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Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Katherine Budzinski, 305-546-9352
With the wildfire season rapidly approaching in south Florida, Everglades National Park is hosting a Fire Media Workshop at the Shark Valley area of the park to offer local media the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the role of fire in Everglades National Park. In 1958, Everglades became the first National Park to use prescribed fire to restore the landscape. The prescribed fire program helps reduce risks to life, property, and endangered species, maintain the ecological health of many park habitats, keep natural fuels (brush) for fire to a minimum and reduce the severity of naturally ignited wildfires in the park.
This workshop will be held in conjunction with a controlled burn. Participants in the program will be introduced to the Incident Command System (ICS) that firefighters use to manage wildfire events.The goal of the workshop is to provide local media training on how to cover a prescribed or wildfire safely, acquire b-roll of an actual prescribed burn, view broad range of firefighting equipment, and interview professional wildland firefighters.
This program will run from 8:00 a.m. through noon on Wednesday December 16, 2009. Reservations are required and the number of participants per media outlet is limited to two as space is limited. Please RSVP by Monday December 14th, 2009.
Participants will be issued personal protective equipment for the day (fire resistant pants, shirts, helmet, and goggles) and escorted by fire personnel through every phase of a prescribed burn in progress. (For maximum safety, it is required that participants wear leather boots that cover the ankle and sunglasses or goggles for eye protection).
Throughout the workshop participants will:
Have an opportunity to try out a fire shelter used to protect firefighters in emergencies,
Observe fire operations, including the “go or no go” decision process and a fireline interpreted by firefighters
Take a tram tour around the burn where the operations will be explained and information on how to cover a fire in southern Florida provided.
Overview of required protective gear for access to cover wildland and prescribed fires
Overview of online resources for current fire status
View demonstrations of fire equipment and tools including:
Type 3 (heavy) and Type 6 (light) fire engines,
Type 3 (light) helicopter, and
Ignition devices such as a “ping pong” dispenser machine, fusees, and drip torches.
Fire operations personnel will be accessible for personal interviews and to answer questions about fire and its natural and managed role in the park.
For the safety of both visitors and park staff, no bicycles will be permitted along the Shark Valley Tram Road during fire operations. The temporary closure of portions of the tram road and area trails to walkers is also anticipated. Tram operations are expected to continue, subject to conditions.
Please contact Katherine Budzinski 305-546-9352 (Katherine_Budzinski@nps.gov)
or Linda Friar 305-242-7714 (Linda_Friar@nps.gov) to make reservations or for additional information.
Directions: Shark Valley entrance is located off Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail / SW 8th St.) 25 miles west of the Florida Turnpike, exit 25A (from the north) and exit 25 (from the south). From the Naples area, take U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) approximately 70 miles east to Shark Valley.