The Great Plains Fire Learning Network, Reconnecting People, Lands and Fire

The Fire Learning Network (FLN), is a cooperative program of the US Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, along with The Nature Conservancy. This network supports public-private partnerships in landscapes that are engaged in collaborative fire planning and implementation, providing a means for sharing and vetting tools and innovations to help expand the use of fire for natural community restoration.  FLN communities have been established nationwide and an e-newsletter is regularly publshed.

Three Focal Landscapes of the Great Plains Regional FLN

Among the 47 FLN landscapes now working to accelerate restoration at local, regional and national scales are the three focal landscapes of the Great Plains regional FLN: the Loess Hills (Iowa), Lower Loup River (Nebraska) and Refugio-Goliad Prairie (Texas). These landscapes provide leadership, share lessons learned, and maintain a link to the national FLN for other Great Plains landscapes, including the Prairie Coteau (South Dakota), Niobrara-Sandhills (Nebraska), and Southern Iowa.

Working Hard to Make a Difference in the Landscape

The FLN is working hard to advance lessons learned from mangers and private landowners and to apply them at a scale that will make a difference in the landscape. Strategies include supporting landowner burn associations, helping volunteer fire departments offer prescribed fire to their community members, creating mobile burn crews and offering prescribed fire training exchanges (TREX). As a result of these efforts, 56,000 acres have been treated with prescribed fire during TREX events since 2008.  TREX events are a great way to learn from experienced fire professionals as well as to share your skills with others.  Look for the annual calls for participants.

To learn more about the FLN and these fire training exchanges visit:

Pre-burn briefings set the stage for successful burns.  Maps, whether computer generated or hand drawn, can improve communication.  Folks from state, federal, county, The Nature Conservancy, and a volunteer fire department  discussed plans for the day’s burn.  Photo by Susanne Hickey.