TREX Press Materials
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PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release
Mid Klamath Watershed Council Orleans Somes Bar Fire Safe Council
Happy Camp Fire Safe Council Salmon River Restoration Council
The Nature Conservancy US Fire Learning Network Karuk Tribe
Northern California Prescribed Fire Council Cultural Fire Management Council
October 3, 2016
For More Information:
Will Harling/Nancy Bailey, Mid Klamath Watershed Council, (530) 627-3202 firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Rachel Rhinehart, Happy Camp Fire Safe Council, (707) firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Tripp, Karuk Department of Natural Resources, (530) 598-7927
Klamath Prescribed Burn Training Exchange Expands Scope, Empowers People
Happy Camp, CA – Residents of small river towns in Northwest California are again investing in strategic prescribed burning this fall to protect lives, property and way of life in our river communities while working to reduce the danger and increase the effectiveness of wildfire management.
The third annual Klamath River Prescribed Fire Training Exchange, called TREX, begins October 3 and runs through October 15. Training operations will be centered in Happy Camp this year, signaling the geographic expansion of interest in the TREX model for reintroducing fire on the landscape. It also represents a needed shift into some of the Klamath River communities hardest hit by wildfire in the past five years. In previous years the focus has been around Orleans, Somes Bar and up the Salmon River.
“As we gear up for another year of burning and learning together, we’re thinking of those people who suffered or lost homes in the fires of the past few years. It might seem counter-intuitive, after living with fire and smoke all summer, to light more fires. But prescribed burning now is the key to fewer catastrophic fires and less smoke later,” said Mid Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC) Director Will Harling.
MKWC and partners are hosting this TREX with the goal of burning 200-400 acres and preparing to burn even more in future years. The idea, Harling said, is to burn enough areas around private property and local towns that fire managers can let wildfires burn in the extensive back country of the Klamath Mountains at more regular intervals. This has the potential to reduce both immediate fire risk and the deferred risk of fire suppression, he said.
Part of the intent is also to train a workforce capable of making the shift from constant fire suppression to regular prescribed burning. More than 70 trainees are enrolled in the training - at least half of them local to the Middle Klamath Basin - seeking sign-off by fire management professionals in task books that qualify them to conduct controlled burns. The training adheres to national firefighting standards established by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group for wildfires, and uses a recognized Incident Command system mirroring that of firefighting forces and other emergency response teams.
“We also look for every opportunity to enhance traditionally utilized resources such as Hazel, bear grass, acorns, medicinal herbs and foraging habitats to increase availability of traditional food and fiber resources” says Bill Tripp, Deputy Director of Eco-cultural Revitalization at the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources. Tripp serves as the Tribal Representative for the Klamath River TREX, and works to integrate a training message into the Incident Action Plan for the daily burns. “Youth integration is key in these endeavors,” Tripp said, “as is gaining a collective vision among fire practitioners around the revitalization of indigenous practices relating to the frequent use of fire as a management tool.”
TREX presents an opportunity to light fires under the right conditions, when weather, permitting agencies, landowners, funders and other partners cooperate. However, it’s a short window of opportunity between the worst of the hot, dry wildfire season and the first major rain of the year. For the event to succeed, many stars must align, and TREX planners aren’t just gamblers. Organizers spend most of the year readying for the two-week window of TREX implementation by consulting with landowners, lining up funding and legally required permits, signing up and preparing trainees, creating maps, and formulating detailed prescribed burn plans.
As the TREX model gains momentum locally, throughout California, and even nationally, these factors are falling into place more easily. Through the TREX model the public is gaining appreciation of the usefulness of prescribed fire to protect lives and property from wildfire and restore the health of the surrounding landscape. TREX gets people excited about prescribed burning, and with each successful TREX, the practice becomes more socially and politically acceptable. TREX is particularly inspiring for the Karuk Tribe who historically managed the steep slopes and river valleys of the Klamath with fire.
To support TREX and the mission to put good fire back on the landscape, people can:
You can download this press release, find photos and other materials to accompany this story at http://mkwc.org/news-events/trex-press-materials/
Links about prescribed fire and TREX: