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Northeast Regional Strategy Committee Newsletter

December 2021

The Northeast Regional Strategy Committee (NE RSC) is established to coordinate and support the national Wildland Fire Leadership Council’s mission and priorities across the 20 Northeast and Midwest states to facilitate understanding of wildland fire policies and frameworks such as the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. The NE RSC provides strategic connections, fosters collaboration, and facilitates addressing regional priorities to support all wildland fire partners and their activities across the Northeast.

Membership includes, but is not limited to, representatives from federal, state, Tribal, local, non-governmental organizations, private industry and other agencies, organizations and individuals as approved by the NE RSC.  
Table of Contents  

Oshkigin Spirit of Fire

Nov 15, 2021
For thousands of years in the Great Lakes Region, Native Americans used fire intentionally to manage the ecosystems they lived in. Now there is a short film, Oshkigin: Spirit of Fire highlighting this deep, reciprocal relationship with the land and the role fire plays in that relationship. This story is told by Ojibwe Wildland firefighters, Fond du Lac elder Vern Northrup and Damon Panek. For more information, please visit:

Monongahela National Forest Completes Fall 2021 Prescribed Burns

Big Mountain Prescribed Fire

Elkins, W.Va., November 22, 2021 – This month Monongahela National Forest successfully completed three prescribed burns on about 1,000 acres in Greenbrier, Pendleton and Pocahontas counties. These prescribed burns are helping to re-establish fire’s natural role in the forest ecosystem, improve forest health and wildlife habitat, and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.

“Fall is a good time to do a prescribed burn,” said Aaron Kendall, fire management officer for Monongahela National Forest. “Prescribed burning when conditions are right produces a slower moving burn and, in addition to providing ecological benefits, helps to reduce leaf litter and other hazardous fuels.”

Prescribed burns in the Big Mountain area help maintain the oak forest, promote oak regeneration, and will eventually increase mast that is crucial for wildlife.

The County Line and North Fork burns, in the southern part of the national forest, help create conditions that favor oak-hickory and oak-pine communities and reduce vegetation in the understory resulting in increased wildlife habitat diversity, increased mast, and ultimately a healthier forest. Many species also prefer a more open forest floor for breeding and foraging, which can result from periodic prescribed burning. In addition, the County Line and North Fork prescribed burns benefit the endangered Indiana bat by providing snags for roosting and encouraging flowering plants which attract bugs the bats like to eat.

Maps and photos of the prescribed burns can be found on InciWeb: Firefighters from Monongahela National Forest were assisted by several other organizations during prescribed burning this fall. Many thanks to the following groups:
  • Bureau of Land Management, Rock Springs District (Wyoming)
  • Bureau of Land Management, Southern Nevada District (Nevada)
  • Cimarron Hills Fire Protection District (Colorado)
  • Harpers Ferry Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center (West Virginia)
  • National Park Service, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (West Virginia)
  • South Arkansas Fire Protection District (Colorado)
  • USDA Forest Service, Klamath National Forest (California)
  • USDA Forest Service, Olympic National Forest (Washington)
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.


Fighting fire with fire: As Maine warms up, prescribed burns become more necessary

Maine Public | By Susan Sharon
Published November 8, 2021

When it comes to raging wildfires, Maine is no California. As the most heavily forested state in the country, Maine's climate is wetter. California is warmer and drier. There's more lightning and more wind in the Golden State.

But Maine's changing climate is increasing the possibility of more and bigger fires — and now, like in California, prescribed burns are being used in York County as a fire management tool.
This story is part of our series "Climate Driven: A deep dive into Maine's response, one county at a time."
 Last year, Maine had more than 1,100 fires, the highest number in 35 years. Most of them were under half an acre in size — nothing like the massive 1825 Mirimichi fire that began in New Brunswick, jumped a river and blackened more than three million acres, including 800,000 in Maine. Or the fires in Oct. 1947, that dominated state and national news.

For months, Maine had experienced record-breaking warm temperatures and drought. Firefighters battled 200 separate fires across the state. In York County alone, flames swept across more than 100,000 acres, entire towns were evacuated and hundreds of homes and businesses were gutted.

The fires burned so furiously that desperate residents raced into the ocean to save themselves.

"And, of course, the scary part? All the rats that were running to get to the ocean. And they came under the blankets with them as they were sitting in the surf," former Kennebunk town historian Stephen Spofford said, describing the scene to public radio station WBUR in Boston.
In addition to the devastation in York County, half of Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor burned, along with the Jackson Laboratory and 68 mansions on Millionaires Row.

When the fires were over, more than 200,000 acres were scorched, nine Maine towns were gone and 2,500 residents were homeless. Remarkably, only 16 people were killed. 1947 came to be known as "the year that Maine burned."

Brick Store Museum
Wildfires in York County, Maine, October 1947.

"I'm not gonna say we're not going to have those big fires. We're not going to have 1947, but I think we've been pretty lucky so far," says Patty Cormier, director of the Maine Forest Service.

RSG For Law Enforcement

Video and Flyer available for use

      9/28/21 IAFC Staff

Law enforcement officers are responding to wildland fires across the nation as fires increase in size, frequency, and intensity. The International Association of Fire Chiefs’ (IAFC) Ready, Set Go! Program has partnered with the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to enhance law enforcement officers’ safety and understanding of their critical role during wildland fire events.

The RSG for Law Enforcement Video and Flyer provide general knowledge to help law enforcement officials, who are often first to arrive, assess the scene and take appropriate action for each situation they may face, resulting in preservation of life and property. The information and guidance in these resources are intended to be shared during law enforcement shift changes and training – the flyer should be kept in patrol cars for reference.

Collaboration between first response disciplines is vital to the successful outcome of every event. IAFC Wildland Fire Programs values its partnership with the IACP and NSA for the improvement of our responders’ safety and outcomes for the communities we serve.

Meetings and Trainings

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The Northeast Regional Strategy Committee (NE RSC) delivers articles and stories each month that demonstrate the collaborative efforts of agencies, organizations and communities supporting and promoting the three goals of the Cohesive Strategy: Restoring Resilient Landscapes, Creating Fire Adapted Communities and Responding to Wildfire. 
This news update is our primary communication tool with our partners and the public. Looking for more Northeast Region Cohesive Strategy information or past published news update issues? Go to:
GOT NEWS? Does your agency, organization or community have a wildland fire management project or event you'd like to see featured in the NE RSC News Update? Tell us about it! Submissions should be sent by the end of each month to appear in the next monthly issue. Just email to Larry Mastic.
Key Contacts:
Dave Celino

Chief Fire Warden
Mass. Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

Larry Mastic
Coordinator, Northeast Region
Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy

Important Links
Retrieving Northeast (NE) and National Cohesive Strategy (CS) documents and reports
All things CS plus past NE Regional Strategy Committee news updates

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