National Wildfire Suppression Assoc. Claims 10,000 Firefighters Are Sitting As Wildfires Rage
LYONS, Ore., June 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — As wildfires rage in many western states with reports that resources are stretched thin, many wildfire suppression resources sit idle. Over 10,000 private trained wildland firefighters are ready for assignment, however, to date very few of them have been utilized. Over 40% of the resources used by the federal agencies on fires have been professional private resources historically. Many fire contractors have within their ranks many years of fire experience in management positions including retired agency fire personnel. These resources are available to help supplement agency resources in their efforts to suppress wildfires.
“The Agencies work under the Incident Command System which is the best Emergency Response System in the world and gives them the ability to provide swift response to wildfires and staff the fire up rapidly if the agency determines that is appropriate. Since we are not privileged to the decision making process on determining staffing levels it would be inappropriate to speak to that topic. But we know that they clearly have the capability to rapidly utilize not only their own resources but many contracted fire resources as well as their cooperative partners if they determine that is necessary,” said Deborah Miley, Executive Director of the NWSA. Over the past few years we have seen a change in wildland fire policy and the way resources are utilized on fires.
The National Wildfire Suppression Association represents private wildland fire suppression companies across the US. Our members can field up to 165 – 20 person type 2 hand crews, 32 Type 2 IA National hand crews, over 600 pieces of water handling equipment, kitchen and shower units, and a cadre of other resources with a workforce of over 10,000. These are on call resources that can be used when needed making us a great value to the agency and the taxpayer. As Jim Furlong, Retired USFS Region 6 Assistant Fire & Aviation Director said, “If it weren’t for the markings on the equipment you would not be able to tell the difference.”
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SOURCE National Wildfire Suppression Association