NWCG to establish Wildland Fire Institute

The National Wildland Fire Coordinating Group has awarded a contract to Corporate University Enterprises, Inc. to design a corporate university, called the Wildland Fire Institute (WFI), that would provide “hire to retire” career planning and training for the wildland fire community.

It is not etched in stone yet. The business and launch plans will be written by the contractor, but then the NWCG and the wildland fire agencies will have to make a decision about implementation… or not.

Here is an excerpt from the memo below:

The intent of the NWCG WFI concept is to unify existing training resources and collectively address gaps in learning and development associated with incident and non-incident related skills and leadership.


The Wildland Fire Institute would not be a new training group, nor is it intended to physically centralize all training functions. The intent is for an integrated, collaborative network of existing training groups throughout the wildland fire and aviation community for training development and implementation. The purpose is to provide training, education, succession planning, and talent management for the wildland fire and aviation community to address incident and non-incident management into the future.

This appears to be an excellent idea. Wildland fire is a profession in which the consequences of failure can be catastrophic, as we have all seen. It takes 10 to 20 years to become proficient, and even longer to rise to the top of the fire qualifications ladder. If this concept is approved, and IF there is a commitment, a long-term commitment, to fully implement and fully fund it, (those are big “IFs”), it could enhance the professionalism, competence, and safety of the wildland fire agencies.
NWCG#033-2010 Memorandum Wildland Fire Institute 2010-07-19

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.