6th Annual Burning Issues Workshop


20th Michigan Prescribed Fire Council Annual Meeting


February 4 & 5, 2020


Focus on Change - Your 20/20 Fire Vision

This annual wildland fire workshop is designed to enable land managers, researchers, resource specialists, biologists, ecologists and fire practitioners an opportunity to hear and learn from different areas of expertise in a format designed to identify gaps in knowledge and communication, and work toward solutions to issues that complicate our collective wildland fire work. Over the two days we will explore topic areas that are relevant across the State of Michigan and the Upper Midwest, and have interactive opportunities such as panel discussions and breakouts. These topics are planned with and for the diverse community interacting around fire-related issues, and seek to further understanding and communication to support continued work toward collaborative fire management and research solutions.


Location: Fort Custer National Training Center (FCTC), 1109 Denso Rd, Battle Creek, MI 49037 (42.329729, -85.287916)

Registration: Thanks to Fort Custer Training Center (FCTC) we are able to keep costs low with a reasonable registration fee (includes lunch, snacks and coffee both days):

Regular Registration  = $75

Reduced Rate Registration for students/ volunteers/ private landowners = $35 - requires a specific promo code and quantity limited

NEW this year - In an effort to increase participation from Tribal communities, we are offering this event FREE to the first 10 tribal members who register - requires a specific promo code

NEW this year – we are also offering this event FREE to the first 5 volunteer fire department fire officers who register - requires a specific promo code

To get specific promo codes please contact Jack McGowan-Stinski, or Craig Maier,


or copy this link into your browser:

Lodging: Available at FCTC at a maximum rate of $50/night. Rooms can be reserved by calling 269.731.6126. Other lodging options are located in Kalamazoo, MI. Note: Rooms at FCTC are semi-private; a single twin bed with a shared bathroom (toilet and shower) with one adjacent room.

SPECIAL NOTE: For USDA Forest Service Employees, this Workshop has already been approved for FY20 Meeting Management (i.e. Attendees Estimated Cost Detail). Contact your Meeting Management representative to confirm details.


Working Schedule for the Two Days

DAY ONE - Tuesday February 4, 2020

0800 – 0850 (50 minutes)

Arrival and check-in


0850 – 0900 (10 minutes)

Welcome and housekeeping

Jack McGowan-Stinski, Lake States Fire Science Consortium


Annual Update and Passing of the Torch to New Chair

Dave Borneman, Michigan Prescribed Fire Council

0900 – 0910 (10 minutes)

Growing Season Fire: Some thoughts on the paradigm shift

Jack McGowan-Stinski, Lake States Fire Science Consortium

0910 – 1010 (60 minutes)

KEYNOTE: Hindsight is 20-20: Lessons learned from 28 years of restoring fire to an urban pine barrens preserve.

Neil Gifford, Conservation Director, Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and Community Representative, North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange

1010 – 1040 (30 minutes)


1040 – 1210 (90 minutes)

Climate and Social Decision-making for Wildland Fire Management


It’s just a matter of time: Considering weather and climate in burning issues

Chris Swanston, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service


Sustaining fire-adapted forest ecosystems through collective management: Social barriers and facilitators to cross-boundary coordination

Paige Fischer, University of Michigan


Complex System Dysfunction: Planning for Oak, but not Burning for Oak

Christopher L Hoving

Adaptation Specialist, Michigan DNR and Boone and Crockett Fellow, Michigan State University

1210 – 1310 (60 minutes)



1310 – 1340 (30 minutes)

PANEL for Climate and Social Decision-making

Swanston, Fischer, Hoving

1340 – 1440 (60 minutes)

Non-Agency Burn Capacity PART ONE


Title TBD

John McCabe, Director of Resource Management, Forest Preserves of Cook County


Costs, Benefits and Opportunities: Starting a burn program from scratch.

