Wildfire, Flood and Emergency Management Services and Operations
Frontline Operations Group is a progressive wildfire and emergency management company that is built upon a group of operationally experienced individuals with a strong desire to find solutions to complex challenges in a changing world. The Frontline Operations Group includes personnel with a diverse range of backgrounds in the fields of wildland fire management and suppression, structural fire fighting, emergency management and forest operations.
Our strength comes from our deep operational backgrounds. We deliver solutions that are safe, operationally sound and financially appropriate. We excel at providing high quality, professional service delivered in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
Our experienced professionals also provide project management and monitoring to clients that wish to implement our solutions to ensure plans are successfully executed. We also provide final reporting, debrief or after-action review to complete the feedback loop to the client for future reference.
Our client base includes First Nations, local and provincial government, mountain resorts, domestic and international forest companies and developers.
Wildfire Risk Analysis
Interface Fuel Hazard Assessments
Community Wildfire Protection Plans
Landscape Level Fuel Break Prescriptions and Plans
Fuel Management Prescriptions and Implementation
FireSmart Assessments, Neighbourhood Plans and Education Workshops
Ecosystem / Habitat Restoration
Vegetation Monitoring Plans, Implementation and Reporting
Specialized Wildfire Operations Services
Flood Operations Management
Flood Response Planning
Recovery Plans and Monitoring
Emergency Operations Centre Staffing, Training and Mentorship
Prescribed Burn Planning
Post Fire Effects Monitoring and Reporting
Training and Safety Fire Suppression Courses
Fire Suppression Courses
Basic Chainsaw Instruction
Work Site Suppression Training
Work Site Fire Risk Planning and Monitoring
Spatial Data Analysis
Natural Resource Data Mining
General GIS Support Services
John R Davies, RPF, Principal John started his wildland fire fighting career in 1993 with the BC Wildfire Service Rapattack team. After six seasons on the ground and four as a helicopter operations technician, John left the BCWS to pursue opportunities working in the field of community wildfire protection, prescribed burning, fuel management and ecosystem restoration. He received his accreditation as an RPF in 2004, started Davies Wildfire Management Ltd and began pursuing his passion for finding solutions to problems in a field in which few consultants were working. In his 25 years as a wildfire management consultant, John has completed over 25 community wildfire protection plans, over $3 million in fuel management and ecosystem restoration prescriptions and operations and carved out a niche within the field of wildfire management as one of the few RPFs in the province with extensive operational experience. He has a passion for working collaboratively with multiple stakeholders to develop value-based solutions to complex community protection or habitat restoration issues. John’s unique experience amongst RPFs has seen him travel all over BC for fire management work as well as the Yukon and Northwest Territories. He recently completed three months of work in Indonesia on the island of Sumatra analyzing district and regional level fire management protocols as well as completing hover exit training for thirty fire fighters; the first to be trained to such a standard in the country. John has transferred his problem-solving skills and operational experience fighting fires under the Incident Command System to the field of flood management and response. He has established a proven specialized service to local governments and the province, providing flood and emergency management and mitigation assistance during the spring freshet.
Andrew (Andy) Low, RPF, Principal Prior to entering the consulting field Andy enjoyed a 19-year career with Parks Canada and the BC Wildfire Service, where he promoted up through the organization from firefighter with the Rapattack program to staff officer at the Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre (PWCC). Andy is a Registered Professional Forester with the Association of BC Forest Professionals and holds a Bachelor of Natural Resource Science and a Diploma of Technology in Forestry. He has incident management team experience at the Type 1 and 2 level, including Safety Officer and Operations Section Chief. As the Wildfire Preparedness Officer at the PWCC, Andy maintained a leadership role within the Provincial Operations section. He established and managed an operations research and development program and managed the Provincial Forest Fire Reporting Centre. Andy represented the BCWS in a variety of capacities, including membership on the National Equipment Working Group of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, as well as participation on the advisory board for the FPinnovations Wildfire Operations Research Group. As a long-time member of the Provincial Training Working Group, Andy played an active role in a variety of training programs, including New Recruit Boot Camp and Crew Leader Camp. Andy has also participated on international training assignments, including instruction to the Hellenic Fire Service of Greece, as well as a training and consulting project in East Kalimantan, Indonesia for TREK Wildland Services Ltd.
