The Nature Conservancy hosts TREX
For 12 days, April 3-14, fire practitioners from around the country and throughout the Loess Hills area will come together to learn and practice prescribed fire techniques at the Prescribed Fire Training Exchange.
Honey Creek, Iowa | April 08, 2013
For 12 days, April 3-14, fire practitioners from around the country and throughout the Loess Hills area will come together to learn and practice prescribed fire techniques at the Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (known as TREX). As a mix of both classroom instruction and hands on fire training, the participants will work in teams and practice live prescribed fire throughout the Loess Hills. The goal of the training is to hone the skills of all the participants, making all of them better fire mangers.
Participants at TREX come with a wide range of experience, traveling from many different types of geographies and organizational backgrounds. Not only do participants have the opportunity to earn qualifications in specific tasks, but they also become exposed to alternative methods, as well as learning the ecology of the Loess Hills. The TREX experience forces the participants to work outside of their comfort zones, which allows for a better flow of knowledge among all the participants: everyone learns from everybody, trainees and trainers alike.
Fire can be frightening, but it also can be helpful. Prescribed fire is one of the key building blocks in restoration and stewardship of a healthy landscape. The goals of regular burnings are twofold- to increase the richness of soil and germinate native species in the landscape as well as to eliminate dead matter that can accumulate and can contribute to the intensity of wildfires. As part of a conservation program prescribed fire is recommended for natural areas on a regular basis. Fire is An especially important ingredient in the success of The Loess Hills. Iowa has less than one tenth of a percent of its native prairie remaining. The hills house the largest tracts of remaining prairie in the state.
The skills learned for prescribed burns also are helpful in the fight of wildfires. The last decade has seen an increase in the number and size of wildfires throughout the US. With the fragmented landscape in Iowa, the severity of wildfire is not at the magnitude that other states experience, but with the drought that threatens to continue this summer, even small wildfires can pose a threat to people and natural areas.
The interagency TREX program will be managed by The Nature Conservancy and partners from the Loess Hills Alliance which includes the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Pottawattamie, Harrison and Plymouth County Conservation boards. TREX is a part of the 10 year old Fire Learning Network, a cooperative program of the Forest service, US Department of the Interior which helps groups plan for and use fire to restore our nation’s forests and grasslands, ultimately making their communities safer.
For more information about The Nature Conservancy’s TREX or burn schedules, please contact Kyle Lapham, Loess Hills Fire Coordinator or by phone at 712-309-6473. During the trainings, Amy Crouch will be available for media inquiries and can be reached at 712-757-3835.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.