Legislation and Policy

Report: Number of Homes At Risk of Wildfire Explodes

Report: Number of Homes At Risk of Wildfire Explodes

More homes are being built, more business are being opened, and more people are moving into the wildland-urban interface, and that’s not good news, especially in western states most prone to wildfires. According to a report released on October 10 […]
Feds Looking to Rate, Predict Wildfire Destructive Capability

Feds Looking to Rate, Predict Wildfire Destructive Capability

You’ve heard of F5 tornadoes and category 4 hurricanes and the Richter Scale for earthquakes. Are you ready for an E4 wildfire? The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is proposing a rating to measure the potential intensity and […]
Firefighters Raise Their Voices for Better Pay, Benefits, Fire Budgets

Firefighters Raise Their Voices for Better Pay, Benefits, Fire Budgets

The 2013 fire season has been one of uneasy feelings for wildland firefighters. It was more difficult to get hired, if you were hired at all, onto a wildland firefighting crew, thanks to budget cuts, sequestration and a new, but […]
Are Intense, Hot Wildfires Overtaking the Conventional Wisdom of Fuels Reduction?

Are Intense, Hot Wildfires Overtaking the Conventional Wisdom of Fuels Reduction?

The Elk Complex Fire burns near the Incident Command Post in the Boise National Forest near Pine, Idaho on Aug. 8, 2013 (U.S. Forest Service photo) Hazardous fuels reduction, prescribed burns and other treatments have long been the conventional wisdom […]
With Wildfires On The Wane, Forest Service Ends MAFFS Activation … For Now

With Wildfires On The Wane, Forest Service Ends MAFFS Activation … For Now

A C-130 MAFFS (Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System) drops retardant on the Mountain Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest, Calif., in July. (U.S. Forest Service photo) BOISE, Idaho // Sept. 5, 2013 — From A U.S. Northern Command News […]
Can Yosemite's Aggressive Wildfire Management Approach Slow The Rim Fire?

Can Yosemite's Aggressive Wildfire Management Approach Slow The Rim Fire?

The smoky aftermath of a controlled burn near the Mariposa Grove of sequoias in October 2006. (Photo by Jun via Flickr) If historic fire suppression policies in the Sierra Nevada mountain range set the stage for the Rim Fire, can […]
Forest Service To States: We Want Our Money Back

Forest Service To States: We Want Our Money Back

The U.S. Forest Service is taking more than $15 million designated for law enforcement, roads and schools away from 22 states. Citing the federal budget sequester as his reason, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell sent “collection notices” to governors on […]
Help! Forest Service May Call on Military, Foreign Countries

Help! Forest Service May Call on Military, Foreign Countries

A crew makes their way toward the line on the Alum Fire, which has burned more than 7,000 acres in Yellowstone National Park. (Photo via Inciweb) There are 49 large, uncontained fires in the U.S. The national preparedness level is […]
GAO Report Critical of U.S. Forest Service Aviation Strategy

GAO Report Critical of U.S. Forest Service Aviation Strategy

A portable water tank is set up to fill the tank on the U.S. Forest Service’s Twin Otter aircraft, which was used in July at the Papoose Fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho. (USDA photo by Casey Teske) […]
Out of Cash, Forest Service Diverts $600 Million To Pay For Wildfires

Out of Cash, Forest Service Diverts $600 Million To Pay For Wildfires

A firefighter conducts a “burnout” operation at the Big Windy Complex fire in Oregon. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung) The U.S. Forest Service is out of cash for fighting fires. Again. For the sixth time since 2002, the Forest Service […]
Costs of 2013 Wildfires Burns Through $1 Billion

Costs of 2013 Wildfires Burns Through $1 Billion

When the Oregon Department of Forestry has to hire a private 20-man crew for firefighting, it costs $12,800 per day. (Photo by Bureau of Land Management) One billion dollars. Fighting wildland fires in 2013 just crossed that threshold for suppression […]
The Battle for Benefits and the Granite Mountain Hot Shots

The Battle for Benefits and the Granite Mountain Hot Shots

A battle for benefits is underway between surviving families of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots — particularly the wife and family of Andrew Ashcraft, above — and the City of Prescott. (Screengrab from CBS This Morning video) In a world […]
On the Hill: The Wildland Firefighters Protection Act

