Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

Incident Commander addresses class.

Paul Whitcomb Incident Commander addressing class from an IC's perspective.

Successful S-203 Introduction to Incident Information Class in Susanville, CA

Lassen Volcanic National Park

A veteran interagency cadre was reunited under a new course coordinator, Jennifer Chapman, Fire Communication and Education Specialist from Point Reyes National Seashore. This is the seventh year the teaching cadre has offered the course in northern California. It wasn’t offered in 2010 because the previous course coordinator, Leona Rodreick USFS Public Affairs Specialist on the Lassen National Forest had transferred to Elko, Nevada with the Bureau of Land Management. Course instructors included Lee Anne Shramel Taylor, Public Affairs Officer, Plumas National Forest, Jeff Fontana, Public Affairs Officer Northern California Bureau of Land Management, Dan Merrit, Timber Measurements Specialist Lassen National Forest and Scott Isaacson, Fire Communication/Education Specialist from Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Simulation exercise.

Students during simulation exercise.

S-203 cadre and class.

February 2011 S-203 cadre and class. February 2011 S-203 cadre and class.

The course originated from a need to train local information resources to serve the Susanville Interagency Fire Center’s response area. It has also become the primary S203 course serving northern California. The course is taught at the Lassen National Forest headquarters office in Susanville. The first day ends with a trip to the Susanville Interagency Fire Center. The Center features an information office used during the fire season and a large dispatch center which handles emergency 911 calls, medicals, search and rescue, fire, as well as dispatching personnel to incidents occurring out of the area. The dispatch center assists other agencies, covers 23 county fire departments encompassing an area of approximately 9 million acres.

The course is very interactive and allows students to practice live interviews in addition to recorded TV and radio interviews. The students are also involved in myriad team assignments with an elaborate final simulation exercise on Thursday. Dan Merrit works with the local high school drama department and coordinates with the students and faculty to provide many of the role players in the simulation. Additional experienced agency personnel come in to assist the cadre with evaluations of the four team’s performances during the simulation. This year Gary Wuchner, Fire Communication and Education Specialist, Yosemite National Park, Stanton Florea, Public Affairs Specialist USFS Region 5, and Heidi Perry Public Affairs Officer, Lassen National Forest were among the extra resources on hand to assist on simulation day.

Twenty two students from the U.S. Forest Service., BLM, NPS and BIA successfully completed the course in February 2011.

Contact: Scott Isaacson, Fire Communication and Education Specialist
Phone: (530) 595-6163

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.