New law may streamline marshalling of wildfire resources in Arizona

Arizona Forestry DivisionA law recently passed by the legislature should streamline the process of assembling firefighting resources in the state of Arizona.

Senate Bill 1075 which goes into effect July 1 gives State Forester Steve Hunt the authority to preposition air tankers, tactical surveillance aircraft, helicopters from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and National Guard, and 20-person inmate firefighting crews. These resources would supplement initial attack crews and help provide aggressive early suppression efforts on emerging wildfires.

The legislation requires that by February 15 of each year the State Forester develop a plan for the deployment of municipal and fire district resources for wildfire suppression and prescribed fires. The plan should take into account the anticipated fire conditions and may include the prepositioning of these resources.

Last year the firefighting agencies in Arizona were tested and experienced the largest fire in the state’s history, the Wallow fire, which burned 538,049 acres.

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About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of WildfireToday.com and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+

3 thoughts on “New law may streamline marshalling of wildfire resources in Arizona

  1. “Prepostion air tankers?” Sounds like a collision coarse with the Feds. Arizona may want to obtain their own fixed wing air tanker program. Maybe no one told Arizona there isn’t many tankers around the West. Better spool-up the Arizona National Guard. No MAFF companies in either Arizona or New Mexico. What a dilemma. If you want something done that fits your needs think about getting your own box.

  2. Johnny, the “state of AZ” also has/is/can order up any type of air tanker it wants on a local agreement, if that company has resources available. AZ does this now with their state SEAT contracts; CWN needed helicopters, also local government helicopters, crews, and equipment. This is about a state response, not a federal response.

    • … and Oregon’s had two of Butler Aircraft’s Doug tankers on contract since the FS canceled them years ago. Arizona talked about contracting with Butler but then balked when the FS objected. No such BS with Oregon – they know a good tanker company when they see one.

      I hope it works for Arizona. After what happened in the SW last year, I don’t blame them. It’s almost like the states with huge-fire probability can’t depend on the feds for fire protection anymore.

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