Liaison Officer on the Wallow fire

The International Association of Fire Chiefs published an article today about a Liaison Officer being used on the record-setting, 532,086-acre Wallow fire in eastern Arizona. It is not uncommon for a Liaison Officer to be assigned to large, complex, multi-jurisdictional fires, but the article makes the point that this is the first time since the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski fire that the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association has provided one to a fire. Serving in that role was Assistant Fire Chief Chris Jessop of the Show Low Fire District until he was relieved by Northwest District Fire Chief Jeff Piechura. They have been serving as points of contact for the five fire departments and other local agencies in the Wallow fire area.

The Liaison Officer is assigned to the Command Staff and works directly for the Incident Commander, though in this case they may be working for the Area Commander.

Officially, this is how the position is described:

Incidents that are multijurisdictional, or have several agencies involved, may require the establishment of the Liaison Officer position on the Command Staff.

The Liaison Officer is the contact for the personnel assigned to the incident by assisting or cooperating agencies. These are personnel other than those on direct tactical assignments or those involved in a Unified Command.

Liaison Officer major responsibilities and duties:

  • Be a contact point for Agency Representatives.
  • Maintain a list of assisting and cooperating agencies and Agency Representatives.
  • Assist in establishing and coordinating interagency contacts.
  • Keep agencies supporting the incident aware of incident status.
  • Monitor incident operations to identify current or potential inter-organizational problems.
  • Participate in planning meetings, providing current resource status, including limitations and capability of assisting agency resources.
  • Maintain Unit Log

Thanks Dick

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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.