The Dixie FIREMON season is underway. Our small yet efficient team consisting of corps member Doug Whitbeck, forest service liaison Laura Peterson, and project leader Anna Hendricks has been busy arming our brains with as much local knowledge and trainings as possible to prepare for the season. Corps member training began with the SCA building blocks including topics such as risk management, vehicle care and maintenance, and conservation ethics.
The team felt extremely fortunate to spend a day with Dixie National Forest (DNF) and Fishlake National Forest (FNF) Fire Ecologist, Linda Chappell and FNF Ecologist, Bob Campbell. Topics included local safety concerns, past and present fire ecology, and aspen decline in southern Utah and beyond. These talks were invaluable in forming a basis to understanding the importance of monitoring on Dixie and Fishlake and how data collected by the SCA is utilized on the forests.
In addition to FIREMON specific training, Doug and Anna had the opportunity to attend S-212 Wildland Fire Chainsaw Training. Training consisted of two days in the classroom learning safety concerns and saw techniques prior to a field day felling and bucking in DNF. Laura attended S-131 Firefighter Type 1 training at the Utah Wildfire Academy. Doug made the journey to Flagstaff, AZ for Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI). The Powel Ranger District Season Orientation provided a great opportunity to meet folks from various areas of the forest in the charming town of Panguitch, UT.
Most importantly, the team was able to hit the field and begin collecting data. The snow is melting slowly but surely in the high country. The field season began on plots in the Powell District (D3) of DNF. In addition to learning the local flora, plots included a grand view of “hoodoos” similar to those found in Bryce Canyon National Park. When we’re not in the field or classroom, you can find us hiking, fishing, and generally wandering about the amazing landscape of Utah.