North Carolina Longleaf Coalition

North Carolina Longleaf Coalition

The Nature Conservancy of North Carolina Contracting with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for Expanded Fire Crews

By Mike Norris, The Nature Conservancy

Since 2014, The Nature Conservancy of North Carolina (TNC NC) has been sending fire resources to assist our state partners on their prescribed fires on a regular basis with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grants.  Recently, our relationship with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) has changed with TNC NC staffing three squads under contract to assist with burn unit prep and implementation in the Sandhills and Coastal Plain regions.

TNC hires trained wildland firefighters and coordinates their logistics on a day-to-day basis with our partners at WRC.  TNC is able to hold these resources back on burns that need more staffing or weekends when the Commission isn’t conducting burns.

This has been beneficial to both TNC and WRC by hiring more skilled wildland fire personnel than WRC typically has access to, expanding the number of crew members available to TNC, and increasing the numbers of burns a typical fire crew member is participating on per season from 30 to 70 on the average.  Having these “good hands,” as WRC Forester Chris Jordan would say, available to both partners has allowed for the implementation of more complex controlled burns as well as performance of initial attack on wildfires found on Commission lands. 

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Another successful growing season fire implemented on the NC WRC Sandhills Gameland by WRC and TNC staff.  Photo by TNC NC.