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North Atlantic Prescribed Fire Science Workshop 2021

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

Dr. Ken Clark, a fire scientist with the USDA Forest Service, shares data points from a carbon flux tower with workshop attendees.

In September 2021, we hosted the North Atlantic Prescribed Fire Science Workshop in person in the New Jersey Pine Barrens with the support of Tall Timbers Research Station and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. This entirely outdoor workshop followed COVID safety protocols to get folks together for the first time since lockdowns began in March 2020. This event followed the virtual prescribed burn and modeling workshop that we hosted in 2019.

This workshop was about doing rather than talking. The field trips stimulated discussion about regional prescribed fire science challenges and solutions at a range of sites across the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Then facilitated conversations directed fire scientists and managers to co-produce plans to increase the pace and scale of prescribed burning in the North Atlantic. This process included working backwards to identify needs in our region and then lay the groundwork for meeting those needs. The highlight of the workshop was a field day at “Small Timbers,” a family-owned working cranberry farm operated by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service’s own Tom Gerber.

Participants left the workshop having generated concrete plans (including leadership and accountability checkpoints) for at least two regional initiatives that will take place in spring 2021 (New Jersey Fire Camp and a K-12 prescribed fire initiative). In addition, this workshop launched at least two more long-term projects (for region-wide prescribed fire training and demonstration) that will shape the culture of prescribed fire science in the North Atlantic. Many thanks to the highly-engaged workshop participants, to our sponsors at Tall Timbers Research Station, and our hosts at the New Jersey Forest Fire Service for making this workshop a valuable, memorable, and refreshing recharge in prescribed fire science!

An RxB conducted during the workshop to help promote healthy pitch pine-scrub oak forest to protect life and property.

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