Fort Gibson Lake hosts prescribed fire training course
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tulsa District Natural Resource Specialists and maintenance crew survey a burned area following a prescribed burn. The Fort Gibson Project office hosted a training class February 2-March 4, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for conducting prescribed fire on government lands. Seventeen USACE park rangers and maintenance staff from seven USACE Civil works Projects attended the training. As part of the training the class conducted eight prescribed burns over three days, burning over 1,530 acres of USACE and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation managed lands. The five-day training session included instruction in safety, fire, laws, smoke management, field preparation, planning, fire effects, fire behavior, ignition devices, ignition techniques, execution of fire plans, fire weather, fire and wildland/interface, fire ecology and effects on wildlife, as well as a final written test. (Photo Credit: Stacey Reese) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Gibson Lake hosts prescribed fire training course
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tulsa District Natural Resource Specialist Nathaniel Skinner uses a drip torch during prescribed burn training. The Fort Gibson Project office hosted a training class February 2-March 4, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for conducting prescribed fire on government lands. Seventeen USACE park rangers and maintenance staff from seven USACE Civil works Projects attended the training. As part of the training the class conducted eight prescribed burns over three days, burning over 1,530 acres of USACE and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation managed lands. The five-day training session included instruction in safety, fire, laws, smoke management, field preparation, planning, fire effects, fire behavior, ignition devices, ignition techniques, execution of fire plans, fire weather, fire and wildland/interface, fire ecology and effects on wildlife, as well as a final written test. (Photo Credit: Stacey Reese) VIEW ORIGINAL

Tulsa, Okla. –The Fort Gibson project hosted Tulsa District’s prescribed fire training course February 28 through March 4. This course is held as partial fulfillment of the requirements for conducting prescribed burns on federal lands and covers basic and advanced subjects.

Classroom instruction covered many topics including field preparation, planning, fire effects and impacts of weather on fire. The course, held on the wildlife management area in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife was taught by John Weir, fire ecologist of the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Oklahoma State University with assistance from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Biologists Stacy Dunkin, Jason Person and Chris Gilliland.

“For many of the participants, this is the first time they are burning at this capacity,” said Tiffany Natividad natural resource manager Fort Gibson Lake. “Over the course of the week, they gain hands on experience in fire safety, handling a variety of tools, learn to use a drip torch to set a continuous line of fire, learn how to properly mix fuel needed for ignition and the operation of water sprayers and pumper rigs that are used for fire suppression. Everyone is encouraged to participate in every aspect of the burn to gain the knowledge and experience to take back to their projects and apply these tools.”

Advanced course participants have already gone through the basic class and are learning to be a burn boss. Having the burn boss title allows them to create and implement burn plans for their projects.

“In the advanced class, participants are given a section of land in the WMA to be in charge of creating a burn plan, coordinating with other burn bosses to be in charge of different groups during the burn and ensure the prescribed burn is carried out safely, “said Natividad. “I have gained skills in being able to manage a large group of people and delegate different tasks to my peers to ensure the safety of the whole burn crew.”

“Taking this class exposes the participants to the ecological benefits of management land using prescribed fire,” said Dunkin. “Using classroom training in conjunction with prescribed burns in the field reinforces ideas and techniques to improve the learning experience.

Dakota Christian, natural resource specialist from Pine Creek Lake who recently joined USACE after working for ODWC participated in the class for the first time.

“In my opinion the class is excellent for employees that do not have much experience, knowledge, or confidence conducting or assisting with prescribed burns and the hands-on portion of the training where everyone had the opportunity to actually light fire was fantastic,” said Christian. “Coming from ODWC, an agency that conducts many prescribed burns, I felt like the USACE training was an excellent refresher.”

As part of the training participants in the course conducted eight prescribed burns over three days burning a total of 1,530 acres of USACE and ODWC managed lands. Seventeen USACE park rangers and maintenance staff from seven USACE Civil works Projects attended the training.

Prescribed burns, also known as controlled burns, use a method of planned fires to meet management objectives and are another important part of wildlife management.

These burns enable staff to maintain and increase habitat diversity while reducing dangerous fuel loads and restoring natural habitats for the good of the deer population as well as other wildlife found around the projects.