On the Hill: The Wildland Firefighters Protection Act

Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat representing Colorado’s First District, has introduced H.R. 2858, The Wildland Firefighters Protection Act. The bill, which was introduced on July 30, is “to implement reforms to the Federal land management agency fire programs in order […]
Congress Starting to Get Hot About FEMA, Wildfires

Congress Starting to Get Hot About FEMA, Wildfires

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) continues to aggressively pursue legislation aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires to local communities — and senators are starting to pressure FEMA. On July 30, Udall and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced bipartisan legislation that […]
Population climbs in wildland-urban interface

Population climbs in wildland-urban interface

Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region “In the last half century, about one-fifth of the American people have moved into flame zones, insufficiently aware of the perils awaiting them and inadvertently testing the limits of nature’s tolerance.” […]
Sens. McCain, Flake Introduce Bill to Reduce Wildfire Risks

Sens. McCain, Flake Introduce Bill to Reduce Wildfire Risks

The rugged terrain of chaparral and other dry vegetation burns just west of Yarnell, Ariz., on June 29. (U.S. Forest Service photo) In the wake of the devastating Yarnell Hill fire, fuels reduction over the dry terrain in and around […]
Where Are the Air Tankers?

Where Are the Air Tankers?

A MAFFS (Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System) equipped C-130E makes a fire retardant drop on the Simi Fire in Southern California in 2003. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt Dennis W. Goff) Where are the air tankers? […]
Wildfires: Think Local, Act Local

Wildfires: Think Local, Act Local

Local level or national stage? Where should construction and implementation of a national wildland fire management policy begin? Think local, act local. It could be part of the answer to a national policy that is facing major challenges, criticism and […]
Wildfire Numbers Call for Fuels Reduction

Wildfire Numbers Call for Fuels Reduction

Crews conduct hazardous fuels reduction near the South rim of the Grand Canyon in August 2011. (Photo by Michael Quinn/Grand Canyon National Park Service) These days in wildland fire management, it’s about the numbers as well as policy.  Number of […]
Fire Shelters: The Last Resort

Fire Shelters: The Last Resort

(Photo from National Wildfire Coordinating Group) Fire shelters are considered the last resort for firefighters caught in a deadly burn-over event. But with overall effectiveness in question — some experts say a firefighter who deploys his fire shelter may have […]
Let fires burn, or fight them all?

Let fires burn, or fight them all?

The start of this already ferocious 2013 fire season has ignited ongoing the debate on wildland fire policy. Are wildfires a natural process that contribute to the health of our forests and should we let fires burn? Or should we […]
The State of the 2013 Fire Season: Uncertain, and It Has Only Begun

The State of the 2013 Fire Season: Uncertain, and It Has Only Begun

The 2013 Fire Season: Climate change. Aging tanker fleets. Sequestration. Layoffs. Fewer firefighter hires. Less equipment. Millions cut from fire preparedness funds. A tug of war over fire management policy. Dire predictions of uncontrolled wildfires. Welcome to the most uncertain […]
Budget cuts mean fewer firefighters this season

Budget cuts mean fewer firefighters this season

Persistent drought in the west is expected to cause yet another challenging fire season, yet recent federal budget cuts will result in fewer firefighters to battle the blazes. This season the Forest Service will hire 500 fewer wildland firefighters, which […]
Budget Cuts Mean Fewer Firefighters

Budget Cuts Mean Fewer Firefighters

The U.S. is heading into a tough wildfire season made even more challenging because budget cuts mean fewer firefighters to battle blazes, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Monday afternoon after spending the past two days touring the National Interagency Fire […]
When Will Wildland Fire Cuts Happen?

When Will Wildland Fire Cuts Happen?

Now that the sequestration deadline has passed without agreement between Congress and the White House on the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, there are two questions: What exactly will be cut from the Wildland Fire Management Fund? When do […]
Sequester Looms for Wildland Firefighting

Sequester Looms for Wildland Firefighting

Media reports are starting to detail the effect of sequestration on wildland fire management efforts in 2013. And with cuts in jobs, services and other resources, Friday’s deadline to reach a compromise by Congress and the White House looms large. […]