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Northeast Regional Strategy Committee Newsletter

August 2020

The purpose of the Northeast Regional Strategy Committee (NE RSC) is to provide strategic oversight and participating organization (federal, state, local, non-profit) coordination to ensure policy coordination, cross-boundary communication, accountability, facilitate sharing of resources, and effective implementation of the Cohesive Strategy and related long-term strategies to address wildfire preparedness and suppression, hazardous fuels reduction, landscape restoration and rehabilitation of wildlands, and assistance to communities.
Table of Contents  


Largest Collaborative Agreement for Forest Management in the Country Signed

Contact: Kristen Miller
          Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance           US Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen                
                        President Forrest Boe

Milwaukee (July 16, 2020) – On July 15, the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance (NMSFA) and the USDA Forest Service signed an Agreement for Shared Stewardship during a virtual signing ceremony. This formal agreement further strengthens the longstanding partnership and commitment to using an all-lands approach for forest management across the Northeast and Midwest United States.

The Agreement continues years of collective effort between the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance and the Forest Service. It builds on previous collaborative agreements signed in 2009 and 2014. The signatories on this agreement are the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance President Forrest Boe and the Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen.

“This Shared Stewardship Agreement will enhance our partnership by prioritizing the shared goals of conserving working forest landscapes, protecting forests from harm, and enhancing public benefits from trees and forests,” said Forrest Boe, State Forester of Minnesota and current President of NMSFA.

 The Northeast and Midwest are the most populated regions and have the highest percentage of forested land in the country. With a mix of federal, tribal, state, and private ownerships, it is essential that forest managers work together across jurisdictional boundaries, leveraging collective resources and authorities to take an all-lands approach to forest management. 

“Shared Stewardship is about working with our state partners across our shared landscapes on our mutual priorities through partnerships and collaboration,” said Chief Christiansen. “This historic shared stewardship agreement between the Forest Service and the Northeast-Midwest State Foresters Alliance, which includes 20 states and the District of Columbia, will to enhance our collective ability to improve forest conditions across these landscapes using every tool and authority we have.”

Membership of the NMSFA includes Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

Reduce your wildfire risk by making your home or businesses more wildfire resistant.

Wildfire risks can vary from region to region, and are highly dependent on the quality of statewide and/or local building codes, types of building styles, and topography. To address these unique risks, IBHS developed these regional guides which include risk assessment checklists and a cost estimator to help home and business owners prioritize necessary retrofit projects.

There are three guides that cover the Northeast-Midwest geographic region. Go to for the complete set of guides.

        Central U.S.                      Great Lakes                Mid-Atlantic/North East


Press of Atlantic City – July 16, 2020

In New Jersey, 99 percent of the 1,400 wildfires we see each year, on average are human induced! So yes, we can prevent forest fires. Click on the graphic below for more details.

Damage analysis of 2017-2018 wildfires shows importance of mitigation

New findings point to need for home improvements that resist embers, the cause of up to 90 percent of wildfire ignitions

News provided by
Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
Jul 13, 2020, 10:00 ET

PARADISE, Calif., July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Surveying the devastation in Paradise following the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest and most costly on record in the State of California, and data from six other California wildfire events in 2017-2018, researchers from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) identified key factors influencing the survivability of structures during a wildfire. Released today, a summary of the IBHS Post Event Investigation: California Wildfires of 2017 and 2018 offers a new, more nuanced look at wildfire mitigation effectiveness.

Following the 2017-2018 wildfires, scientists matched Camp Fire field observations, along with those from other events, including the Tubbs, Woolsey and Carr Fires, to those seen during lab testing at the IBHS Research Center to further validate likely home ignition scenarios. Key findings and conclusions include:
  • Mitigation is critical to give a home or commercial building a chance against wildfire but no guarantee of survivability.
  • Mitigation efforts are most effective when building design, materials and surrounding defensible space are all addressed.
  • Defensible space was an important characteristic of homes that survived the Camp Fire.
  • Evidence of structure-to-structure fire spread was observed due to closely spaced homes.
  • Firefighter intervention remains critical to saving structures, but that need can be reduced with effective mitigation.
While wildfires can ignite homes and businesses through direct flame contact, radiant heat exposure or wind-borne embers, the embers are the most serious threat and account for up to 90 percent of home ignitions. Although there is no guarantee that a home, commercial building or other structure will survive, ensuring those burning particles have nothing combustible to land on is key.

