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Training Request

I am not sure where to submit this. I just retook the Hazardous Weather training module and was reminded of something that is really important for those of us out West. We don’t get hurricanes, rarely get lightening storms and very rarely tornados above a dust devil in size. What we get are winds from the desert that start huge roaring fires that travel very fast and consume everything in their path. Every year, it is common to have a million acres burned. Philmont got it a couple of years ago. Since many of these fires are wind driven, I think it would be smart to include it in Hazardous Weather. Every Scout camp in the west has fire rules, training and drills to prepare for this. Having it in the training would be advisable too.


Hazardous Weather Training

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Scouting information

Weather Alerts and Warnings


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@RobertWrightHazardous Weather training
Please change this discussion title to “Hazardous Weather Training request” by editing your first post,

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That is an interesting observation that it is not included. I think with any training we get from the BSA it needs to be augmented with our local experiences and training. The training they provide isn’t necessarily the end all be all on the subject, but probably more what they need to say to satisfy the lawyers.

I just recently went to a camp in Minnesota and we had a fire drill and they required all vehicles to be backed in for faster evacuation in the case of a forest fire.

Hi, John - I would normally agree with you on this, but since it is an online only course and probably going to get more pertinent as the weather changes, I brought it up as something that I think is important. Especially here in the Western portion of the US. I just read this morning that some of the fires this year are visible from space!

Many were.

It being online only is an entirely different conversation lol. I’ve been fighting that since they made it mandatory to no avail.

You point out an interesting point though, why do we have a one size fits all hazardous weather training. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to have one specific for each region. We do not have hurricanes in the upper mid-west so that is basically wasted information. Now when our troop goes to sea base next summer those leaders should be required to know about that.

Let each council develop their own training and have them require it when leaders attend events in that council?

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I hear you. With Scouts traveling to different areas, I don’t have an issue with the few minutes it takes to do the modules, even though we may not need it at the time. But wildfires are becoming more common and panic from unprepared Scouters is a very real thing. I have been near some wildfires and the wall of flame is terrifying. You can survive them, but you have to know the basics. Just saying “run for it” isn’t enough as you could unwittingly run right into it. I think it is a worthy topic to add.

By the way, John - I think I met you on one of more of the impact sessions.

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Council Resources Organizational Structure

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  • My council has at least 3 and maybe more climate zones.
  • At least 3 councils supporting BSA scouting overseas consist of many countries including also many climate zones from hot to cold.
  • Tours and trips may be to non-council events.

My Scouting experiences as a youth was in at least 4 different climates. Hazardous outdoor weather is only one of the hazards to be planned for. Some others are:

  • Hazardous animals (including hazardous people)
  • Hazardous plants
  • Hazardous diseases
  • Hazardous indoor air (structures and vehicles)

(These should be discussed in separate discussions)

Scouting councils cannot do it all. Scouters are suppose to make preparing to survive in our world fun. Scouts, Scouters, Scouting professionals and families, have to use non-Scouting resources as well.

I wish more parents/guardians and Scouters would read the field book.

Surviving a wildfire

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Hazard Types
Both physical and mental hazards exist in the wildland fire environment; either can cause physical harm or death. While physical hazards are easier to identify, mental stressors can build over time, leading to psychological and physical health problems. Your awareness can help identify hazards, recognize injury, and expedite healing. - A Preparedness Guide for Firefighters and Their Families* page 8 (file page 11) .

I am not a mental health professional, but I believe long-term mental stress can be a challenge for Scouters, Scouts and their families, who are living in areas that may have wildfires.

Wildfires and Mental Health

Community resources may be overwhelmed due to the pandemic, so community professional support may be limited.

Let us remember that a Scout is helpful and the buddy system has been a part of the Scouting movement since its beginning over a century ago.

Surviving in the outdoors

Community survival and evacuation

Some government wildfire websites

Wildland Fires - Forest and grasslands

US Forest Service introduction

Wildland fires are a force of nature that can be nearly as impossible to prevent, and as difficult to control, as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.

Wildland fire can be a friend and a foe. In the right place at the right time, wildland fire can create many environmental benefits, such as reducing grass, brush, and trees that can fuel large and severe wildfires and improving wildlife habitat. In the wrong place at the wrong time, wildfires can wreak havoc, threatening lives, homes, communities, and natural and cultural resources.

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Where are the wildfires?

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Language of Weather

My opinion: Talking about the weather is a little like talking about your heath. We have conditions (symptoms) and what we called different presentations of those conditions (diagnoses). I believe it is better to prepare for and respond to conditions,

Where Links

Late July 2021 News

  • 2021-07-28: Six states including the west coast and northern mid-west states are having major wildfire problems.
  • 2021-07-28: Smoke from wildfires is now in the jet stream.
  • 2021-07-28: At least one east coast city (Boston) has issued an alert.
  • 2021-07-21: Smoke Across North America (nasa.gov) - from NASA’s Earth Observatory

Smoke Across America News

21 July 2021, NASA’s Earth Observatory

While plumes of wildfire smoke from western North America have passed over the northeastern U.S. and Canada multiple times each summer in recent years, they often go unnoticed. That is because smoke that spreads far from its source typically moves at a fairly high altitude—between 5 and 10 kilometers—as winds blow it eastward.

The situation has been quite different this week, as attention-grabbing smoke poured into the eastern U.S. on July 20-21, 2021. Data from NASA’s Micro-Pulse Lidar Network (MPLNET) and Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET) indicated that a significant amount of smoke was hovering between the land surface and 2 kilometers (1 mile) altitude. Haze darkened skies and reddened sunsets, unleashed a rash of code red and orange air quality warnings, and even left the scent of smoke in the air in some areas.

Wildfire - Fire and Smoke - Photos and Maps

Smoke Across America

NASA’s Earth Observatory photo: Smoke Across North America (nasa.gov)", 21 July 2021, lower altitude than normal, c. 2 kilometer.

Wildfire locations in U.S. data

The following sites are more technical and may require additional software. Try news provider shows and sites. ABC News (owned by Disney) is mapping where the wildfire alerts and warning are.

The wildfire community has assumed responsibility for providing wildfire information.

For data sources and apps see:

  • USGS data and tools page points to GeoMAC.
    • “The GeoMAC application is no longer available as of May 1, 2020.” - GeoMAC Transition Plans with links to new sources.