The United States Department of Interior is conducting a review of all of the wildland fire programs within the Department with the goal of identifying duplication of efforts that could be eliminated, leading to “more funding on the ground where it is needed the most”. The study is required by the House Committee on Appropriations which directed them to determine the most cost effective and efficient means for implementing the wildland fire management programs within the Department.
Called the “Interior Fire Program Assessment 2012”, it will encompass the Department’s entire wildland fire management program including the Office of the Secretary, Office of Wildland Fire and the four bureaus with wildland fire management responsibilities: Bureau of Land Management; Bureau of Indian Affairs; National Park Service; and Fish and Wildlife Service. The review will also include the fire science and research activities of the U.S. Geological Survey and potential role of the Bureau of Reclamation. The review will not be limited to wildfire protection activities but will encompass all wildland fire management activities including business practices, administrative functions, training, etc.
A contract was awarded to PricewaterhouseCoopers on April 9, 2012, who will conduct the assessment for the Department through a series of site visits, interviews, and by considering other ongoing studies such as the Wildland Fire Information and Technology study and the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (Cohesive Strategy) that are currently underway. The due date for the contractor’s final Implementation Plan is October 17, 2012.
A Project Working Team will work with the contractor to facilitate the identification and gathering of information, outreach within their respective organizations, and provide technical expertise. The members of the team are:
- OWF Representative and Working Team Leader Vince Mazzier
- BLM Representative Grant Beebe
- BIA Representative Dave Koch
- NPS Representative Tom Nichols
- FWS Representative Fred Wetzel
- BOR Representative Greek Taylor
- OAS Representative Stew Walker
- USGS Co-Representatives Martha Garcia and Matt Rollins
- USFS Representative Mark Lichtenstein
The U.S. Forest Service is not a target of the study, but they are represented on the Project Working Team. Some aspects of the Forest Service program will be examined to better understand the opportunities within Interior and how those opportunities could potentially affect the DOI’s work with the Forest Service.
To provide input to the project, you can contact the members above, or complete an on-line survey. The survey must be completed by May 25