Commission established to assess forest fire mitigation, management and management

Among other objectives, it will develop a strategy to meet aerial firefighting needs until 2030.

December 17, 2021

Route Fire, Southern California, September 11, 2021.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Homeland Security today announced the creation of a new commission for the mitigation and management of forest fires, required by the bipartite infrastructure law, HR3684, signed by the president on November 15. 2021, which became public law number 117-58.

The Commission is responsible for recommending federal policies and strategies to prevent, mitigate, suppress and more effectively manage forest fires, including the reclamation of lands affected by forest fires. It will include representatives from federal, state, tribal, county and municipal governments as well as non-government stakeholders from private industry.

The legislation authorized $ 600 million for fire personnel management and approximately $ 600 million for fuel management, pre-fire planning, satellite fire detection, research, radio interoperability and other uses.

The new law is very specific and detailed in the presentation of the deliverables of the new Commission, perhaps fearing that if it was too vague, little would be done. The 27 commission members will have their work cut out for them – 9 from federal departments and 18 non-federal stakeholders, plus an executive director they can hire. They can also bring in staff if necessary. Members will serve “without compensation” but may be reimbursed for travel expenses and per diems.

Appointments of members of the Commission must be made no later than 60 days after the date of entry into force of the law, ie January 14, 2022. Their first meeting must take place within 30 days of the appointment of all members. . – no later than February 13, 2022. They must meet at least once every 30 days, in person or remotely.

Their missions fall into two main categories; Here are some important points:

1. Develop recommendations to mitigate and manage wildland fires

By February 13, 2023, develop a report outlining recommendations to prevent, mitigate, suppress and manage forest fires; consider the protection of human life, forest management in the short and long term; wilderness-urban interface; utility corridors; rehabilitation after fires; streamline environmental reviews; and recommendations to modernize and expand the use of technology, including satellite technology, remote sensing, unmanned aircraft systems and any other type of emerging technology to prevent, mitigate, suppress and manage forest fires.

2. Report on the equipment, strategy and inventory of aerial forest firefighting

By March 30, 2022, prepare an inventory of excess cargo and passenger aircraft that can be used for forest firefighting purposes.

By June 28, 2022, develop an estimate of the number of aircraft needed to fight forest fires through 2030. The report will include an assessment of federal government authorities to supply or sell surplus aircraft to federal organizations , state or local to use for forest firefighting and identify any additional authorities needed. The Commission is responsible for examining all options for the private and public sectors to access the necessary aircraft and aircraft parts, including procurement, procurement, modernization and public-private partnerships.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildfires for 33 years, he continues to learn and strives to be a fire student. View all articles by Bill Gabbert


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