Part 2: Origins of the FNR Fire Program & Its Prescribed Fire Education & Training
The Fire Program was conceived in 2018 during FNR’s annual planning process, in which we identified the most pressing needs of stakeholders and communities throughout Oregon. FNR already had annual survey results dating to 2014 that indicated that forest health and fire were landowner constituents ’ top educational priorities. SURVEY We Want to Hear From You What are the barriers to using prescribed fire as a land management tool in your state?
A 2018 Fire Summit Report developed by OSU’s College of Forestry corroborated these FNR survey findings, reinforcing the need for a way to reduce wildfire severity and increase the resiliency of our state’s landscapes. FNR created a dedicated Fire Program to better meet its stakeholders’
Connect Extension Podcast Episode 13
need to learn about fire and ultimately how to protect their families and lands from wildfire. FNR received funding in 2019, after the Oregon state legislature approved the objectives of the Fire Program for cross- boundary, landscape-scale efforts for enhancing community safety, ecosystem resilience, and economic well- being and for providing education and outreach opportunities for all Oregonians. It began building the Fire Program team in early 2020.
As Fire Program staff were hired and onboarded, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) asked the new program team if it could provide local prescribed fire education and training for NRCS’s Oregon staff ,
Klamath-Lake Forest Health Partnership Landscape-scale, cross- boundary proof of concept that helped launch Fire Program
who’d had to seek training in other states. Fire awareness training unlocks the ability for NRCS staff to get job approval authority (JAA) to recommend prescribed fire as a practice for Oregon private landowners and ultimately provide more cost-share opportunities (Weir, 2019). With support from Extension Foundation ’s New Technologies in Agricultural Extension (NTAE) Cooperative Agreement with USDA-NIFA, the Fire Program is working toward comprehensive prescribed fire education and training in Oregon.
We knew that the material would need to be customized for Oregon but broad in scope to apply to the vast and varied ecoregions and landowners.
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