and budget,
- Mainella-Performance Measures,
- Virden Accountability,
- Hull-States' role/collaboration,
- Kempthorne - the future.
- Video or slides on NFP successes (big screen), breakout groups, send out pre-work, discussion on Healthy Forest tools, focus on 10-year IP.
10-Year Comprehensive Strategy Implementation Plan Update
- A briefing paper was handed out describing the update (website link). A great deal of work has occurred on many of the tasks.
- A list of NASF and Stakeholder participants was handed out and will be incorporated into the master list of those folks with responsibility for tasks associated with the Implementation Plan (website link).
National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Presentation on "Wildfire Suppression: Strategies for Containing Costs"
NAPA has completed their study on large fire costs and the study proposes several recommendations for roles that the WFLC should assume. Focus areas for WFLC proposed by NAPA include:
Increasing Management Efficiencies
- Budget model
- Large fire suppression resources
- Internet supply/dispatch
- Require costs reviews
- Increase supply of fully qualified Incident Business Advisors
- Streamlining the Planning Process
- Cost sharing
- Legislative proposal for an incentive program
- Biomass use
- Information framework
- Data policies and standards
- Strategic plan for Research and development
- Tech transfer unit
Western Governors Association Constituency Involvement
The Western Governors Association assisted with the orchestration and facilitation of presentations by several constituency groups to the Council. Their comments are attached.
- Chuck Burley - American Forest Resource Council [ Remarks (PDF, 103 KB) ]
- Greg Aplet - the Wilderness Society [ Remarks (PDF, 80 KB) ]
- Lynn Jungwirth - Communities Representative [ Remarks (PDF, 180 KB) ]
- Gary Smith - International Association of Fire Chiefs [ Remarks (PDF, 102 KB) ]
- Patrick Cummins - Western Regional Air Partnership [ Remarks (PDF, 103 KB) ]
- Julia Doermann - Oregon Governors Office
- Dale Bosworth, Chair of the WFLC made several closing remarks including thanking the Council members for their hard work, mentioned what a productive year we have all had, and in the face of another record fire season the dedicated people of our organizations have not only been remarkably successful in suppressing fire, but have also made significant progress in implementing the National Fire Plan.
- An award presentation to Governor Bill Owens for his work with the Colorado Cares volunteer effort followed the WFLC meeting.
The Leadership Council then joined many guests for a tour of the Hayman Fire for the rest of the day.