GAO criticizes agencies’ reviews of wildland fires

gao_gov_iconAfter analyzing the track records of the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior for reviewing large fires, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that criticizes the five agencies:

[T]he agencies have not systematically followed agency policy regarding such fire reviews and, in the reviews they have conducted, they have not used specific criteria in selecting fires and conducting the reviews.

The full report is available here, but below are the GAO’s recommendations for executive action:

To better ensure that the agencies have sufficient information to understand the effectiveness of their approach to wildland fires, and to better position them to develop appropriate and effective strategies for wildland fire management, we recommend that the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of the Office of Wildland Fire to take the following two actions:

  1. Develop specific criteria for selecting wildland fires for review and for conducting the reviews as part of their efforts to improve their approach to reviewing fires, and
  2. Once such criteria are established, revise agency policies to align with the specific criteria developed by the agencies.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Matt.

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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.