July 10, 1997 was the first organizational meeting of the Prescribed Fire Training Center. It was just a concept on paper at the beginning of the meeting. The question was asked if a program could be ready in January 1998. At the conclusion of the meeting, the concept turned into a "done deal" and on January 5, 1998, the first session became a reality. A Steering Committee was chartered at this time.
The Steering Committee has been charged with providing the PFTC Director and staff feedback as to whether the mission of PFTC is being carried out. The mission is to maintain a national interagency center of excellence for prescribed fire, with an emphasis on actual field experience, in order to increase skills and knowledge and to build confidence in the application of prescribed fire.
Initially the Steering Committee was driven by field personnel, kept small, close to the ground, and close to Florida. The July 1997 Steering Committee consisted of six members. Twelve months later the Committee added four members to include the PFTC Director and Administrative Specialist. At the July 1999 meeting it was decided to add national representation from BIA, NPS and BLM to the Committee. A vice-chair position was then established at the July 2000 meeting. At the December 2000 meeting a representative for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) was added. During the December 2004 meeting two technical advisor positions were added; a Field Coordinator and Host/Cooperator. These two representatives would attend meetings, when requested by the Chair, in an advisory non-voting member capacity. Voting members, during the virtual May 2020 meeting, made the decision that the chair position would remain in place for a two year rotation, along with the vice-chair. After serving two years the vice-chair would rotate in to serve as chair.