Monday, October 26, 2009

Covering Wildfires: Resources for Reporters

InciWeb (Incident Information System): Details from various federal and state agencies on latest fire activity and contact information for those fighting the fire.

National Interagency Fire Center (Boise): Lots of information, stats, procedures for fighting fires on public lands.

Firewise: A national program designed to inform people who live ear wildlands.

Federal agencies that fight or monitor fire: National Forest Service (search by forest, i.e., Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot National Forest, Helena National Forests; also the service's northern regional headquarters are in Missoula), Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. After a disaster, FEMA may arrive on the scene.

Montana Department of Natural Resources: Responsible for wild fires on state land (and there's more of it out there than you think.)

Society of Environmental Journalists: Here's a tipsheet on wildland fire coverage.

Know the lingo: Here's an online glossary of firefighting terms. Be careful in your translations.

Stories: Impacts on humans, wildlife, ecosystems, economy; fire management policy, prevention, disaster aftermath (emergency housing and necessities, rebuilding loans), investigations.

Ethics: Here's a guide produced by journalists on how to provide more effective coverage of tragedies and disasters.

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