The Nature Conservancy in Colorado appoints Jason Lawhon as fire program leader to manage prescribed burns with partners on public and private land; TNC notes state has six million acres of forests in 'dire need' of restoration
May 5, 2014
– Jason Lawhon leading country’s only non-governmental fire module
The Nature Conservancy in Colorado has a new Fire Program leader. Jason Lawhon brings 17 years of experience in wildland fire, prescribed burns, fuels management and natural resource planning. In his role, Lawhon will supervise and train the chapter’s fire module, which manages and supports prescribed burns with partners on public and private lands. The crew also responds to wildland fires.
“We’re thrilled to have Jason on our team,” says Tim Sullivan, the Conservancy’s Colorado state director. “He brings a wealth of experience and has a proven record in working with a diverse partners to reach a common goal.”
There are six million acres of forests in Colorado in dire need of restoration. Prescribed burns thin out small trees and dry underbrush, which improves the health of the forest.
“As we’ve seen in Colorado, frequent and severe fires pose a tremendous threat to both people and nature,” says Jason Lawhon, fire program manager. “Now, more than ever we need to use all management tools available to reduce the risks. When conditions are appropriate and safe, prescribed burns can be the most cost-effective way to treat unhealthy forests.”
The versatile fire crew Lawhon manages also responds to wildfires. As a Wildland Fire Module, they work side-by-side with other fire-fighting resources to manage unwanted fires. What sets this crew apart is their ability to help fire managers make decisions on when and where it is appropriate to allow fire to play its natural role in ecosystems in Colorado and across the West. This team has the unique distinction of being the country’s only non-government Wildland Fire Module.
“As a fire module, they have the ability to be self-sufficient for up to two weeks while working on complex wildfire incidents,” adds Lawhon. “They monitor the weather and assess conditions that help the wildfire manager make critical decisions.”
Since 2008, the team has responded to 37 wildland fires, implemented 50 prescribed burns, thinned 265 acres, and trained more than 200 fire partners.
Lawhon has a master’s degree in Forestry and a bachelor’s degree in Conservation of Wildland Resources with a minor in Forest Management.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.