Judy Millar, RPBio (ret) Judy fought her first wildfire in 1974 and that started a 35 year long career in several government and contract positions involving fire, both prescribed and wildfire. Working for BC Parks her passion was to promote prescribed fire to restore fire prone ecosystems and wildlife habitat. She attended the Hinton Environment Studies School to learn about fire ecology and advanced fire behaviour. Judy worked in South Australia for one year studying their fire management strategies and planning. From this experience she worked with the Canadian Wildfire Service to adapt a computer algorithm to include an ecological values component for use in sensitive ecosystems. In 2006, Judy joined the provincial Ministry of Environment Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) Team to reduce forest fuel from parks and protected areas. She was the lead contract manager for over one million dollars worth of government funds allocated to reduce fuel in close proximity to human development. In the last 5 years of Judy’s government career, she worked as a provincial terrestrial ecologist with offices in Victoria and Penticton. This included work on several provincial fire and fuel management teams. Pubic Communication, project management and organizational skills are some of Judy’s wide and varied experience has been useful in recent contracts and working groups including fire suppression mitigation planning, fuel management planning, invasive plant management, First Nations Consultation, Technical Advisory Committee to the Okanagan Conservation Program and logistics (Emergency Operations Centre) for flooding in the Okanagan.
Paul Edmonds Paul’s experience includes 23 years at the federal level in emergency and recovery in the UK. In 2018, he changed direction and brought his knowledge to Canada working in a variety of capacities including EOC Director for the Okanagan Similkameen Flood and Fires 2018, Strategic Recovery and Response Planning for the Grand Forks 2018 Flood, (largest flood in BC Modern History) Wildfire Communications with Ministry of Agriculture Climate Action amongst other projects. In the UK, he was a lead for Incident Management and Flood Risk Strategy implementing policy and programs for mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery across all incident sectors, from floods to industrial explosions, contaminations, fires, and including counter terrorism. Other roles included authorized decision maker, Senior Inspector and Manager. A remit of events that have the potential and actual risk to the public, communities, economy, infrastructure and environment. Paul’s experiences led him to develop new way of workings; publishing new organizational culture and emergency programs; organizational change management and implementation. Operationally, Paul is a decorated and certified Strategic Incident Commander, Chief of Police Officers, and as an On-Shore Commander, as well as JIBC ICS 100 and 300, amongst other designations. He has responded to 1000’s of incidents including international deployment, directed 100’s of major exercises and authored and contributed to numerous local and national emergency management plans. Paul was decorated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for outstanding incident management and public service. Here in British Columbia, Paul is a BC Provincially Qualified Supplier for Emergency Management and Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment delivering comprehensive emergency management.
Steve Newton In May 2018, Steve retired after 30 years serving the public as employee of the Province. Steve started his public safety career as part of a wildfire initial attack crews and over the years progressed through the ranks and gained experience in just about every operational position in the British Columbia Wildfire Service, including Incident Command, Operations and Planning roles on the Provincial Incident Management Teams. During his wildfire career he participated as a field operations expert in some interesting technology projects supported by the Canadian and European Space Agencies. He helped develop a wildfire program for the State of Sabah in Malaysia and also an extensive wildfire training program to the State of Nuevo Leon in Mexico. His final 4 years in the BC Wildfire Service was spent leading the Provincial Aviation Management Section. For the last 7 years of his public service career, Steve worked as a Regional Manager for Emergency Management BC. He provided daily guidance, was a subject matter expertand acted as Director as required. Steve led projects related to the application of enabling technologies to demonstrate that the elusive true common operating picture for emergency management. And just for kicks, over the years he pursued graduate studies in leadership and strategic foresight. More recently, Steve has been engaging in studies related to data science because he absolutely recognizes its value in the future of emergency and disaster management. A couple of career highlights include being the recipient of the first ever Director’s Award for Mentorship (2006), a peer nominated award in the BC Wildfire Service. In October, 2018 Steve was part of a small team that was awarded the Premier’s Award for Excellencefor work done supporting First Nations Communities and Local Governments in the then-historic flood and wildfire events of 2017.
Marc Steynen, M.Sc., RPF Marc is passionate about sustainable ecosystem management. He has more than 25 years of experience in natural resource management ranging from operational forestry, silviculture and forest research to strategic planning, and program management. Marc has extensive experience working collaboratively with First Nations, the Provincial government, and stakeholders to achieve shared interests and objectives. He is a Registered Professional Forester with the Association of BC Forest Professionals, and has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource and Environmental Science and a Masters of Science in Forestry from the University of Northern British Columbia. Marc is particularly interested in ecosystem restoration and has considerable experience designing and managing projects to restore vulnerable and degraded ecosystems and habitat for species-at-risk across British Columbia. Recently, he managed almost $2 million in funding to deliver ecosystem restoration projects that ranged from habitat recovery for northern mountain caribou, to broad-scale wildfire mitigation planning and restoration, and the enhancement of riparian structure and function to mitigate flood-impacts.