Steven Woods, Conservation Stewardship Director, Huron Pines

1440 – 1510 (30 minutes)


1510 – 1610 (60 minutes)

Non-Agency Burn Capacity PART TWO


Building Prescribed Fire Capacity at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan: Successes and Challenges

Justin Heslinga, Land Conservancy of West Michigan


Title TBD

Todd Aschenbach, Grand Valley State University

1610 – 1650 (40 minutes)

PANEL for Non-Agency Burn Capacity

McCabe, Woods, Heslinga, Aschenbach

1650 – 1700 (10 minutes)

Day One Wrap Up


1700 – 1900 (120 minutes)

Michigan Prescribed Fire Council HAPPY HOUR


DAY TWO - Wednesday February 5, 2020

0800 – 0810 (10 minutes)

Welcome Back


0810 – 0850 (40 minutes)

Exploring How to Use the New Interagency Fuel Treatment Decision Support System

Brianna Schueller, Fire Technology Transfer Specialist, US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Wildland Fire Management RD&A

0850 – 0950 (60 minutes)

Fire on the Landscape PART ONE


LANDFIRE Remap in the Northwest GeoArea

Megan Sebasky, NE LANDFIRE Coordinator, Wisconsin DNR


Title TBD

Robert (Zeke) Ziel, Fire Analyst, Alaska Fire Science Consortium

0950 – 1020 (30 minutes)


1020 – 1150 (90 minutes)

Fire on the Landscape PART TWO and PANEL


Changing seasons and changing perceptions: Making a case for growing-season prescribed fire in Indiana.

Jarred Brooke, Extension Wildlife Specialist, Purdue University


Expanding Burn Windows

Brian Stearns and Matt Malesic, USDA Forest Service

1150 – 1250 (60 minutes)



1250 – 1310 (20 minutes)

Breakout Guidelines and getting situated into breakout rooms

1310 – 1510 (120 minutes)

Concurrent Breakouts


Growing Season Burns and Fire Seasonality


Increasing Prescribed Fire Capacity


1510 – 1530 (20 minutes)

Short Break and Move Back To Auditorium

1530 – 1600 (30 minutes)

Breakout Summaries to whole audience

1600 – 1610 (10 minutes)

Workshop Wrap-Up and Adjourn



Burning Issues 2020 - Two Breakout Sessions:

Growing Season Burns and Fire Seasonality

Summary under development


Increasing Prescribed Fire Capacity

Practitioners at Burning Issues 2018 and 2019 identified lack of trained crew members and fluctuations of support within organizations as major barriers to fire management.  Discussions will focus on ways to increase prescribed fire capacity within your organizations, and the session will dedicate time to identifying possible actions. In addition to capturing and summarizing notes from this session, we aim to identify “success stories” to share examples of how individuals and organizations have grown prescribed fire capacity. Several success stories are needed to represent different contexts faced by prescribed burn programs across Michigan and the region. Please join us whether you have challenges or successes to share!

Topics to share: Working with volunteers; Partnering with colleges to create opportunities for students; Utilizing contractors effectively; Building support within an organization.

Outcomes: Contact list for follow up discussions among participants; Summary article and 3-4 case studies; Suggestions for audiences and topics for future Burning Issues Workshops; Increasing numbers of people involved with the Michigan Prescribed Fire Council’s activities focused on this strategic issue. 

Note: This session will not address strategies to raise awareness among the general public or how to encourage private landowners to begin using fire on their land. Those topics are critical, yet outside the scope of this breakout session, in which we will focus on what we can do within our organizations.



For any questions please contact Jack McGowan-Stinski,, 989-287-1734, or Craig Maier,


Organizers and Planning Team:

Michele Richards – Michigan National Guard

Craig Maier –Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium

Jack McGowan-Stinski – Lake States Fire Science Consortium

Ryan Koziatek – Kalamazoo Nature Center

Paul Charland – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dave Borneman – Natural Area Preservation (NAP) Manager City of Ann Arbor

Dan Zay – Natural Resources Conservation Service

Paul Mayer - Michigan Prescribed Fire Council Coordinator

Glenn Palmgren – Michigan Department of Natural Resources


Offered by the Michigan National Guard - Fort Custer National Training Center, Michigan Prescribed Fire Council, the Lake States Fire Science Consortium, and the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium. The North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange is also supporting this Workshop.