Activities/procedures

Lesson 1: Causes and Effects of Wildfires

Objectives

  • Identify the physical and cultural characteristics of places
  • Identify the physical processes that shape patterns on the Earth's surface
  • Identify how the physical environment is modified by and modifies human activities
  • Analyze the effects of alterations on cultural landscapes, physical landscapes, or both

Students research causes and effects of wildfires and produce a mind map illustrating causes and effects of wildfires.

(Note: The details of this lesson have yet to be fully developed. Check back later for an updated lesson.)

Useful Websites


Lesson 2: The Minnesota Urban/Wildland Interface

Objectives

  • Interpret and communicate geographic information through maps and other forms of graphic tools and Geographic Information Systems
  • Identify how movement of cultural characteristics interconnects various places
  • Analyze the relationship between geography and culture.
  • Analyze the relationship between geography and a dispute about land use versus ownership or political control

The concept of the urban/wildland interface is introduced. Students examine maps of Minnesota and the metropolitan area and MN population and land use data to discover patterns of population movement/change. The cultural elements of this population movement/change are discussed as well as the efforts of local, metropolitan and state governments to shape it.

Vocabulary

Land use, demographics, urban/wildland interface, urban sprawl, Smart Growth, Metropolitan Council, MUSA


Lesson 3: Introduction to Firewise.

Objectives

  • Identify the characteristics of homes in the wildland/urban interface that make them prone to wildfire loss.
  • Examine the assessment techniques used to determine fire prone property.

Through videos and Powerpoint presentations, students learn about the National & Minnesota Firewise Program, how to identify fire prone property and how to reduce the risk to wildfire loss.

Resources

  • Introduction to Firewise (Powerpoint presentation/11.7 Mb). (View as presentation online [high-speed Internet connections only] or right-click the link to save the presentation to your computer [will take several minutes on slow Internet connections].)
  • CD with all videos, presentations and other resources is available from the Firewise Program. E-mail Dave Schuller ([email protected]) to request CD.

Methods

Show Video "Making Your Home Firewise" (under Resources\Videos on the CD) then show "Introduction to Firewise" presentation. Discuss what was learned about characteristics of homes that make them prone to wildfire loss and techniques used to determine fire prone property.

Vocabulary

Firewise, Home Ignition Zone, Fire Prone Property, Wildland/Urban Interface, Structure Ignition Assessment Model (SIAM), Site, Structure, Access, Mitigation Plan


Lesson 4: Introduction to GIS/EPIC 2001: Zooming In On Minnesota Wildfires

Objectives

  • Interpret and communicate geographic information through maps and other forms of graphic tools and Geographic Information Systems

Students complete an EPIC 2001 tutorial that introduces the software and allows students to create and print a map that shows areas of high wildfire risk in MN.

Resources

Methods

Load software, complete tutorial to familiarize students with the software. Discuss patterns in wildfire risk in Minnesota. Why are these areas of highest risk where they are? Discuss other analytical uses of the EPIC software and data.

Vocabulary

EPIC, GIS, Analysis, Reclass, Layer, Area, Overlay, Pine, Single Family Residential


Lesson 5: Initial Home Risk Assessment Using Aerial Photos

Objectives

  • Interpret and communicate geographic information through maps and other forms of graphic tools and Geographic Information Systems

Students analyze a community for fire-prone property using EPIC 2001 GIS assessment.

Resources

Vocabulary

Digital Orthographic Quadrangle Map (DOQ), Layer, Tag File, Label File, Assessment, Defensible Space, Overlay, Risk rating, GIS, Tree canopy, study area, Public Land Survey (PLS), Section, UTM Coordinates, Vector, Density Surface Model, Buffer, Analysis


Lesson 6: Home Risk Assessment Using Ground Observation

Objectives

  • Analyze the relationship between GIS information and on-the-ground geographical situations.
  • Experience community communications situations (talking to homeowners).

Students analyze a community for fire-prone property using ground assessment. Students will compare the results of the ground assessment with results found in Lesson 5.

Resources

Methods

Review the student guide, teach how to set GPS unit to UTM zone 15 and capture waypoints, review home fire risk form, make copies of Homeowner letter and door hanger for students. Students to dress appropriately for weather. Divide students into groups of 2, one to record information on form with clipboard, the other take GPS reading and assist with assessment. Information to be compiled in a database for future use.

Vocabulary

GPS, UTM, Waypoint, Assessment, Primary access road, cul-de-sac, radius, hardwoods, conifers, mixedwood, ladder fuels, ground cover, slope percent, outbuilding, hydrant, asphalt shingles, soffit, foundation, deck, overhang.


Lesson 7: Compiling a Community Report

Objectives

  • Analyze spatial information to make conclusions on human geographical situations.
  • Develop recommendations based on conclusions.
  • Communicate findings and recommendations to various audiences in various forms.

Students integrate information gleaned in Steps 1 through 7 to create a Community Report. This report may take the form of a written document, oral presentation, multimedia presentation or other form of communication. The report will include methodology, results, conclusions and recommendations. All electronic data collected will be shared with the local community and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - Forestry Division.