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Fire Management Program in Big Bend National Park Runs Like

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SHANEA

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Fire Management Program in Big Bend National Park Runs Like
« on: April 21, 2007, 01:07:49 PM »
http://www.peoplelandandwater.gov/nps/nps_03-29-07_fire-management-program1.cfm



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Big Bend's fire management team is successful due to cooperation between the many programs, or gears, of the park. From right to left (John Morlock {Fire Mgmt Officer}, Alphonso Porras, Justin Boeck, Ryan Green, Chris Wood, Reine Wonite, Kyl Precourt, Jessica Erickson, Gary Luce.




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Mary Kay Manning, interpretive ranger, walks with visitors on a tour as she speaks about the wonderful environment of the Chisos Mountains.




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Afternoon shadows creep through the rugged “Window” of the Chisos Mountain Basin as time seems to stand still. View of the "Window."


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Fire Management Program in Big Bend National Park Runs Like Well-Oiled Machine
By Louis Hurst
The secluded Big Bend National Park is full of scenic views, hidden beauty and a stunning amount of biodiversity. In October 2006, I visited Big Bend to learn how a park unit functions; and while there, I observed how important cooperation is to the park’s success. Moreover, I was impressed with the seemingly effortless communication between programs. In particular, the fire management program illustrates an excellent example of cooperation and clear communication within the park.  

The programs of Big Bend fit together like gears in a machine. These gears interconnect; and through cooperation, the park benefits. The fire management program appears to interconnect often with non-fire programs. This has taken place through the work of the park's fire management officer, John Morlock, who has worked diligently to create a strong, proactive fire program. John offered many insights into the cooperation between the fire program and the other divisions, explaining that despite the small size of the program, many functions external to normal fire activities are served by fire management.

Each gear, or program, at Big Bend interacts with the fire management program. Some programs interconnect with fire management by providing assistance on the handcrew, as the maintenance division does. Law enforcement personnel help the fire program by investigating ignition sources of fires caused by human activity or unknown sources. The natural resource division often provides support through their work with GIS and information on sensitive resources throughout the park. The interpretive staff helps in a variety of ways, from assisting on handcrews, to acting as public information officers during incidents, to providing support on prescribed fire activities. Additionally, interpretation communicates the benefits of fire on the land most directly to the visiting public.

While on a guided tour of the Chisos Mountain Basin, I was fortunate to hear directly about these benefits from an interpretive ranger, Mary Kay Manning. Kay discussed geology and history as we walked to a magnificent view of “The Window,” an opening in the towering walls of the basin revealing the desert floor below. In addition, Ranger Manning spoke about the benefits fire has upon the natural environment such as cycling nutrients in the ecosystem, and allowing germination of certain plant seeds. By educating the public about an often-unfamiliar subject, this tour is a place where the gears come together, as well as advancing public understanding of fire's role in the park.

After the tour, I spoke with Kay about the topic of fire in her guided tour. She relayed her experiences working on the park’s initial attack fire crew, which gave her insight into the local fire regime and sparked her curiosity to learn more about fire. Upon doing additional research on fire, she decided to share her knowledge of fire with the public by including the topic in her interpretive program. Now working exclusively with the interpretive staff, Kay’s knowledge of fire is a valuable tool used to educate visitors and explain fire within the park.  

After speaking with Kay, I met with the chief of Interpretation, David Elkowitz. I talked with Elkowitz because I knew he played an active role in fire management. During our conversation, Elkowitz discussed the challenges and rewards he has faced while supporting fire management, as well as the many opportunities he has obtained from working with fire that he would have otherwise missed. For the past two decades, Elkowitz has worked with fire management across the United States. He believes that employees gain perspectives that are more diverse by assisting with fire-related activities and, as a result, promotes his staff's participation in fire management. His experiences help both the interpretation and fire management gears revolve.

More than 10 years ago, Fire Management Officer John Morlock tinkered with the gears of Big Bend’s machine, strengthening the fire program by expanding the Mexican 20-person handcrew, called Los Diablos. He worked with government officials from the United States and Mexico to renew the crew, which at first was only approved to work within Big Bend National Park. During the crew’s time working exclusively at Big Bend, Murlock provided training opportunities that helped them to improve their firefighting skills.

In 2000, with agency approval, the Los Diablos crew traveled outside of the park for the first time to combat wildfires in Texas. The crew has since responded to wildfires in nine different states and has assisted in prescribed fire activities in seven National Park Service units. Through this work, the Los Diablos have gained a reputation as an experienced hard-working crew that can accomplish any task. The crew even supported disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, working in a distribution center in Baton Rouge, La. More recently, Big Bend developed a second Los Diablos crew providing greater coverage on federal, state and local lands.

At Big Bend National Park, the fire management team is successful due to cooperation between the many programs, or gears, of the park. Clear communication plays a large role in facilitating the management of this remote and beautiful park, and the interconnected gears of all the programs help this park be successful. Perhaps other parks will look to Big Bend as a model to achieve success through collaboration and openness within divisions.

For further information about Big Bend National Park and National Park Service Management, please visit http://www.nps.gov/bibe and http://www.nps.gov/fire, respectively.

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BigBendHiker

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Fire Management Program in Big Bend National Park Runs Like
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2007, 02:02:28 PM »
Thanks.  Good article.



BBH

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SHANEA

  • Guest
Me too...
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2007, 10:08:09 PM »
Quote from: "BigBendHiker"
Thanks.  Good article.
BBH


Yea, I thought it was a good article too.  I was lucky enough to be there back in July when they were doing a controlled burn up in the moutains and at PJ.















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Offline homerboy2u

  • The Chipewa Cris tribe,Canada:
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 5103
Fire Management Program in Big Bend National Park Runs Like
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2007, 11:12:05 PM »
Look at that Fire engine's lift kit...must be a 8-10" kit, at least. :shock:  =D>  :shock:
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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SHANEA

  • Guest
Like Me
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2007, 10:07:00 AM »
Quote from: "homerboy2u2"
Look at that Fire engine's lift kit...must be a 8-10" kit, at least. :shock:  =D>  :shock:


Homero, you are like me - like the "cool toys".

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Offline homerboy2u

  • The Chipewa Cris tribe,Canada:
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 5103
Re: Like Me
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2007, 01:55:28 PM »
Quote from: "SHANEA"
Quote from: "homerboy2u2"
Look at that Fire engine's lift kit...must be a 8-10" kit, at least. :shock:  =D>  :shock:


Homero, you are like me - like the "cool toys".


 Shane my man, then your going to like my revamped F-350



This was taken 2 years a go, with a 4" lift.
Stay thirsty, my friends.

 


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