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University to evaluate national fire program

Posted 12/30/2010

Extension researchers to help BLM fine-tune national outreach effort

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Bureau of Land Management to design an evaluation for the Joint Fire Science Program (JFSP).

JFSP was created by Congress in 1998 as an interagency research, development, and applications partnership between the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Governing Board members include representatives from the BLM, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Forest Service.

The JFSP mission is to provide research to help fire and fuel managers. It funds scientific research that helps those managers to better fight and prevent fire. The JFSP develops science-based knowledge and tools to support federal, tribal, state, and local agencies and their partners in fuel inventory and mapping; fire effects and behavior; restoring burned ecosystems; and remote sensing.

More than 90 colleges and universities have collaborated with JFSP-sponsored research projects. More than 200 organizations have become partners in JFSP-sponsored research.

UNCE Central/Northeast Area Director Loretta Singletary and Bill Evans, a UNCE state specialist in the Human Development and Family Studies department, will conduct the evaluation, which will include a web-based survey to determine how well fire science research is being received and utilized in the field by firefighters.

Singletary said the goals of the evaluation project are to:

  • Provide the JFSP Board with assessment data at the national level to assist it in determining how to improve and support future performance;
  • Provide formal feedback to JFSP leaders to fine-tune their outreach efforts;
  • Provide information to help JFSP develop Best Practices.

Currently, there are eight fire science consortia in the U.S.: The Southern Pines, which encompasses much of the Southeast and Middle Atlantic states; the Appalachians, which includes West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Ohio; the Great Lakes region; the Southwest, including Arizona and New Mexico; the Central Rockies; the Great Basin; California; and Alaska.

Singletary and Evans have more than 40 years experience between them conducting outreach program development and evaluation. They have published nearly 200 professional refereed manuscripts and have received numerous state, regional and national awards and formal recognition for their Extension outreach programs and publications. They will be working with Toddi Steelman of North Carolina State University and Sarah Trainor of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on the two-year project.

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