Inaugural Virtual Wildland Fire Resource Advisor Course Presented

A popular wildland fire resource advisor course was presented as a webinar for the first time in 2014 to provide greater access to this important curriculum with the growing utilization of READs on fires and shrinking training and travel budgets. Translating the curriculum to a webinar format took careful consideration and review of lessons learned through other webinars. Average attendance was about 160 people.

“I was impressed with the number of participants we were able to reach, and course participants demonstrated their commitment by staying engaged throughout the presentation and asking insightful questions.” Jun Kinoshita, NPS resource advisor

Four men playing roles in a scenario.
Resource Advisor Jun Kinoshita (left) plays the role of a firefighter who has come across an archeological site during the course of mop-up. These scenarios help to convey the importance of communication strategies for resource advisors.

A successful and popular wildland fire resource advisor course (READ) was presented as a webinar for the first time between April 29 and May 1, 2014, in an attempt to provide greater access to this important curriculum. The brick-and-mortar version of the course was developed in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS) Pacific West Region fire management staff, Yosemite National Park, the NPS Burned Area Emergency Response Program, and the NPS Intermountain Region fire management staff. The course has its roots in a curriculum first developed with the Bureau of Land Management in 2002, but which evolved over 12 years and more than 20 presentations to interagency audiences around the country, into a three-day, scenario-based course.

A webinar version of the course had been discussed for several years in response to the growing utilization of READs on fires and shrinking training and travel budgets. Translating the dynamic and interactive curriculum to a webinar format took careful consideration and review of lessons learned through other webinars. The cadre took advantage of the experience of working with each other over the years in the brick-and-mortar version, and existing software and technology to deliver the course. This experience, and being able to coordinate the course remotely, further reduced costs while bringing together experts from across the country.

The pilot webinar presentation of Wildland Fire for Resource Advisors (N-9042) condensed the 24 hours of presentation into 12 hours of presentation, with an additional short online assessment for participants to demonstrate their grasp of the material.

Cadre member Jun Kinoshita thought the training went very well. “This is our first attempt to present using a webinar format and I am pleased with the results. While there were certainly challenges in changing formats, I think it went very well. Certainly course participants cared enough about the topic to provide good constructive feedback and we will be able to incorporate their feedback into an even stronger course. I was impressed with the number of participants we were able to reach, and course participants demonstrated their commitment by staying engaged throughout the presentation and asking insightful questions.”

Feedback, both in formal course evaluations and via informal discussions with participants, suggests that the course was a success. The average attendance as measured by online screens was around 160 people, and the cadre heard from several locations that there were multiple participants, many of which are remote and would not have been able to have as many participants if the course was not brought to them.

Thanks to some great feedback and ideas from course participants, the cadre looks forward to presenting this course again online and making the recordings available for self-study, adding even more flexibility to the curriculum. Future versions will strive toward incorporating the role-playing scenarios and other more interactive tools.

Contact: Jun Kinoshita, resource advisor
Email: e-mail us
Phone: (209) 379-1317