Rob Friberg, RPF, PhD Candidate Rob teaches environmental science, forest science & management, and human geography as a term instructor at Okanagan college and The University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus) and holds a certificate in advanced group facilitation and public consultation from the Justice Institute of BC. Rob’s PhD research involves working with resource-based and Indigenous communities in the Alberta Rockies and Foothills regions to develop practical strategies for increasing local resilience to the social and economic impacts from mountain pine beetle, and community resilience to climate change related impacts more broadly. Prior to his PhD work Rob worked with rural and Indigenous communities to support participatory program planning and evaluation for sustainable livelihoods and natural resource initiatives in South America (CUSO International, the International Model Forest Network) and the Caribbean (Global Affairs Canada). Rob continues to work with provincial, Indigenous and community-based forest management & conservation projects on the BC coast, South America and Central Africa, including climate change and forest carbon offset related initiatives. Rob gained his forest operations experience though 15 years as a forestry supervisor in the BC forest industry, involving field ecological and riparian assessment, silviculture and harvest planning (including selection systems in low elevation environments), field operations, and landscape-level planning. Rob has a Bachelor’s degree in Forest Resources Management from UBC (1990) and Master’s degree in Environment and Management from Royal Roads University (2010).
Brandy Maslowski, B.A. Brandy Maslowski is a Fire & Life Safety Educator with a focus on teaching FireSmart to residents throughout BC. Her foray into the fire service began in 1995 when she became a Firefighter for the Winnipeg Fire Department. Within 5 years she had achieved Firefighter Levels 1 & 2 and continued training until she became the youngest female Lieutenant on the department achieving NFPA 1031 – Fire Inspector and NFPA 1035 – Fire & Life Safety Educator. Her Bachelor of Arts in English served her well as she spent the next decade of her career writing and lecturing as a Public Education Officer. Moving to BC in 2010, Brandy got a taste of policy, process and local government working as the Fire Services Supervisor for the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen. Faced with the unprecedented fires of 2017 and 2018, she served as Operations Chief in the Emergency Operations Centre and saw the clear need for residents to be given the tools to FireSmart their own properties. After leaving the RDOS, she joined Frontline Operations Group where she focuses on facilitating FireSmart contracts throughout the Okanagan.
Christine Pachkowski, BSc, FIT Christine graduated in 2012 with a BSc in Natural Resources Conservation at the Faculty of Forestry, UBC Vancouver. As a student she participated in research projects on plant genetics and the effect of artificial light on streams. After graduation she moved to Alberta for two seasons doing biodiversity surveys and vegetation monitoring. Christine then moved overseas for two years to work for the New Zealand Department of Conservation. While in New Zealand, Christine was involved in a wide variety of projects from vegetation surveys to invasive species monitoring to threatened species conservation. After returning to Canada in early 2017, Christine moved to Kelowna to work in wildfire management. She has been involved with projects across the Okanagan region. She has experience in field data collection and management (ecosite classification, forest stand data etc.), prescription writing and GIS. Christine is currently a Forester-in-Training working towards her Registered Professional Forester designation. Throughout the course of her work and travels she has gained significant backcountry experience and is passionate about wilderness and conservation. She is also an active volunteer for Central Okanagan Search and Rescue.
Tim Ewart Tim started his wildland fire fighting career in 1979 with the BC Forest Service as an Initial Attack crew member in Campbell River, B.C.. He transitioned into Assistant Ranger and spent the next 15 years in various aspects of forestry work including harvesting, silviculture and wildfire management. Tim became certified in various Fireline positions and participated on Incident Management Teams throughout the Province. In 1993 Tim became the Forest Protection Officer Sunshine Coast area. In 1997 he transferred to Parksville as the FPO Mid Island Fire Zone and in 2008 became the Deputy Fire Center Manager Coastal Fire Center. In 2013 Tim retired and continues to train wildfire courses and participate with the wildfire service in various positions during the busy fire seasons since retirement. Tim has experienced first hand the changes in fire behavior and forest environments within B.C. and in other provinces/countries. Tim has site level experience with serious interface events beginning in 1994-Garnet Fire Penticton, 1998 Silver Creek Fire Salmon Arm, and continuing through the serious fire years of 2003, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. Tim has seen the similar affects of fire on communities while working in Patagonia, Argentina 2001, Australia 2007 and Indonesia 2016. Tim has strong interpersonal skills, has a passion for sharing his wisdom/lessons learned, and is always looking for new adventures.
