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Agricultural News

Climate Hub's Prescribed Fire Training School a Success with Participation of 18 Fire Depts, 5 Assocs

Tue, 08 Jan 2019 12:41:45 CST

Climate Hub's Prescribed Fire Training School a Success with Participation of 18 Fire Depts, 5 Assocs Individuals from throughout Oklahoma gathered at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Complex on Saturday, Jan. 5 to learn about utilizing prescribed fire as a tool to help reduce wildfire danger and to take part in a prescribed fire “black line” demonstration next to a populated area. The information was presented during a workshop hosted by the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Redlands Community College, Oklahoma State University and others. According to Clay Pope, a coordinator with the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, the meeting and the burn demonstration were both extremely successful.

“We were very happy with the training school this past weekend,” Pope said. “We were excited at the great turnout and the interest shown by everyone who came out. We’re hopeful that this will be first of several similar meetings we will hold not just in Oklahoma, but around the region.”

According to Pope, the individuals in attendance represented fire departments and burn associations from throughout Oklahoma.

“We had members of 18 fire departments ranging in size from Oklahoma City to the volunteer department at Loyal,” Pope said. “The fact that we had individuals come to the meeting from as far away as Beaver in the Panhandle and Caney in Atoka County showed there is a great amount of interest in this subject. It’s our hope that we can expand on this training as we move through the rest of the year.”

As part of the event, John Weir, prescribed fire specialist with Oklahoma State University, with the help several members of the Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council and the Fire Management staff of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, undertook a prescribed burn to establish a “black line” or buffer of burned vegetation on the southwest side of the tribal complex at Concho. According to Weir, this demonstration was done not only to teach about setting a prescribed fire, but also to help demonstrate that you can safely use prescribed fire next to populated areas to provide a fire buffer.

“We need to be thinking about strategies now to help reduce the fuel load and protect our farmsteads and rural communities from the danger of wildfire. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective strategies is to use prescribed fire on the land,” Weir said. “By reducing the fuel load next to a community or farmstead, you can provide yourself with additional protection from an out-of-control wildfire. We wanted to show that you can burn safely if you follow a burn plan and pay attention to conditions.”

Nathan Hart, executive director of the Department of Business for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes agreed with Weir on the importance of having a demonstration on the proper use of prescribed fire.

“We feel that burning a fire break on the southwest side of our tribal complex is a great strategy to help protect our facilities from wildfire later on,” Hart said. “Our hope is that by hosting this training school at Concho, we’ve helped spur additional partnerships between burn associations and local volunteer fire departments in using prescribed fire as a tool to fight wildfire.”

According to Pope, without the partnership of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Redlands Community College and the other sponsors, this event would not have been the success that it was.

“We want to thank our partners at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Redlands Community College, Oklahoma State University, the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, Oklahoma AGCredit, the Noble Research Institute, The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council, The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service,” Pope said “Without their help we would not have been able to get this event off the ground. We appreciate their support of the work of the Hub and their commitment to the rural areas of the Southern Great Plains.”

Source - Redlands Community College



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