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OK-FIRE workshop coming to Norman

Oklahoma

A full-day OK-FIRE computer training workshop will be held at the National Weather Center in Norman on March 16. J. D. Carlson, Ph.D., OSU fire meteorologist and OK-FIRE program director, will direct the workshop. Training will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. with a break for lunch at the National Weather Center.

"Landowners, fire and forestry professionals and anyone interested in utilizing controlled burns would benefit from this hands-on training. Having been through an abbreviated version of the training, I would highly recommend attending," said Heath Herje, Cleveland County OSU Extension Educator.

The workshop will consist of a combination of presentations and computer exercises in which attendees will obtain hands-on experience by using the web site. Wildfire, as well as prescribed fire applications will be covered, as will new products, features and the structure of the revised web site which debuted last October. In addition to covering the major sections of the website (Weather, Fire, Smoke), other portions of the training will include fire detection via Satellite and Radar, the relationship of drought to fire danger, and burn bans.

Developed over the past six years, OK-FIRE (http://okfire.mesonet.org) is a program of the Oklahoma Mesonet for wildland fire management. OK-FIRE uses the Oklahoma Mesonet for current/recent conditions and an 84-hour forecast to predict weather, fire danger and smoke dispersion conditions out to three days. Accordingly, OK-FIRE is useful for monitoring not only current fire danger conditions, but with its predictive component, for suppression strategies on assessing fire danger potential over the following three days. With respect to prescribed fire, attendees will learn how to use the system to safely plan for and monitor conditions during a prescribed burn.

"Prescribed fire is becoming more and more important for landowners to consider utilizing as a tool to improve grazing, wildlife habitat, and reduce heavy, overgrown fuels which may lead to wildfires," said Herje. He also added, "Many wildfires can be attributed to years of fire suppression and heavy fuel build up of brush and grass species. The omission of fire as a tool to reduce heavy fuels has created catastrophic events which may occur under the right environmental conditions."

Registration to attend the OK-FIRE workshop must be submitted by March 9 and can be completed by contacting Melissa Moore at melissa.s.moore@okstate.edu or 405-744-8427. Please provide your name, affiliation, email address, and phone number. Since space is limited to 22 people, so you are encouraged to get your reservations in soon. There is no cost for the workshop. Registrants should, if possible, bring their own notebook computers with wireless connectivity. If that is not possible, notebook computers will be available on-site.



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