We have such a rich history in the Michigan Prescribed Fire Council. The organization is coming up on its 20th anniversary next year. Being one of the first Fire Council’s in the country, we have helped many a state stand up their organization by sharing by-laws, experiences and techniques. Our work threads through many a path of land managers, fire professionals, and ecological scientists.
For a long time we had an annual meeting each year independent of anything else. We also tried partnering with other organization’s meetings in order to streamline the process, which unfortunately usually cost us more than it helped us.
In recent years we’ve been functioning without the help of our paid coordinator that we relied on even more than we already acknowledged her for. A few folks have stepped up to fill that void, folks with already full plates at full time jobs. To some degree it has curtailed some of the activity that MPFC used to be able to pull off. Between the lack of that coordinator and shifting duties within agencies, we’re a quieter organization these days.
With the help of the two Joint Fire Science Program Consortia we work with we have been able to pull off Burning Issues. The last two years we have merged that workshop with our annual meeting in order to streamline efforts and limit some of the more intensive efforts required of the MPFC steering committee.
This year’s workshop was very well attended, and stocked with speakers, topics and activities that were very beneficial and applicable to the fire issues we have in Michigan. We appreciated especially the help that Craig Maier of the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Consortium provided in setting up our World Café activity. Lee Osterland and Dan Zay were also generous contributors to the set-up and execution of this exercise. From that work that the groups did the Consortia will be able to take back to their researchers the questions that land managers and fire professionals have about prescribed fire and maybe even come back with some answers for us. Regardless of further output, it was clear that the conversations that occurred helped further understanding between different facets of the natural resources community – an inherent goal of Burning Issues.
We appreciate the role of Burning Issues in our outreach efforts. By expanding our audience with the broader topics that BI brings to the table, we are able to work together to solve the issues that confront us as we re-introduce more prescribed fire into our landscapes.
We are always looking for more help in both the general work of our fire council (outreach, training, education, and legislative tracking), as well as planning our annual event. If you have been inspired or intrigued by what we’ve put forth so far, we highly encourage you to reach out to us via our firstname.lastname@example.org address and we’ll get your motivation directed to the appropriate people within the organization. We look forward to many more years of fire work with the community.