Fire experts world-wide attend controlled burn training exchange in NM

Media invited behind-the-scenes Sept 19 and Sept 21

Albuquerque, NM | September 13, 2013

On the heels of another terrible wildfire season out West, forest experts from across the globe – including Argentina, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and the United States – will be part of a unique training in northern New Mexico from September 16 – September 28. The International Fire Training brings Spanish-speaking and bilingual fire workers together to share and learn about controlled burns, fire management and conservation practices on grasslands and forests. 

Jeremy Bailey, associate director of the Fire Learning Network for the The Nature Conservancy, will lead the two-week exchange. “This training offers exposure to new people, places and techniques”, said Bailey. “Everyone will go home with new skills that can be integrated into management of diverse landscapes around the world.” 

The training will be a combination of classroom learning and hands-on experiences. Participants are scheduled to implement scientifically based controlled burns on the Santa Fe National Forest. Nearly a century of aggressive fire suppression has prevented natural fires that once burned regularly, reducing fuel loads, promoting new growth and diversity. The controlled burns will help create forests that more closely resemble our historical state, which are the most resilient.  

“This partnership improves our capacity for restoration and fuel reduction,” said Denise Ottaviano, Santa Fe National Forest Public Affairs Officer. “Improving the health of our forests will help prevent unnatural, devastating megafires like the ones we’ve seen in recent years. This work protects people, water and wildlife.” 

The fire exchange programs began in 2008 to help address the shortage of qualified personnel, including controlled burn bosses. Since then, the Fire Learning Network has delivered nearly 80,000 acres of controlled fire treatments and provided training to more than 500 wildland fire practitioners. 

Two media days are scheduled to offer partners a chance to get behind-the-scenes of this unique training to witness controlled burns and talk one-on-one with fire experts. Media days are scheduled on September 19 and September 21 at 10am in the Truchas/ Espanola vicinity, about an hour north of Santa Fe.  

Please RSVP to Tracey Stone at by September 17 if you plan to attend.

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. Visit

About the Santa Fe National Forest: The Santa Fe National Forest is one of five national forests in New Mexico.  National Forests are America's great outdoors, here to serve the American people at work and play. Some of the finest mountain scenery in the Southwest is found in the 1.6 million acre Santa Fe National Forest. Elevations rise from 5,300 to 13,103 feet at the summit of Truchas Peak, located within the Pecos Wilderness. The Forest’s Headquarters is located in Santa Fe.  The Forest has six Ranger Stations - Coyote, Cuba, Jemez, Pecos, Las Vegas, and Española, and two satellite offices in Los Alamos and in Jemez Pueblo—Walatowa Visitor Center. Visit us on the Web at

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Tracey Stone
The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico

Denise Ottaviano
Santa Fe National Forest

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