"Wildfires are influenced by available fuels, topography and weather conditions. Home and business owners can't change topography or weather, but they can reduce available fuels on and around their structures through creating and maintaining a five-foot noncombustible zone and selecting noncombustible building components," said Daniel Gorham, research engineer at IBHS.

Emphasizing the need to consider both building materials and defensible space, engaging in multiple mitigation steps to most effectively reduce wildfire risk, Gorham added, "Defensible space was an important characteristic of homes that survived the Camp Fire. However, rapid fire spread can breach even well-maintained defensible space, so it must be a multi-faceted approach for the best protection."

"Analyzing the damage in Paradise, along with data collected after other fires in 2017 and 2018, found no single repeatable absolute correlation between damage level and individual building features, such as roofing or siding materials. Vegetative clearance and topography had greater influence on damage level relative to building features, affecting thermal exposure to buildings during an event," said IBHS research engineer, Dr. Faraz Hedayati. "Firefighter intervention was critical in saving structures; yet the need for intervention, which is not likely in all scenarios, may be avoided with effective mitigation that resists ignition."

"While there is no guarantee, and with added uncertainly this year about the availability of firefighters due to the global pandemic, we urge home and business owners to make these critical improvements to their homes and commercial buildings to give them the best possible chance to resist embers," Hedayati added.

IBHS recommends starting with the following steps to reduce wildfire risk:
  1. Build defensible space on your property, starting with a 5-foot noncombustible zone around your home or business.  
  2. Ensure your roof has a Class A fire rating and do not allow debris to accumulate on it.
  3. Remove debris and other combustibles on, around, and under your deck.
  4. Create 6-inches of vertical clearance between the ground and noncombustible siding.
  5. Install 1/8-inch metal mesh screening over vents (gable, soffit, and foundation).
For more information on these and other actions to take around homes and businesses, visit

About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) 
The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more about IBHS at

SOURCE Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

Nominations Requested for the 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Awards

Established in 2014, the national Wildfire Mitigation Awards program recognizes outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire preparedness and mitigation. By honoring the achievements of awardees, the program sponsors seek to increase public recognition and awareness of the value of wildfire mitigation efforts.

The Wildfire Mitigation Awards are jointly sponsored by NASF, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the USDA Forest Service. The program includes three awards: (1) the National Wildfire Mitigation Award, (2) the National Mitigation Hero Award, and (3) the Wildfire Mitigation Legacy Award.

Effective community fire adaptation efforts can take many shapes. Creating a local mitigation coalition, implementing community wildfire protection plans, conducting community-wide assessments, promoting defensible space and home hardening, treating for hazardous fuels, and engaging fire departments and building code officials to reduce wildfire risk are ALL great examples of wildfire mitigation work.

You can submit a nomination and view the nomination guidelines and selection criteria here on NASF’s website. Please note: the nominations deadline is November 13, 2020.

Have questions? Please contact Meghan Marklewitz at or (703) 896-4839.

4th Annual National Cohesive Strategy Workshop

October 4-8, 2021 in Asheville, NC

Other NE-MW Wildfire News

Meetings and Trainings


July 16, 2020: Prescribed Fire Science Workshop [North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange]
  • August 13: how-to webinar
  • September 15 - 17: 3-day intensive workshop
September 21-22, 24-25, 29, 2020 – NE RSC Wildland Fire Management Tools Webinar Series 


October 26-November 6, 2020: Southern Blue Ridge TREX, Pickens, SC

November 2-6, 2020: IAFC 2020 WUI Conference, Reno NV

October 4-8, 2021: 4th Annual National Cohesive Strategy Workshop, Asheville, North Carolina
Subscribe to this Newsletter
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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