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Fire Administration for Special Situations

As Conservancy fire management programs have developed close working relationships with private and public partners, the number of non-standard, or special fire management situations has grown.

Examples of special situations include:

  • Conservancy Representatives directing prescribed fire management on land not owned or managed by the Conservancy
  • Individuals who are not Conservancy Representatives directing prescribed burns on Conservancy land with our approval or at our request
  • Conservancy Representatives participating on cooperative prescribed burns not planned or directed by the Conservancy
  • Conservancy staff participating in fire suppression efforts with partner agencies or organizations on land not owned or managed by the Conservancy

The following sections explain these special circumstances and the administrative procedures associated with them. Be sure to accurately determine your situation. If your situation does not fit any of those described, or if you have questions, contact your Fire Manager or the Fire Management Coordinator.


When TNC Does Prescribed Burning for Others

There are a variety of reasons for the Conservancy to burn on non-TNC land. For example, the organization may have a management agreement on private land, may be demonstrating the efficacy of prescribed fire as a management tool, or may be assisting in native seed production. All TNC fire management requirements and guidelines apply to burns conducted by Conservancy Representatives on lands belonging to others.

Conservancy employees should refer to the Conservancy's Intranet Fire Manual (Special Situations, Section-A) for guidance on waivers, conflict of interest, and other matters related to burning on non-TNC land.


When Others Do Prescribed Burning for TNC

The Conservancy may request other organizations, agencies, entities or individuals to conduct prescribed burns on Conservancy land. Two typical examples are:

  • A private company or individual is under contract with the Conservancy to conduct a prescribed burn. Whether this service is performed for a fee or at minimal or no charge is irrelevant to the definition or administrative treatment of this situation.
  • A public agency conducts fire management on Conservancy land as part of its official function.

Conservancy employees should refer to the Conservancy's Intranet Fire Manual (Special Situations, Section-B) for guidance on administrative issues surrounding the use of others to burn on Conservancy land, including criteria for contractor selection, a contract template, and a discussion of liability issues. All agreements to conduct burns for the Conservancy must be in writing.


When TNC and Others Burn Together

When Conservancy Representatives participate on burns that are under the direction of another agency or partner, our Representatives must meet and follow all TNC guidelines concerning physical fitness and safety, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The agency or organization conducting the burn must follow burn procedures that are equivalent to, but not necessarily exactly the same as, the Conservancy's. In other words, such burns must have an agency/organization approved burn plan, be conducted with a high regard for safety, and be led by an experienced Burn Boss. If there are questions or reservations about regard for safety, risk management, adequate equipment, training, or other serious concerns, Conservancy staff should not participate on the non-TNC burn.

TNC will enter into written agreements for the purpose of participating in fire management activities on non-TNC lands with partner organizations or agencies. Conservancy employees should see the Conservancy's Intranet Fire Manual (Special Situations, Section-C) for further guidance. See also the Legal Fire Resources page on Connect for Fire Management Agreement templates and a database of TNC agreements with government entities.

If a Conservancy Representative serves as the Burn Boss directing non-TNC crew members on a burn in this category, then the burn is considered a TNC-conducted burn and all TNC requirements and guidelines apply.


When TNC Participates in Wildfire Suppression

Conservancy Representatives may participate with partner agencies or organizations in a range of activities related to the suppression of wildfires. Activities may include, for example, initial or extended attack on wildfires or emergency response for floods or other natural disasters. The Conservancy must have a written agreement in place prior to dispatch to such activities. See also the Intranet Fire Manual (Special Situations, Section-D) for further guidance. Situations may also arise where local personnel assist authorities in emergencies directly affecting Conservancy land. Only trained and qualified personnel should assist in such situations and all Fire Management Requirements apply.

Human Resources implications for Fire Management activities with partners

When Conservancy employees participate in fire management activities with partner organizations or agencies, such as with US federal agency Administratively Determined (AD) employment or with local Volunteer Fire Department activities, questions may arise regarding the applicability of Conservancy benefits to those TNC employees. Guidance can be found on the Conservancy's Intranet Fire Manual (Special Situations, Section-E) or by contacting the appropriate TNC HR representative.

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Last updated July 20, 2017.

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