Amanda Newell , MDEM (Candidate) With over 20 years of emergency medical response as a paramedic, ski patroller and backcountry guide, Amanda brings real-life experience in planning for, responding to, and documenting the response to emergencies. She has also demonstrated the ability to manage a team in high-stress situations and implement ICS principles at both the field and Emergency Operations Centre level. As an Emergency Management Specialist with Frontline Operations Group, Amanda believes in developing plans that can be effectively and safely deployed by those at every level, finding practical solutions that can easily be adapted in developing situations. She can alternate with relative ease between projects demanding a high level of technical acumen and those that require a strong grounding in fundamentals of project management. Amanda is a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross Disaster Management Team and has extensive knowledge and experience in flood and wildfire response and management. To compliment her operational and practical experience she completed post-graduate studies in Disaster and Emergency Management through Royal Roads University; this has allowed her to develop a strong understanding of municipal and provincial plans, processes, and regulations.
Allison Phillips, RFT Allison found her forestry passion in the wilds of Northwestern Ontario. While studying Forestry Technology at Lakehead University she was employed with Domtar Forest Products and the Ministry of Natural Resources where she was a member of the Ontario Forest Classification System team. After graduating from Lakehead University in 1987, she expanded her horizons to Canada’s West. Allison’s professional career spans industry, government, contracting, and consulting. She possesses extensive experience managing, supervising, and administering large silviculture and invasive plant programs. All programs required attention to detail, quality control, data collection and analysis, budget preparations, and safety management. She is safe certified with the BC Forest Safety Council and was a member of various industrial safety committees such as Roads and Transportation, Health and Wellness, and Communications. Allison has volunteered many hours to the education of local youth conducting forestry seminars and field trips and is a co-founder of a stakeholder group currently working closely with the provincial government and local First Nations to establish a community-based forest management and conservation project in an Intensive Recreation Area east of Penticton.
Brittany Seibert, Fire Smart Representative Brittany started her career in wildfire in 2008 with the British Columbia Wildfire Service (BCWS). During her eleven seasons of employment she fulfilled various roles from Dispatcher to Crew Leader as well as being part of the Rapattack crew from 2014-2018. In 2014, she participated in a seasonal exchange program with the rappel base in Victoria, Australia. Employment with the BCWS also created opportunity for Brittany to work with Emergency Management of British Columbia and was deployed on several occasions to the headquarters in Kamloops in response to the flooding in 2017 and 2018. Brittany is certified as a Local FireSmart Representative. Brittany is working towards a Certificate of Emergency Management through the Justice Institute of British Columbia as well as her Bachelor of General Studies through Thompson Rivers University. Brittany is involved in structural fire training with the Vernon Fire Department.
Sarah Thorarinson, BSc, FIT Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Forest Policy and Management from the University of Winnipeg where she graduated in 2015. She is registered as a forester in training with the Association of BC Forest Professionals (ABCFP). Sarah recently completed her Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems at Red River College, completed in 2017. Here she conducted a thesis project on mapping forest fuel types in Manitoba using remote sensing technology and imagery. Prior to moving out west, she worked on a number of forest related research projects, which required intensive fieldwork and data collection. Following this, she worked for the City of Winnipeg’s Urban Forestry Branch in the Dutch Elm Disease Prevention Program. After moving to BC in the fall of 2017, she has spent the past two years working in timber development consulting in Smithers and Enderby, BC. Sarah is an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for forestry and wildfire management and continues to work towards her development as a Registered Professional Forester in the Okanagan.
Nick Zukanovic, GISP Nick’s background in GIS started in the late 1990’s with the BC Ministry of Environment, moving to the private sector in 2000. Since 2010, he is an independent GIS consultant. He is proficient in a wide range of GIS application, mapping and data management tasks, primarily through the use of ArcGIS, ArcPro and a variety of utilities. Nick has been involved with GIS wildfire management since 2004, helping build and develop many of the GIS modelling procedures used today in British Columbia. He has completed the GIS/modelling component for over 25 community wildfire protection plans as well as working with BC Wildfire to help build the Provincial Strategic Threat Analysis. Nick works with emergency management and recently was deployed in Penticton to assist with GIS in the Emergency Operations Centre for the Okanagan Similkameen Flood and Fires of 2018. Nick specializes in large-scale complex data analysis projects, emergency operations, forestry permitting & valuation, ecology projects, wildfire planning/modelling and mapping. He is very familiar with land resource data, specifically VRI & Forest Cover from an environmental, resource analysis and inventory perspective. Nick is a registered GIS Professional (GISP) with the GIS Certification Institute.