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Field Trips

Boise, Idaho
April 15-19, 2024

Field Trips

The field trips will take place on Monday and Wednesday. Their is no cost to participate in the field tours, however, you will need to sign up when you register for the conference to reserve your seat.  All times are subject to change.  Many activites are scheduled simultaneously, so please check the draft schedule before your register. 

NIFC National Interagency Fire Center 
  • Monday, April 15th at 1:00 – 3:30
  • Wednesday, April 17th at 10:00 – 12:30
  • Wednesday, April 17th at 2:00 – 4:30

The nation’s federal wildland fire community is a large and complex organization. The National Interagency Fire Center, or NIFC, is home to the national fire management programs of each federal fire agency located here – the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Additional partners include the National Association of State Foresters, the U.S. Fire Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Weather Service, and the Department of Defense. Working together, these partners provide leadership, policy oversight and coordination to manage the nation’s wildland fire programs. 

The 55-acre NIFC campus encompasses many different wildland fire management activities, including firefighting equipment refurbishment, aircraft ramp operations, aircraft retardant tanker operations, information technology, training and development, logistics, as well as administrative functions serving the wildland fire management mission and other all hazard management.  The tour will include a walk around campus and stop at the following: the National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC), the National Interagency Incident Communications Division (NIICD), the Remote Sensing Fire Weather Support Unit (RAWS – Remote Automatic Weather Stations), the Great Basin Cache, the Great Basin Smokejumper Base, and end at the Wildland Firefighters Monument. 

Idaho Firewise Garden, Old Penitentiary and Warm Springs Mesa
  • Wednesday, April 17th at 10:00 – 2:00
  • Wednesday, April 17th at 2:00 – 5:30 
Idaho Firewise Garden

Presenters Brett Van Paepeghem & Andrea Dorman

Idaho Firewise staff will discuss the Home Ignition Zone concept and how to create survivable space that reduces the risk of wildfire damage to your home. Staff will cover the principles of flammable materials reduction, water conservation and maintenance techniques, and how to create firewise landscape zones. Plants to avoid will be discussed as well as those that are more fire resistant and where to use them. Many of these plants are native to the Intermountain West and appropriate for low water use gardens.

Warm Springs Mesa

Presenters: K.C. Shedden, Warm Springs Mesa Neighborhood Association Firewise Coordinator and Jerry McAdams, Boise Fire Sr. Captain Wildfire Mitigation Specialist

The Starcrest Gulch project is named after the “gulch” that sits between the Starcrest Drive entrance from Warm Springs Ave and Rhyolite Drive up on the Warm Springs Mesa, located east of the iconic Table Rock in east Boise. The project area encompasses 7.4 acres within a privately owned and maintained parcel within the Warm Springs Mesa Neighborhood Association (WSMNA). The project is a collaboration between the WSMNA, El Paseo Home Owners Association, City of Boise, Treasure Valley Canopy Network, Boise District Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation and Development (SWI RC&D). In 2016 the Table Rock wildfire burned over 2,000 acres adjacent to the neighborhood and sparked discussions on wildfire mitigation, fire hardening landscapes, reducing hazardous fuels, and restoring open spaces for fire resiliency.

The Starcrest Gulch field trip will allow for active discussions on the challenges encountered for the implementation of wildfire mitigation projects within the WUI environment. The project also has goals to restore the open space for fire resiliency in the future. The site visit will discuss the tools used for implementation goals such as the use of hand crews, chipping, herbicide application and restorative seedings, arborists for utility hazards, and contract goat grazing. Topics such as fuels messaging concepts for residents, invasive species as wildfire fuels, and citizen expectations and concerns will be discussed.  The Starcrest Gulch project was funded by a Community Assistance grant from the BLM and administered by the SWIRC&D specifically for fuels reduction within the WUI.

The field trip will include a walking tour of the project and include multiple stops for discussions and observations. In total, expect to walk 0.3 miles on a maintained gravel road and walking path. Prepare for the weather with raingear or water depending on the day and walking shoes or hiking boots should be used. There will be opportunities to speak with a Firewise representative, local contractors, and maybe the opportunity to pet the goats and see them in action.

Old Penitentiary

Built in 1870, the Old Idaho Penitentiary is one of only four territorial prisons open to the public today. During its 101 years of operation, the site saw escapes, scandals and the effects of Boise’s transition from the “wild west” to a mid-20th century capital city. Step inside the four walls of the prison yard and imagine a life of confinement as steel doors close behind you.

Celebration Park 
  • Wednesday, April 17th at 9:00 am – 4:00 pm 

Situated along the Snake River, Celebration Park was established as Idaho’s only archaeological park in 1989. A walk through the huge basalt melon gravels deposited by the Bonneville flood reveals petroglyphs 100 to 10,000 years old. Visitors learn about the Paleolithic and Archaic lifeways and enjoy throwing a dart with an atlatl. Experience a walking tour of historic Guffey Railroad Bridge and be captivated by southwest Idaho’s early mining and railroad history.

The Wildland Fire program will include a Wildfire Ecology Hike along our Ecology Trail to explore the fire regime of the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. Native American Lifeways is a hands-on dive into the ways people survived and thrived in this ecosystem for thousands of years (including making fire). Optionally, attendees will have the option to try their hand at Mammoth hunting on the atlatl range, the same way humans hunted for tens of thousands of years.

The Peregrine Fund’s World Center For Birds of Prey

  • Wednesday, April 17th at 9:30 am –  2:00 pm

The World Center for Birds of Prey located in Boise, Idaho is the headquarters of The Peregrine Fund. The campus houses our administration building, breeding facilities of critically endangered species, the Archives of Falconry, Velma Morrison Interpretive Center, and trails through the sagebrush steppe overlooking Boise and the Owyhee Mountains. Guests stand in the shadow of California Condors as they get a glimpse into the lives of the largest breeding flock, have a taste of the traditions and passion of falconry and ornithology that saved the Peregrine Falcon, and are invited to get nose-to-beak with eagles, falcons, hawks, owls, and vultures from around the world representing over 20 current global conservation efforts. Come prepared to fall in love with raptors in both outdoor and indoor exhibits.