NFPA creates Wildland Fire Operations Advisory Committee

Published on May 6, 2010
Select panel to inform wildfire safety programs 

May 6, 2010 — Because wildfires are burning hotter and faster than ever before, the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Division of Wildland Fire Operations has recruited a diverse group of forestry, fire, public safety and planning experts to comprise a Wildland Fire Operations Advisory Committee to help the association protect people and property from wildfires.

“We’ve invited leaders with a broad range of subject matter expertise to enhance our information exchange with the goal of protecting people and property in communities at risk of wildfire,” said Dave Nuss, wildland fire operations division manager for the National Fire Protection Association.

Members, who will serve a three-year term, include representatives from federal, state, local and private organizations. Their broad range of backgrounds includes wildfire research, natural disaster safety and development of NFPA Firewise communities. The Wildland Fire Operations Advisory Committee will convene its first meeting at NFPA headquarters May 19 and 20. The group will be briefed on NFPA’s approach to wildland fire protection issues and begin to develop a strategic plan that will set the course of the Division for the next three to five years.

NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Advisory Committee members include:

  • Randy Bradley, fire chief with the Moraga-Orinda Fire District in Orinda, California, and the longtime chair of NFPA’s Technical Committee on Forest and Rural Fire Protection.
  • Jack Cohen, a research physical scientist with the USDA Forest Service Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana. Cohen’s research into how homes ignite during wildfires is extensive and groundbreaking, providing the basis for much current activity in mitigating wildfire risk.
  • Chris Heftel, a private developer based in Spokane, Washington. His River Bluff Ranch development was among the first to incorporate Firewise wildfire safety principles in its design, construction and landscaping.
  • Sarah McCaffrey, a research forester with the USDA Forest Service North Central Research Station. McCaffrey has investigated public perception of wildfire risk, mitigation, and issues surrounding life safety during emergency evacuations.
  • Bill McCammon, executive director of East Bay Regional Communications System Authority in Dublin, California, and a member of NFPA’s Board of Directors.
  • Nancy Oliver, captain of the Taylor, Florida volunteer fire department and chairman of the community’s Firewise group.
  • Julie Rochman, CEO of the Institute for Business & Home Safety, a national nonprofit membership association of insurers based in Tampa, Florida. The institute’s mission is to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other property losses by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.
  • Jim Schwab, manager of the American Planning Association’s Hazards Planning Research Center, based in Chicago, Illinois. Schwab is the co-author of a planning advisory service report, “Planning for Wildfires,” and has been involved in hazards planning research for nearly two decades.
  • Dan Smith, fire director for the National Association of State Foresters, based at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
  • Keith Worley, principal of Forestree Development, LLC, in Larkspur, Colorado. An arborist, professional forester and wildfire mitigation specialist, Worley has been a leader in wildfire safety in his community for over a decade.

“People don’t like to think about disasters ahead of time, but if they don’t, firefighters, communities and natural resources are needlessly put in harm’s way. That’s why this advisory panel is so important,” said Jim Schwab, (committee member and manager of the American Planning Association’s Hazards Planning Research Center). “NFPA is helping communities think it through and identify areas to plan and zone before building to avoid loss of life down the road.”

Responsibilities of the NFPA committee include providing perspectives that enhance the Association’s education, policy and advocacy programs. Their insights will help facilitate an information and resource exchange between NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division and individuals and other groups involved in wildland fire safety. Wildland Fire Operations Advisory Committee members also will make program and activity recommendations to strengthen NFPA resources to reduce the impact of wildland fires on people, property and natural resources.

About Firewise
The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire. The program is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters. For more information, visit
 www.firewise.org.

About NFPA
NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Visit NFPA’s Web site at
 www.nfpa.org

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Media Contact: Lorraine Carli, +1 617 984-7275
Program Contact: Michele Steinberg, +1 617 984-7487

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