NATA’s first RX-410 held at Disney Wilderness Preserve in October


NATA recently held RX-410: Smoke Management Techniques for the first time at the Disney Wilderness Preserve on October 7-11. This training was offered in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy. Participants traveled from North Carolina, Texas, and all over Florida to attend this highly in-demand training. They represented many state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and county departments. The primary instructors and guest speakers also were a diverse group, representing the U.S. Forest Service, Florida Forest Service, National Weather Service, The Nature Conservancy, and private affiliations. NATA was thrilled to showcase such knowledgeable and acclaimed speakers!

Speaker addressing participants.
Jim Karels, Director of the Florida Forest Service, speaks about leadership in smoke management.
Content of workshop

Topics discussed during the 5-day period included the challenges of smoke management, the ecological and historical role of fire, the characteristics of smoke, public health impacts, fire personnel impacts, visibility issues, safety and nuisance smoke, public relations, and the legal requirements for managing smoke.

Panel discussion
Panel discussion with instructors and participants.

Perhaps one of the highlights of this classroom-style training was the panel discussion segment on Tuesday that provided the opportunity for participants to ask instructors questions, share wisdom, and learn from one another’s experiences. Another component of this training that was well-received by participants was the smoke dispersion modeling session divided over 2 days. One participant noted the smoke modeling to be what they liked most about the training, stating they appreciated the “hands-on use of the smoke modeling software”.

Post-classroom activities

Opportunity for networking included a dinner at a local “real” Florida restaurant, a campfire at the lodging venue, and a late afternoon swamp buggy tour of the Disney Wilderness Preserve. Instructors Zach Prusak (The Nature Conservancy) and Walt Thomson (private) led the tour, highlighting the essential role of fire in a longleaf pine ecosystem.

Zach and Walt talk about fire at Disney Wilderness Preserve.
2020 trainings

Interested in taking RX-410 next time we offer it? Join our listserv here to get announcements regarding upcoming trainings! Visit the new NATA website here to see what other trainings we offer, and make check back to our calendar after the new year to check out our 2020 offerings!


Posted: November 8, 2019

Category: Natural Resources, Professional Development, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Fire Trainings, NATA, Natural Areas Training Academy, Prescribed Fire, RX-410

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