WFCA Quarterly Newsletter 2023 | Q1

May 22, 2023

Welcome to Spring! Thanks to La Nina, many of our western states have experienced above average rainfall/snow. We’re all hoping that will bring a slightly less stressful wildfire season. That forecast did not deter the continued great work the WFCA is doing in the wildfire space. A strong showing at WUI by WFCA members led to productive conversations and collaboration with both the IAFC and the USFA. We will continue this work, specifically engaging on the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission.

Now is the time to let our voice be heard. Please send your thoughts, challenges, and suggestions to Ret. Chief Bob Roper who serves on the commission on behalf of WFCA. 

Chief Mark Niemeyer, City of Boise
WFCA President

How Sourcewell Cooperative Purchasing Benefits Montana All-Risk Fire Department

Located on the north bank of the Yellowstone River lies the city of Columbus, Montana. Columbus is home to an all-risk fire department run by Chief Rich Cowger. Even with Chief Cowger’s extensive 30 years of experience in the industry, he has still found the process of acquiring apparatus and equipment to be a challenging one.

 “There’s not a lot of real formal education on Fire Chief 101,” he laughs. “I don’t remember paperwork, dealing with politicians, or procurement as any part of the job description.”

To get through the process, Cowger says its often a matter of trial and error. “There are a lot of fire chiefs out there that learned the RFP process through mistakes they made when trying to navigate the process… or they had a city clerk or somebody that said, ‘Here’s how you do that.’ But we all know there are no efficiencies built into that kind of system.”

So, Cowger turned to Sourcewell cooperative purchasing. Sourcewell is the largest government based cooperative purchasing program in North America with over 600 competitively solicited contracts to choose from. When an agency is ready to make a purchase, they can simply visit the Sourcewell website to find what they need without going through the effort of publishing their own RFP. “When you can go to a group like Sourcewell that has a set of specs already drawn out, and you can look at those specs and say, ‘Well, that already meets our needs,’ that saves you weeks and weeks of time right there and saves you months going through the bid processes.”

Sourcewell also saves the department money in both staff resources and contract pricing. “With the cost of doing business today, a smart fire chief is going to look for ways to help reduce costs so that you can keep that service delivery on the street,” says Cowger. “Going through organizations like Sourcewell where group purchasing is already there is huge… partnering up with somebody for cost savings or anything else like that just makes sense to me.”

Chief Cowger’s Interview

To check your department’s Sourcewell member status or view available contracts through Sourcewell, visit the Sourcewell website or call 877-585-9706.

WFCA Confidential Fire Chief Recruitment: City of Pasco, WA
Express interest by Friday, April 21, 2023

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WFCA’s Weekly Wildfire Articles

Wildfire season is just around the corner, and now is the time to start thinking about how to protect your home, property, and loved ones. Conveniently browse WFCA’s latest articles for answers to commonly asked questions about wildfire, and resources for how you, your family, and your community can prepare. “Wildfire Mitigation Explained”, “Wildfire Preparedness Checklist”, and “New Technology to Fight Wildfires” are just a few recent additions to our growing collection. Visit our website today to learn more.

Follow & Share

Each weekly article is also posted on our social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We welcome your agency to follow us and share this free educational content with your community members!

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Top 5 Most Clicked Stories

Similar to most news organizations, the Daily Dispatch tracks clicks to gauge interest and identify the types of stories that catch our readers’ attention. We know our readers especially enjoy articles that include multimedia such as video and photos. We hope you enjoy revisiting the most clicked stories from this quarter.


New legislation in West Virginia could help retain volunteer firefighters with free vehicle registrations


VIDEO: New Jersey home explosion sends first responders for cover


VIDEO: California firefighters battling blaze scramble to safety as building collapses


When a firefighter dies on duty: 24 hours of life and death for some of Oregon’s bravest


Amazing! The Oldest Firehouse in America is in New Jersey

Burn Permits Header

Don’t let legal backyard burning turn into an out-of-control wildfire. Join the Burn Permits App community and see where the smoke is coming from. Available to agencies within the Western Division.

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