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United States Department of the Interior
Montana State Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101-4669

January 30, 2009

9210 (925) P                                                           
Instruction Memorandum No. MT-2009-025
Expires: 9/30/2010
To:             Field Managers
Attention: Fuels, Fire Management Officers, Forestry, and Natural Resources Specialists
From:         State Director
Subject:     Supplemental Guidance for Planning/Implementing Prescribed Fire Projects
DD: 2/02/2009
Program Area: Prescribed Fire Management
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) issues additional prescribed fire guidance for implementing the 2008 Interagency Prescribed Fire Planning and Implementation Procedures Guide (Interagency Prescribed (IA RX) Fire Guide) and the Bureau of Land Management’s Supplement to the IA RX Fire Guide (BLM Draft Supplement) (Attachment 1).
Policy/Action: The IA RX Fire Guide was signed by the National Fire and Aviation Executive Board (August 2008). It provides policy, direction, and standardized procedures associated with the planning and implementation of prescribed fire for the five Federal land management agencies. This guide and prescribed fire plan template can be accessed electronically at http://www.nifc.gov/fire_policy.
The intent of this IM is to clarify those areas in the IA RX Fire Guide and the National BLM Supplement where additional requirements, guidance, and direction are warranted for BLM Montana/Dakotas.
State Office Review of Burn Plans, Prescribed Fire Projects and Fuels Programs
The State Office fire staff will conduct reviews of each field office’s fuels program, with emphasis on field office projects and integration into the National Fire Plan objectives.
The State Office fire staff will provide review of a least one Type 2 complexity or above burn plan per year per field office; and will visit at least one prescribed fire project during the implementation or monitoring phase per year. All plans will be technically reviewed by a specialist not involved in the preparation of the plan. To ensure the most thorough technical review possible, consider sending as many moderate and complex burn plans to the State Office fire staff and other field offices as is feasible. Qualified technical reviewers from other agencies or cooperators may review and sign BLM burn plans.
Required Notification of Field Managers and State Office on Burn Days
All burn plans will include under Element 9 Section C, the Field Manager, District, Zone, or Field Office Fire Management Officer, the State Fire Management Officer, and the State Fuels Program Manager to be notified prior to ignition. Each burn plan will show who is responsible for notifying these individuals and must indicate when the contact was made for inclusion in the project file.
Press releases will be written and distributed to notify the public of planned prescribed burns.
Approvals and Signatures Prior to Burn
The IA RX Fire Guide assigns the District, Zone, or Field Office Fire Management Officer (FMO) the responsibility of reviewing and signing the developed BLM and multi-agency burn plans implemented by the BLM. In addition to this requirement, the Montana/Dakota District, Zone, or Field Office Fire Management Officer (or Acting) will approve all burns 24 hours prior to ignition and daily thereafter for multi day ignition burns. Their decision to concur or disagree with the Prescribed Go/No-Go Checklist decision may be based on information not considered on the checklist. This approval can be verbal or in writing. Verbal approval must be documented and included in the project file.
Prior to ignition, the Field Manager, FMO, and Burn Boss will certify that they have reviewed the burn plan, and are in agreement with the Complexity Analysis Summary (Element 3). In addition, the Prescribed Fire Go/No-Go Checklist (Element 2), will be completed and signed on a daily basis by the Burn Boss, the Firing Boss (FIRL or FIRB), and Holding Specialist. The FMO and Field Manager will be notified that the Go/No-Go Checklist was signed and ignition will proceed. Original signed copies of both the Complexity Analysis and the daily Go/No-Go Checklist will be included in the project file. Each burn day must have its own Go/No-Go Checklist. It is not permissible to have one Go/No-Go Checklist with several signatures over time.
In addition to the Prescribed Fire Go/No-Go Checklist (Element 2), the Agency Administrator Go/No-Go Ignition Approval Checklist must be signed and recommended by the FMO and Burn Boss, and approved and dated by the Field Manager. These duties maybe delegated to qualified acting personnel.
The IA RX Fire Guide states that the FMO is responsible to the Agency Administrator for planning, implementing, and monitoring of the Prescribed Fire Program in accordance with policy and direction. One of the responsibilities of the FMO is to assign the Prescribed Fire Burn Boss. This responsibility may be delegated to field office, district, or zone fuels specialist. 
Updated Signatures on Decision Documents and Burn Plans
To ensure currency of all burn plans and NEPA documents, the following Re-Certification for Multiple Years Statement will be added to the Administrators Go/No-Go Checklist for signature. I certify that I have reviewed this Prescribed Fire Plan for the current calendar year. Project NEPA analysis and conditions described in this plan (circle one): (a) remain unchanged and current, Or (b) are documented in additional NEPA analysis and/or a prescribed fire plan amendment. Amendments to the Burn Plan may be authorized by the Field Manager. Prescribed burn plans must meet all requirements of the IA RX Fire Guide or Bureau adopted policy direction.
Coordination: This document was coordinated with Montana/Dakota Field Managers, State Office Fire and Aviation Program leads, and Field Office Fire Managers.
Contact: If you have any questions about this guidance or other prescribed fire planning and implementation procedures issues, please contact Karen Michaud, Fuels Program Manager, at 406-896-2911.
Signed by:                                                                               Authenticated by:
Gene R. Terland                                                                      Maria Gutierrez
State Director                                                                          Staff Assistant (MT-925)
1 Attachment

Last updated: 02-28-2013