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.

Dena Matteson (left), Fire Communication and Education Specialist at Ozark National Scenic Riverways, accepts the "drip torch" trophy from Jim McMahill (right), Midwest Region Fire and Aviation Management Officer.
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Missouri Area Park Group Fire Management Receives Midwest Regional Fuels Award

Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri

The fire management staff of the Missouri Area Park Group, located at Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Van Buren, Missouri, have been named the winner of the 2009 Midwest Regional Fuels Award. Fire Communication & Education Specialist, Dena Matteson, accepted the award on the group's behalf from Midwest Region Fire & Aviation Management Officer Jim McMahill, during the Fire and Aviation Management Workshop in San Antonio, Texas February 1-5, 2010.

The Fire Management staff of the Missouri Area Park Group is responsible for five National Park Service units, located throughout the state of Missouri: Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, George Washington Carver National Monument, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, and Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The fuels and topography of each unit are different, but their location to each other within the region allows for effective resource sharing and collaboration from all the parks.

"The Fire Management staff at Ozark [National Scenic Riverways] is very deserving of the award this year," said McMahill. "Despite several vacancies in key leadership positions, the fire staff at Ozark was able to ensure safe completion of the area's prescribed fire projects, completing additional projects than were originally scheduled." McMahill added, "The Missouri Area Park Group is developing a strong fire management program, and is well deserving of this recognition."

In addition to the successful completion of the prescribed fires at the area parks, the Ozark fire management staff has been very involved in the implementation of fire management activities with the interagency assistance from the US Forest Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Through this collaboration and teamwork, the fire program continues to support those agency cooperators through firefighter training, prescribed fire and fire suppression resources assistance.

This annual award is presented to the park unit or group that shows success in "Outstanding Fire Management Accomplishments." In the 13-state Midwest Region, six Area Park Groups are considered for this annual award.

Contact: Mike Johnson, Midwest Region Fire Communication and Education Specialist
Phone: (402) 661-1760