1. Events

January 5, 2019

Prescribed Fire Training Session

Location

Cheyenne and Arapaho Community Center
Concho, OK
7 miles north of El Reno on Highway 81

Time

8:30 am - 4 pm

Registration Fee

There is no fee for this event.

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Redlands Community College, Oklahoma State University, USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council and others to host "Fire suppression through prescribed fire" training school on January 5, 2019 at Concho, Oklahoma; event will focus on the use of prescribed fire to reduce wildfire danger.

Record breaking wildfires have plagued the Southern Plains for the past three years. During this time period, unusually wet summers combined with unseasonably mild winters have resulted in increased vegetative growth, creating the conditions for devastating wildfires. In an effort to help farmers, ranchers and rural communities deal with these conditions, The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Redlands Community College, Oklahoma State University, the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, the Noble Research Institute, The Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Prescribed Fire Council, The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts have joined forces to host a wildfire fuel suppression training school on January 5, 2019 at Concho, Oklahoma.

This event, according to John Weir, Associate Extension Prescribed Fire Specialist at Oklahoma State University, will be designed to help landowners, local fire departments and community leaders consider prescribed fire as a tool to help reduce wildfire danger.

"For three years in a row we have seen an increase in the severity of our fire season," Weir said. "This is largely due to the increased vegetative growth that's been caused by the wet weather we have had in late summer and early fall. We need to be thinking about strategies now to help reduce this fuel load and protect our farmsteads and rural communities from the danger of wildfire. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective strategies is to use prescribed fire on the land."

According to Weir, by implementing prescribed fire as a tool to control fuel load, individuals and communities can reduce the danger of out of control wildfires later on. By doing targeted "black line" burns around communities and structures when conditions permit, burn associations and fire departments can work together to provide additional protection to homes and businesses. As part of the training school, The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes will be burning "black lines" around the town of Concho itself in partnership with local prescribed burn associations.

According to Nathan Hart, Executive Director of the Department of Business for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, this effort will both protect the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal headquarters at Concho and provide a excellent demonstration of the protection proscribed fire can help provide.

"Burning a fire break around a town is a great strategy to help protect those communities from wildfire later on," Hart said. "Our hope is that by conducting this training school at Concho, we will spur additional partnerships between burn associations and local volunteer fire departments in using prescribed fire as a tool to fight wildfire."

Dr. David Brown, Director of the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, noted how this event is part Hub’s mission to help agriculture producers and rural communities deal with extreme weather events.

"Recent wildfires have impacted a multitude of production systems in our Southern Plains region. This training school is an example of putting tools and strategies in the hands of land managers to help deal with the negative impacts of extreme weather and climate events."

The training school will start at 8:30am on January 5, at the Cheyenne and Arapaho Community Center in Concho Oklahoma (7 miles north of El Reno on Highway 81) and will be free to the public with a meal provided by Oklahoma AgCredit. Those wishing to attend are requested to RSVP by December 21 in order to determine the headcount for the meal. For more information or to RSVP for the meeting, contact Clay Pope at 405-699-2087 or claygpope@gmail.com.