WFCA Supports IAFC’s Commitment to the WFMMC Report
Published:October 25, 2023
Edited:October 25, 2023
Discover IFCA’s commitment to the newly released Wildland Fire Mitigation & Management Commission (WFMMC) Report also supported by Western Fire Chiefs Association.
Mark Niemeyer, President | Fire Chief, Boise Fire Department
The Fire Service has a decision to make in tackling our nation’s wildfire problem. Now that the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission’s final report has been submitted to Congress, it is our time to decide how we will react and support the recommendations. The report outlines a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to address the escalating wildfire crisis that has gripped our nation in recent years. In response, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has released its Policy Response and Recommendations on the commission’s final report. Additionally, the WFCA Board of Directors has elected to offer its wholehearted support to the IAFC and its commitment to the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission report. We firmly believe that the seven key areas highlighted in the report are pivotal to improving the management of wildland fires, safeguarding our communities, and protecting the dedicated men and women who serve on the front lines of these emergencies.
Urgent New Approaches
The WFCA applauds the report’s recognition that wildfires transcend land management and are indeed a matter of public health, safety, and emergency management. The call for innovative strategies, increased accountability, and greater investments is paramount to effectively combating this evolving threat.
We emphasize the need for stronger partnerships and collaboration across all jurisdictions, and we fully support the report’s recommendations to simplify and standardize national agreements, ensure timely reimbursements, enhance authorities for data collection and resource tracking, and work to improve the national resource ordering and status system and ensure that it is more accessible to qualified entities and individuals. These measures will undoubtedly bolster our collective response efforts. The IAFC Wildland Fire Policy Committee and the WFCA Wildfire Policy Committee will continue working as one voice to advance these improvements.
Shifting from Reactive to Proactive/Rebalancing Priorities
The WFCA acknowledges the importance of focusing on pre-fire planning, mitigation, and post-fire recovery. Recognizing the role of fire in the built environment is essential, and we fully endorse this shift from reactive to proactive fire management.
Modernizing Tools for Informed Decision-Making
The integration of science, data, technology, and connectivity in fire management is a priority for the WFCA. We firmly believe that these advancements will empower agencies to make well-informed decisions throughout all phases of fire management, thereby enhancing our ability to protect lives and property.
Investing in Resilience/Scaled Investments
The WFCA fully supports the call to increase spending across all aspects of wildfire risk management and community risk reduction. The urgency, scope, and scale of the wildfire challenge require significant investments to protect our communities and natural resources adequately.
Enabling Beneficial Fire
The promotion of prescribed fire, cultural burning, and wildfire management for resource objectives aligns with the WFCA’s vision for proper fuels management. Developing a national plan for prescribed fire is a crucial step towards harnessing the benefits of these practices while minimizing the risks associated with wildfires.
We strongly endorse the report’s recommendations to foster a year-round cross-trained workforce, as well as stronger utilization of local resources by improving the contracts, grants and agreements process and expand investments in the non-federal workforce. The WFCA also supports enhanced physical and mental health programs for all response levels. Our firefighters are our most valuable assets, and their well-being is of paramount importance.
We believe that the report’s recommendations, as outlined in the seven areas of focus, are vital steps towards mitigating the wildfire crisis that plagues our nation. We are committed to working alongside the IAFC, as well as our State and Federal partners, to advance these critical initiatives and protect our communities, natural resources, and those who tirelessly serve on the front lines.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to fire management, safety, and emergency response. Together, we can make significant strides in addressing the challenges posed by wildfires and ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities.