Press/Journalists

Press Release
December 2, 2005

U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein Honors Pacific and Pacific Alaska Region Employees

Washington, DC…At the National Archives annual State of the Archives Address and Awards Ceremony yesterday, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein recognized four NARA, Pacific Region and one NARA, Pacific Alaska Region staffers for "Outstanding Achievement in Inter-Agency Records Management" relating to the Wildlands Fire Project, 2001-2005. Pacific Region team honorees were: Richard Boyden (San Bruno), Deborah Wayne (Laguna Niguel), Kathleen Collins (San Bruno), along with Pacific Alaska Region employees Susan Means (Anchorage) and Jeff Benson (Seattle). In giving the award, the Archivist noted: "Your professionalism, your commitment to the work at hand, your response to National Archives customers and partners, your sense of mission, have all been exemplary. I thank each and every National Archives employee who has contributed to my understanding of the agency. Our customers recognize, as I do, the high quality of work performed at the National Archives."

Background: The Wildlands Fire Records Project is an integrated records management initiative that addressed a recordkeeping problem with major implications for communities and natural resources in the United States. Inconsistent scheduling and recordkeeping across the five major firefighting agencies (Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Forest Service) had resulted in a lack of documentation on the effects of changes in fire policy and had undermined scientific and historical research into the effects of fires. The different agencies had different schedules; some identified permanent fire records, but others did not. The project developed a schedule that could cross agency lines, simplified the schedule using new flexible scheduling tools, and analyzed paper and electronic systems together to create a schedule that could function in a digital environment.

Pacific Region staffers Richard Boyden, Deborah Wayne, Kathleen Collins, Jeff Benson, and Susan Means were part of a team that visited 15 sites around the country, and examined records at NARA facilities. The team interviewed both firefighters and researchers to determine the needs of different users, and analyzed work processes and records for wildfire, wildland fire use, and prescribed fire. The team developed a schedule to identify permanent and temporary records in a consistent manner. The team trained over 250 agency employees at 8 sites, briefed another 750 at 13 other sites, and then designed an on-line training program. The Wildlands Fire Records Project will meet current agency needs and long-term needs of researchers interested in the effects of fires and fire policies.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-501-5526.

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