• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

Fire: January-March, 2010

 

Training and testing

Fire managers led four sessions of their annual fire refreshers in January. These involved skills refreshers, safety, and GPS (Global Positioning System) training with GIS specialist Ben Zank. Over the winter Fire Cache personnel have administered several Pack Tests for firefighters to get them physically ready for the fire season, as well. The Pack Test involves walking three miles in 45 minutes with a 45 pound pack, and is a requirement to work on a fireline in a national park or forest.

Plotting fire effects

The Fire Effects crew continues entering burn-plot data about vegetation for the six parks in which they conduct controlled burns. The data tells the crew about fire-dependent plant species, how fast plants regenerate, and what fire does in ecosystems with invasive, non-native plant species.

Helicopter training

Two members of the Fire Effects crew are getting experience as helicopter crewmembers on the Southeast regional helicopter. The training lasts a week, and one crewmember attends at a time.

Learning about fire

Fire Ecologist Rob Klein continues to be a force in the Southern Blue Ridge Fire Learning Network. His work may produce some future prescribed burning on Blue Ridge Parkway lands in North Carolina with some adjacent FLN partners.

Burning at other parks

The Wildland Fire Module, which travels to area parks to assist in prescribed burns, was able to burn over 200 acres at Gulf Islands National Seashore in February. They used the helicopter based at GRSM to ignite a large portion of those acres. Next on the burn list is Horseshoe Bend National Military Park. Meanwhile, the helicopter and fire module staff remained in Florida and have been conducting prescribed burns for Eglin Air Force Base.

Return to Resource Roundup: January-March, 2010.

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