On April 30, 2010, we wrote a lengthy and well-researched article about the uncanny success the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) has enjoyed in receiving very large grants from the U. S. Forest Service and the Department of Homeland Security for issues related to wildland fire. This surprised us, since a very small percentage of the IAFC’s efforts are devoted to wildland fire. Today we wrote a follow-up to the article, and posted it below. The original complete article is HERE.
For the past several months we have been hearing that the IAFC is extremely upset about the fact that the information in the article has been revealed. They are blindly throwing around accusations that various organizations leaked this data.
Just to set the record straight, we heard from one person that the IAFC had recently received one federal grant for several hundred thousand dollars for a wildland fire related issue. That’s all. And it turned out that the actual amount of the grant was far larger than we were told. All of the rest of the information came from the publicly available web sites listed above, plus spokespersons for the USFS and the IAFC. Every source, other than the original limited, vague, and partially correct original bit of information, is detailed and linked to in the article above. We did not file a Freedom of Information Act request with the U. S. Forest Service, nor did we see any of the results from the multiple FOIA’s that were filed with the USFS.
The fact that the IAFC is so hyper-sensitive about the information in our article becoming public, raises the question of — why are they so sensitive? To borrow a line from the Queen in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
If the IAFC has a totally clear conscience, the best advice would be transparency, rather than angrily accusing innocent bystanders of providing the information that is publicly available on the Internet.
The U.S. Forest Service could use the same advice. Why did it take Freedom of Information Act requests for them to provide some of the information about which organizations they are giving our taxpayer dollars to?