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Forest fire experts from across the U.S. are in southern Mississippi to train at the 2012 Crew Boss Academy, conducted at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center near Hattiesburg, MS. This is the eleventh delivery of this training since 2002 and the first time it has been conducted in Mississippi.
Hosted by the Fire Learning Network (FLN), The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi and National Interagency Prescribed Fire Training Center, the unique fire training program brings new and experienced conservation burners together to share and learn about reliable decision making, prescribed burns, forest management and fire effects, as well as strengthen local partnerships.
Greg Seamon, Fire Training Specialist for the Conservancy’s North America conservation initiative, will lead the two-week training. “This training offers exposure to leading people under stressful conditions. We use simulations, so it’s safe,” said Seamon. “Everyone will go home with new skills that can be integrated into their work on diverse landscapes around the country.”
The 30 students come from federal, state, and private organizations representing 16 states across the southeast and from as far away as Michigan and Massachusetts.
The training will be a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experiences. Participants will attempt to manage simulated wildfire emergencies, vehicle accidents, and complex scientifically-based prescribed burns in carefully designed training exercises. “Adults learn best by doing”, Seamon said. “The field activities reinforce the classroom presentations.”
“This partnership improves our capacity for restoration and fuel reduction,” said Bryan Kreiter, fire manager for The Nature Conservancy in Mississippi. “Improving the health of our forests will help prevent unnatural, devastating wildfires like the ones we’ve seen in recent years. It also improves wildlife habitat and helps protect communities and wildlife."
Wildfires are becoming more frequent across the U.S, and more complex, highlighting the growing need for this type of training. Nearly a century of aggressive fire suppression has prevented natural fires that once burned regularly promoting new growth and diversity of plants and animals.
About the Fire Learning Network: The Fire Learning Network (FLN) is a cooperative program of the Forest Service, Department of the Interior agencies—Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service—and The Nature Conservancy. The partnership has a ten-year proven track record of helping to restore our nation’s forests and grasslands and to make communities safer from fire.
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.