With respect to fire management and practices, one of the most overlooked
regions lies in the middle of the country. In this region there is a critical need for both recognition of fire’s importance and sharing of fire information and expertise. Recently we proposed and were awarded funding by the Joint Fire Science Program to initiate the planning phase for a regional fire consortium. The purpose of the consortium will be to promote the dissemination of fire information across the interior United States and
to identify fire information needs of oak-dominated communities such as woodlands, forests, savannas, and barrens. Geographically, the consortium region will cover: 1) the Interior Lowland Plateau Ecoregion in Illinois, Indiana, central Kentucky and Tennessee; 2) the Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma Ozarks; 3) the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma; and 4) the Cross Timbers Region in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. This region coincides with the southwestern half of the Central Hardwoods Forest
Region. The tasks of this consortium will be to disseminate fire information, connect fire professionals, and efficiently address fire issues within our region. If supported, the success and the future direction of the consortium will be driven by end-users, their input, and involvement.