Integrating Reclamation’s Mission in the National Wildland Fire System

Project ID: 5010
Principal Investigator: Chuck Dillon
Research Topic: Public and Employee Safety
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015
Keywords: None

Research Question

Reclamation is not a wildland fire bureau, but carries many of the same requirements to protect its jurisdictional lands and infrastructure. In 2010, the Reclamation wildland fire management policy was executed which left many employees at all levels of Reclamation that have not been accustomed to the national wildland fire system protocols and procedures without clear guidance of how to interact with the wildland fire entities before during and after a wildland fire incident has threatened or impacted Reclamation held interests and lands. This knowledge gap has created duplication and expenditures that may be avoided with proper education and communication. The knowledge gap can also be a catalyst for safety related issues based on having an inappropriate level of situational awareness for the wildland fire environment.
In an effort to better prepare Reclamation employees before, during, and after a wildfire incident, can a learning module be developed to educate employees of their roles and responsibilities in performing wildland fire duties in a safe and fiscally responsible manner?

Need and Benefit

Reclamation as a Bureau of the Department of the Interior is directed by DM 620.1 and DM 620.3 to care for its lands and infrastructure pertaining to wildland fire in the same regards as the other Bureaus. With Reclamation signing the 2001 update to the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy certain tasks are to be performed by the Bureau. With the rollout of the Reclamation Wildland Fire Management policy and associated directive and standard the Regions were directed to implement Region by Region. This has caused confusion among the established wildland fire entities and inconsistencies in how Reclamation interacts with them. This learning module will be the first of its kind for Reclamation. It would give the Reclamation employee a basic knowledge needed to not only plan for wildland fire activities, but also see how wildland fire interacts and or impacts other Reclamation programs.
The creation of a Reclamation wide learning module establishes a baseline knowledge for Reclamation employees that may be accustomed to structural and industrial firefighting, but not wildland firefighting and tactics. The module would create a better understanding to the entities conducting the work for Reclamation of what is of concern to Reclamation and what can be sacrificed to ensure firefighter and Reclamation employee safety.
The learning module would help the implementation of the Reclamation wildland fire management policy by creating a unified look at the decision points needed to be addressed at all stages of a wildland fire program. It would also explain why the federal wildland firefighting effort is based on national protocols and the reasoning why a localized approach being Region by Region can cause great havoc in the future.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

The end result will be an education learning module for wildland fire that will be available to all Regions. It will be the first of its kind for Reclamation addressing the topic.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20