The Southern Rockies Wildland Fire Module was created in April 2008 to help restore Colorado's forests with safe, scientifically-designed controlled burns on thousands of acres.
The Module also provides prescribed fire training to a wide range of partners and assists federal agencies in allowing naturally-ignited wildland fires to burn in ways that will help restore hundreds of thousands of additional acres.
When conditions do not allow for the safe and effective use of fire, the Module implements other kinds of hazardous fuel reduction treatments and aids in wildland fire suppression.
Since its inception, the Module has implemented 47 prescribed burns across Colorado, manually treated nearly 12,000 acres of hazardous fuels, participated in more than 30 wildland fire assignments around the West, and trained at least 200 partners.
The Module’s prescribed burns have improved forest health, enhanced wildlife habitat and protected communities and watersheds on at least 25,000 acres. These projects have specifically benefited imperiled wildlife and plant species such as the mountain plover (Charadrius montanus) and Colorado butterfly plant (Gaura neomexicana ssp. coloradensis).
The Module’s wildland fire assignments have occurred in many parts of Colorado. Their expertise has also been used across the West in incidents such as the Kanuti Fire, where they helped to manage a remote fire in the north tundra of Alaska, and the Wallow Fire in Arizona, where their unique skills helped to protect the communities of Alpine, Luna and Los Alamos.
Throughout this work, the Module has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best in the business due to their professionalism and unique mix of both science and fire management experience.
The Southern Rockies Wildland Fire Module started its sixth season of operations in March 2013. Guided by Module Leader Jeff Crandall, the members of this seven-person crew have a combined 70 plus years of experience in both prescribed and wildland fire.
After completing two weeks of critical training, including fitness conditioning and refreshers on topics such as weather, communications, safety and mapping, the Module conducted its first controlled burn of the season in Salida, Colorado. The Module assisted the U.S. Forest Service in reducing hazardous fuel in the area and restoring important wildlife habitat.
Wildfire season arrived late this year, but at full force. Current drought conditions and miles and miles of forests at high risk of wildfire have resulted in wildfire events that are larger, faster-moving and more severe than anything seen historically.
The devastating consequences of these fires for both people and nature underline the importance of restoring forests ahead of time, before the wildfires start.
Since May, the Module has been assisting local, state and federal partners with both management and suppression of wildland fires across Colorado and the West. They are working to mitigate hazardous fuels and restore forest health in Jamestown, Colorado and have burns planned with the City of Fort Collins for later this summer.
Currently in the midst of another fire season, the Module is available nationally to assist any state, local or federal agency needing incident support.
As the Southern Rockies Fire Use Module we will strive to become a cohesive, safe, adaptable module, rising above any situation and maintaining The Nature Conservancy's integrity beyond reproach. Module members will lead by example while making every effort to exceed all standards and expectations put forth in wildland fire use, prescribed fire, fire adapted ecosystem restoration and community protection.
The primary purpose of The Nature Conservancy's Southern Rockies Fire Module is to manage and reintroduce wildland fire into fire adapted ecosystems.
This will be done by creating and maintaining relationships with federal, state, local land management agencies and private land owners using the module's specialized expertise in areas such as fire monitoring, ignition, holding and suppression, prescribed fire preparation and implementation support, community protection through hazard fuels reduction, and fire effects monitoring.
June 19, 2013