Skip to Main Content

Wildfire Task Force


Central Pine Barrens Wildfire Task Force Meeting

Wednesday, June 30, 2024

Rocky Point Fire Department

6:00 pm (dinner served); 7:00 pm (meeting start time)


The Wildfire Task Force was created by the Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission following the 1995 wildfires and consists of representatives from 41 agencies that have land management, firefighting or emergency services responsibilities within the Central Pine Barrens.



The mission of the Task Force is to conduct pre-fire planning for wildfire suppression in the Central Pine Barrens, as called for in the 1995 Central Pine Barrens Comprehensive Land Use Plan that ensures the safety of emergency response personnel and the public, while considering the ecological concerns of the Core Preservation Area of the Central Pine Barrens region.  With this in mind, the following goals of the Wildfire Task Force were established:


Goal 1: Develop a Fire Management Plan for the Core Preservation Area of the Central Pine Barrens region of Long Island.

Goal 2: Develop a standard and acceptable Incident Command System (ICS) for response to wildfire incidents, consistent with the Suffolk County ICS Plan.

Goal 3: Establish a fire information program on the activities of the Wildfire Task Force to inform and solicit the support of local fire commissioners and fire chiefs for the work of this Wildfire Task Force.

Goal 4: Establish an appropriate training program on wildfire-urban interface suppression for all Suffolk County volunteer firefighters.

Goal 5: Provide public education on wildfire awareness, safety and prevention, as well as urban interface wildfire prevention and safety.

To accomplish these goals, the Wildfire Task Force created a Fire Management Plan, which details how the Task Force will accomplish these goals. The plan was finalized in 1999 and a copy is available in our online document library under the category "wildfire management".

Once the plan was finalized, the Task Force created subcommittees to focus on specific aspects of the plan:

Fire Weather and Fire Danger Levels  – Central Pine Barrens Commission staff maintains a fire weather station that is part of the National Remote Access Weather Station (RAWS) network.  Data from this weather station is used to provide a daily fire danger rating level report that is reported to the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services (FRES) as well as local fire, emergency management and land management agencies to notify them when weather and fuel conditions (vegetation) may make it more difficult to control a wildfire, if one should ignite. The daily fire danger rating level is also displayed on roadside fire danger signs located near various park entrances and roadways, which helps emergency responders and landowners prepare for potential wildfire situations.  The daily fire danger rating level is displayed at the top of our home page and this link provides past fire danger rating levels. Follow this link to learn more about how fire danger ratings assist the Suffolk County fire service community as well as how the ratings are calculated and how they apply to public lands management.

The National Weather Service is an integral participant on this subcommittee, along with2015-dpp-fire representatives from local, county and state public land management agencies and fire response organizations. A Standard Operating Procedure for Interagency Fire Awareness Notification for Public Lands was developed by this subcommittee to provide a coordinated approach to public land management and public notification regarding access or use restrictions during windy and extended drought conditions that tend to lead to high fire danger conditions.

Firewise Wildfire Prevention – This subcommittee develops public information materials and outreach programs pertaining to wildfire prevention based on programs such as Firewise and Ready Set Go.  The subcommittee also develops and implements community wildfire protection plans. Copies of wildfire prevention outreach materials and topical fact sheets such as “Good Fire or Bad Fire?”, “Living on the Edge in the Wildland Urban Interface”, “What is Prescribed Fire?” and “Campfire Safety Tips” can be found in our online document library.

Prescribed Fire – Agencies work together through this subcommittee to coordinate prescribed fire activities on public lands.

Training and Equipment – This subcommittee evaluates the equipment and training needs of the fire service community that are not offered by the New York Wildfire and Incident Management Academy.

New York Wildfire and Incident Management Academy – This is a nationally recognized wildfire and emergency management training academy managed under the Incident Command System which provides wildfire and emergency management training. Academy students are trained to National Wildfire Coordinating Group and National Incident Management System standards by certified instructors from local, state and federal agencies and organizations. The Academy operates primarily for a ten-day period in the fall and also provides specific group or agency training outside of this training period.


The Task Force’s current meeting schedule is available by viewing the events calendar on this website.

For further information on the Wildfire Task Force and to obtain copies of fire management and wildfire prevention documents, fact sheets, or meeting minutes, visit our online document library and select the category "wildfire management".

If you have any questions related to the Wildfire Task Force or the Commission’s involvement in fire management and wildfire prevention in the Central Pine Barrens, please contact or call 631-288-1079.

Wildfire Task Force Board Members

Chairman Theodore W. Kern, President & Ex-Captain, Ridge Fire Department

Co-Vice Chair Baycan Fideli – Riverhead Fire Department 

Co-Vice Chair Capt. Timothy P. Byrnes,  Captain, New York State Forest Rangers (represents NYS 
DEC on Task Force)