Modification of Interagency Strategy for the Implementation of Federal Wildland
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Modification of Interagency Strategy for the Implementation of Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy February 2009. Evolving Fire Management Opportunities. Purpose & Objectives. Review fire policy evolution and the 2001 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy

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Modification of Interagency Strategy for the Implementation of Federal Wildland

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Presentation Transcript

Modification of Interagency Strategy for the Implementation of Federal Wildland

Fire Management Policy

February 2009

Evolving Fire Management Opportunities

Purpose & Objectives

  • Review fire policy evolution and the 2001 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy

  • Examine the Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy Implementation Strategy Changes

Wildland Fire Policy

  • Evolving Process

    • Fire control

    • Fire management

  • Recent Policy Reviews

    • 1989

    • 1995

    • 2001

    • 2003

    • 2008

National Fire Policy Evolution


Agency Directors for NPS, FWS, BLM, BIA, USGS

Under Secretary USDA

Chief, USFS

Associate Deputy Secretary, DOI

US Fire Administrator

Designated tribal representative

Western Governors

National county representative

National Fire District representative

Wildland Fire Policy

  • Why review the policy

    • Interagency cooperation and communications

    • Escalating fire suppression costs

    • Confusion about policy implementation

    • Issues where policy implementation conflicted with policy

Wildland Fire Policy

  • What is it all about

    • Nine guiding principles important to success

    • Seventeen Federal Wildland Fire Management Policies

      • Qualifying statements

Guiding Principles

  • Firefighter and public safety is the first priority in every fire management activity.

  • The role of wildland fire as an essential ecological process and natural agent of change will be incorporated into the planning process.

  • Fire Management Plans, programs, and activities support land and resource management plans and their implementation.

Guiding Principles (cont.)

  • Sound risk management is a foundation for all fire management activities.

  • Fire management programs and activities are economically viable, based on values to be protected, costs, and land and resource management objectives.

Guiding Principles (cont.)

  • Fire Management Plans¹ are based on the best available science.

  • Fire Management Plans¹ incorporate public health and environmental quality considerations.

¹Fire Management Plans is a generic term referring to unit level strategic plans for wildland fire and known by the names of Land, Resource and Fire Management Plans

Guiding Principles (cont.)

  • Federal, state, tribal, and local interagency coordination and cooperation are essential.

  • Standardization of policies and procedures among federal agencies is an ongoing objective.

Policy Statements

  • Safety

  • Fire Management and Ecosystem Sustainability

  • Response to Wildland Fire

  • Use of Wildland Fire

  • Rehabilitation and Restoration

  • Protection Priorities

Policy Statements (cont.)

  • Wildland Urban Interface

  • Planning

  • Science

  • Preparedness

  • Suppression

  • Prevention

Policy Statements (cont.)

  • Standardization

  • Interagency Cooperation

  • Communication and Education

  • Agency Administrator and Employee Roles

  • Evaluation

National Fire Policy Evolution

Modification of Federal Wildland Fire Policy Implementation:

“Wildland fires can be managed for one or more objective(s) based on Land/Resource Management Plan direction.”

“When 2 or more wildland fires burn together they will be handled as a single wildland fire & may be managed for one or more objectives based on the Land/Resource Management Plan direction as an event moves across the landscape and fuels and weather conditions change.”

National Fire Policy Evolution

“Every wildland fire will be assessed following a decision support process that examines the full range of responses. The system currently being developed and prototyped is known as the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS)

Once a Rx fire no longer meets resource objectives stated specifically in the Rx Fire Plan/project level NEPA & declared a wildfire, it receives the same reassessment & selection of response objectives

Initial response to human-caused wildfire will continue to be suppressed at the lowest cost with the fewest negative consequences with respect to firefighter and public safety

Understanding the Implementation ChangesWhat the changes ARE:

  • a more cohesive way of approaching wildland fire management

  • a foundation to facilitate more efficient operations

  • a program of action that prompts concurrent use of all viable management strategies

Understanding the Implementation ChangesWhat the changes ARE:

  • a means to greater balance in the wildland fire program

  • a means to greater efficiency

  • a means to greater attention to ecological concerns

Understanding the Implementation ChangesWhat the changes ARE:

  • a program of action that does not automatically place priority on one strategy over another without analysis of specific information

  • a common planning process for all agencies, resulting in one plan across agency boundaries

Understanding the Implementation ChangesWhat the new implementation of policy IS NOT:

  • a less safe method of managing wildland fires

  • a significant change in what we do

  • a wholesale shift to “let burn” actions

  • a change in policy

Next Steps

Development of implementation strategy/guidance

Issue in early CY 2009

Incorporate into “Red Book” & “Blue Book” in 2010

Each agency to implement as capability allows – land management plans and management capacity

Begin use of WDFSS as tools, data, and training allow

Continue use of stand alone Wildland Fire Situation Analysis (WFSA) and Wildland Fire Implementation Plan (WFIP) as needed

Implementation Strategy Changes for 2009

Eliminate the distinction between wildland fire use and wildfire.

Wildland fires will be differentiated by whether the ignition is planned or unplanned.

Wildfire = unplanned

Prescribed Fire = planned

Recommendations from 2008 “test” will be included in new implementation strategy

Changes will be consistent with the 2001 Federal Wildland Policy language

Implementation strategy will clarify terminology

Outcomes of the Test

Test forests and DOI units indicated that the increased flexibility in managing unplanned ignitions was very helpful.

More fire on the landscape achieving benefits

Opportunities to be more transparent with cooperators, stakeholders and the public

Lessons learned for implementation

Need simple terms

Need aggressive communication and education program – both internal and external

Recommendations to go further in modifying policy

Eliminate Wildland Fire Use as a category


WFLC Memo - 5/2008

NWCG Memo - 1/2009

Policy Implementation Strategy released mid to late February

Include Communication Plan

Agency specific guidance for rollout to their units

Issues Needing Resolution

Issues Needing Resolution

“We have never been limited by policy, only by our ability”– old fire dog, 2008


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