The Nature Conservancy is second only to the Fish and Wildlife Service when it comes to surprising people about its role in wildland fire management. It has the distinction of being the only non-profit, 501(c3) organization that directly employs wildland firefighters. So why is TNC in the fire game at all? It has to be. It directly owns over 2 million acres of land in the US, and manages another 3 million through conservation easements and partnerships with private landholders. The mission of TNC is simple:
And conservation requires the proper management of fire. The Nature Conservancy has historically been on the vanguard of prescribed fire policy. The Conservancy has been an active proponent of maintaining a balanced ecosystem where fire is permitted to play its historic role. It's also played a major role in driving interagency cooperation and training through its PERFACT program. Designed to help communities and their lands become more resilient to fire, the program provides opportunities for learning best practices for prescribed burning through its Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges, and also facilitates the spread of information about fire through its Fire Learning Networks.
And while technically it is considered a charitable institution, you'd be hard pressed to find another charity quite like the Nature Conservancy.
By the Numbers
Unfortunately, we're not sure how many wildland firefighters are currently employed by TNC. But we're working on getting some answers!
TNC hosts the Southern Rockies Wildland Fire Module. A Type 1 module based in Loveland, Colorado and comprised of 7-10 crew members. There are opportunities to detail with the crew throughout the fire season, and more information about that can be found here.
A Stewardship Tech / Burn Crew Member seems to be the most obvious (and accessible) position for folks seeking a role with the Nature Conservancy. Burn Crew members will often times work as a member of a 6-8 person squad. These squads will often times serve in a regional role, travelling throughout the state or into neighboring states, depending on the need for their services.We pulled some of the qualifications from their job posting for a Burn Crew Member in Sheyenne Delta North Dakota.
- High school diploma and 6 months of related experience.
- Must be qualified, or able to become qualified, as a Fire Fighter Type 2 (FFT2), including Introduction to ICS (I-100), Human Factors on the Fire line (L-180), Introduction to Wild Land Fire Behavior (S-190), Firefighting Training (S-130), and one training burn serving under the supervision of a qualified FFT2. See http://www.tncfiremanual.org/firefighter.htm
- Must achieve physical fitness standard as determined by local Fire Program Manager and the TNC Fire Manual.
- Experience operating various types of equipment.
- Must be able to obtain related licenses or certifications as required. (e.g. First Aid, CPR, and driver’s license).
- Multi-lingual skills and multicultural or cross cultural experience appreciated.
- 6 months -1 year of related experience.
- Ability to pass US Forest Service work capacity test at arduous level (3 mile walk with 45 lb pack in 45 minutes).
- Ability to operate and maintain various types of equipment in a safe and efficient manner (e.g. ATV, engine, pumps, chainsaw, brush-cutter, and two-way radio).
- Ability and willingness to follow instructions from colleagues.
- Experience performing physical work.
- Ability to pass the DOT federal medical exam (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/391.41).