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Protect the Forests[Home]

(GS 106-895, 106-920)

The NC Forest Service protects North Carolina's forests from wildfire and from insect and disease outbreaks. We accomplish this by suppressing wildfires, implementing fire prevention and mitigation programs, and responding effectively to large fire incidents, insect and disease outbreaks, and other threats to the forest.

Objective - Resource Capabilities

Maintain and Improve resource capabilities to ensure early detection and rapid incident response.

Resource Capabilities Action Items:

  • Seek annual funding for additional personnel and to replace equipment on a regular schedule. Lead - State Forester's Office
  • Update General Statutes to address over weight issues related to restrictions placed on NCFS firefighting/emergency response heavy equipment. Lead - State Forester's Office
  • Update General Statutes to address issues of NCFS use of red lights, sirens, and emergency response right-of-way related to restrictions placed on NCFS firefighting/emergency/law enforcement response equipment. Lead - Safety, Planning and Analysis Division
  • Identify and access potential funding and partnerships in invasive species control. Lead - Forest Health Branch
  • Provide frequent statewide insect and disease activity updates to the field. Lead - Forest Health Branch
  • Establish a public facing web based reference resource for insects and disease diagnosis/treatment. Lead - Forest Health Branch
  • Coordinate with partners to monitor and survey for the presence and movement of non‚Äźnative invasive insect, disease, and plant species into the state, and take measures when appropriate to control, suppress or eradicate these threats. Lead - Forest Health Branch
  • Create and utilize decision support tools such as web sites and predictive services/fire intelligence to manage needed resources and their appropriate response. Leads -Forest Protection and Safety, Planning and Analysis Divisions
  • Obtain and upgrade equipment to meet the need for cooperator interoperability. Lead - Fire Staff
  • Utilize predictive services/fire intelligence to secure and preposition needed resources. Leads - Division Directors
  • Develop contracts for critical resources not available within NCFS (Aviation resources, large volume pumps, etc.) Lead - Supply Branch

Objective - Mitigation

Increase mitigation of wildfire risk and threats to communities, residents, and property.

Mitigation Action Items:

  • Educate the public, land management professionals, and government officials on wildland-urban interface fire risks, issues, and mitigation techniques. Leads - Fire Staff & I&E Branch
  • Encourage inter-organizational planning, policy-making, and collaboration that lead to the use of Firewise principles in construction and community planning. Lead - Fire Staff
  • Encourage preparation and implementation of Community Wildfire Protection Plans. Lead - Fire Staff
  • Key Initiative - Work with the NC Prescribed Fire Council to develop and implement strategies and actions to increase the annual non-industrial private forest landowner acreage treated with prescribed fire by 25% over a 4 year period. Lead - Safety, Planning and Analysis

Objective - Training Opportunities

Enhance training opportunities internally and externally to increase knowledge, response capabilities and development of employees and cooperators.

Training Opportunities Action Items:

  • Increase fire and all risk cross-training opportunities for NCFS employees and cooperators. Lead - Fire Staff
  • Increase NCFS employees' participation in out-of-state/national level fire training. (SA Academy, etc) Lead - Fire Staff
  • Re-evaluate NCFS standard fire training curriculum and map out a standard by position (basic training for 'forest rangers'). Leads - Fire Staff and Division Directors
  • Provide statewide comprehensive forest health threats training for field staff, natural resource professionals and landowners, with an emphasis on invasive species identification and control. Lead - Forest Health Branch

Objective - All-Risk Capability

Improve capability to safely and effectively respond to all-risk incidents of varying size and complexity.

All-Risk Capability Action Items:

  • Take advantage of, support, and promote, out-of-state dispatch opportunities to increase training, experience and qualifications of NCFS employees. Lead - Fire Staff
  • Develop and implement a succession plan for Incident Management Teams (IMT) to include increased interagency participation. Leads - Fire Staff and IMT Incident Commanders
  • Complete implementation of NCFS Aviation Plan and Formalize Aviation scheduling and response plan with the realignment to 3 main hubs. Lead -Aviation Division

Objective - Prevention

Increase the prevention of wildfire and threats to forest health through effective education and prevention.

Prevention Action Items:

  • Key Initiative - Finalize and work toward adoption of burning permit legislation to address changes in North Carolina's population and impacts from smoke and fire. Lead -State Forester's Office
  • Through use of displays, publications workshops presentations and media releases, increase public awareness of invasive pest species, including their spread with firewood movement. Lead - I&E Branch
  • Identify key messages (debris burning) and develop publications and radio/tv spots to address them on major networks or highly viewed social platforms. Lead - I&E Branch
Progress Graph Measures - Safety Baseline June 30, 2016 Target
Average number of acres impacted per wildfire graph Average number of acres impacted per wildfire. Through continuously improving our suppression and mitigation efforts, the intent is to reduce acreage impacted over the long run. 8.39 acres / fire 8.31-8.14
This measure will come from the NCFS Fire Reporting System (Acres Burned Total). The baseline is a five year average of State Fiscal Years (SFY) starting on July 1, 2007 and ending June 30, 2012. Reporting will occur quarterly and will be a rolling average calculated on the quarter being reported and 19 preceding quarters of the SFY. The target will be the five previous SFY's starting July 1, 2011 ending June 30, 2016.
Number of wildfires caused by debris burning graph Number of wildfires caused by debris burning. This is the largest single cause of wildfire in the state. The goal is to effect a 4-6% reduction by June 30, 2016. 1,609 debris fires/year 1,545-1,513 debris fires/year
This measure will come from the NCFS Fire Reporting System (Fire Cause). The baseline is a five year average of State Fiscal Years (SFY) starting on July 1, 2007 and ending June 30, 2012. Reporting will occur quarterly and will be a rolling average calculated on the quarter being reported and 19 preceding quarters of the SFY. The target will be the five previous SFY's starting July 1, 2011 ending June 30, 2016.
Annual NIPFL acreage treated with prescribed fire graph Increase the annual non-industrial private forest landowner acreage treated with prescribed fire by 25% over a 4 year period. This effort will reduce wildfire threat, improve forest management and wildlife habitat, and increase many other benefits realized from the use of prescribed fire. 31,742 acres/year 39,677 acres/year
This measure will come from the NCFS Forest Management Reporting System (Hazard & Silvicultural Burning). The baseline is a five year average of State Fiscal Years (SFY) starting on July 1, 2007 and ending June 30, 2012. Reporting will occur quarterly and will be a rolling average calculated on the quarter being reported and 19 preceding quarters of the SFY. The target will be the five previous SFY's starting July 1, 2011 ending June 30, 2016.
Number of insect and disease outbreaks, large fires and disaster graph Narrative of responses to insect and disease outbreaks, large fire incidents, and other natural disasters or forest threats. No baseline Narrative report
This measure will be reported quarterly by the Forest Protection Section.