Policy & Law

Line drawing of city street scene in 1686. Courtesy of New York State Museum.

1638

Massachusetts Bans Smoking Outdoors

Massachusetts passed first law banning smoking outdoors. Passed because of heightened awareness of fire and associated devastation.

Image of Peter Stuyvesant.

1648

Peter Stuyvesant Governor

Peter Stuyvesant of New Amsterdam (New York City) adopted building codes and established Fire Wardens to protect the settlement. This was the first fire organization in America.

RELATED ITEMS: Brief History of the Fire Service

Line drawing of city street scene in 1686. Courtesy of New York State Museum.

1743

New York Passes Statute

New York passed statute that empowered anyone in certain counties to "require and command all or any of the neighboring and adjacent inhabitants to aid and assist him" in the suppression of a fire.

Yellowstone geyser basin. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1872

Yellowstone National Park Established

Superintendent Nathaniel P. Langford wrote in his annual report for that year "It is especially recommended that a law be passed, punishing, by fine and imprisonment, all persons who leave any fire they may have made, for convenience or otherwise, unextinguished. Nearly all extensive conflagrations of timber in the mountains may be directly traced to negligence in extinguishing campfires. . . . Nothing less than a stringent law punishing negligence and carelessness, can save the extensive pine timber fields of the park from destruction."

RELATED ITEMS: Report of the Superintendent of the Yellowstone National Park to the Secretary of the Interior for the year 1872

Forest ranger on horseback using binoculars. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1885

Wildland Fire Control Program Initiated

Wildland Fire Control Program initiated in the Adirondacks Reserve, New York.

1871 view of lakeside camp. Courtesy of National Park Service.

March, 1885

House Committee Declaration

House Committee dealing with Yellowstone National Park declared that "the most important duty of the superintendent and assistants in the Park is to protect the forest from fire and ax."

1871 view of lakeside camp. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1889

Designated Campgrounds

In an attempt to reduce wildfires, Captain Boutelle ordered that camping in Yellowstone be allowed only in designated areas. This led to the system of designated campgrounds now common on public lands.

REFERENCE ITEMS: How the U.S. Cavalry Saved Our National Parks, H. Duane Hampton, Indiana University Press, 1971

U.S. Cavalry posed near large fallent tree in Sequoia National Park. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1890

Military Assistance

Secretary of the Interior requests military assistance to administer and protect the new California parks, Yosemite, Sequoia and General Grant National Parks. Unlike Yellowstone, no permanent garrison was built and the military only occupied the parks during the summer months for patrols, fire fighting and protection activities. The military remained until 1914.

View of mountains against blue sky. Courtesy of National Park Service.

MARCH 3, 1891

Forest Reserve Act

Forest Reserve Act (26 Stat. 1095) enacted. Sec. 24. provided "The President of the United States may, from time to time, set apart and reserve, in any State or Territory having public land bearing forests, in any part of the public lands wholly or in part covered with timber or undergrowth, whether of commercial value or not, as public reservations, and the President shall, by public proclamation, declare the establishment of such reservations and the limits thereof."

Forest with Gallatin Mountains in background. Courtesy of National Park Service.

MARCH 30, 1891

Federal Forest Preserve

The first Federal Forest Preserve, the precursor of national forests, was established to the east and south of Yellowstone. It and future preserves were administered by the General Land Office of the Department of the Interior.

View of mountains against blue sky. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1898

37 Million Acres

Over 37 million acres were now protected as Forest Preserves and administered by the General Land Office. Gifford Pinchot was made Chief of the Division of Forestry under the Department of Agriculture.

Gifford Pinchot. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1905

Gifford Pinchot Named Chief Forester

U. S. Forest Service was established when the federal forest reserves were transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Gifford Pinchot was named Chief Forester. Field managers were given The Use Book that described their three main duties as "to protect the reserves against fire, to assist the people in their use and to see that they are properly used."

RELATED ITEMS: The Use of the National Forest Reserves 1905 Use Book

Black & white view of smoke rising from forest. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

MAY 23, 1908

Forest Fires Emergency Act

P.L. 60-136, Ch. 192, 35 Stat. 260 Was the first federal fire policy enacted which authorized any necessary Forest Service spending on firefighting.

View of mountains against blue sky. Courtesy of National Park Service.

JULY 1, 1908

National Forests Created

President Theodore Roosevelt created 21 National Forest by Executive Order.

Smoke rising from forest. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1910

Forest Protection Bulletin

Forest Service Chief Henry Graves issued bulletin Protection of Forests from Fire that declared "The first measure necessary for the successful practice of forestry is protection from forest fires.

Smoke rising from fire in pines and palmetto. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1911

Using Fire To Reduce Hazardous Fuels

Forest administrator in Florida National Forest, I.F. Eldridge, broke with convention by using fire to reduce hazardous fuels in longleaf pine stands.

RELATED ITEMS: A History of Forestry Research in the Southern United States

MARCH 1, 1911

The Weeks Act

The Weeks Act (36 Stat. 962; 16 U.S.C. 519) passed by Congress, allowing the USFS to cooperate with states in fire protection, creating the first interagency wildland fire fighting effort. SEC. 2. That the sum of two hundred thousand dollars is hereby appropriated and made available until expended, out of any moneys in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to enable the Secretary of Agriculture to cooperate with any State or group of States, when requested to do so, in the protection from fire of the forested watersheds of navigable streams; and the Secretary of Agriculture is hereby authorized, and on such conditions as he deems wise, to stipulate and agree with any State or group of States to cooperate in the organization and maintenance of a system of fire protection on any private or state forest lands within such State or States and situated upon the watershed of a navigable river: Provided, That no such stipulation or agreement shall be made with any State which has not provided by law for a System of forest-fire protection.

1910 image of women standing by erupting Old Faithful geyser. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1916

National Park Service Established

National Park Service established within the Department of the Interior to manage national parks and monuments.

Five men with buckets and blankets standing before smoking fire. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1922

The Protection Act

42 Stat. 857:16 USC 594 Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior not only to protect Departmental land from fire, but also to cooperate with both Federal and state agencies, as well as private land-owners.

Hazy view of mountains outside Yellowstone National Park. Courtesy of National Park Service.

JUNE 7, 1924

Clark-McNary Act

43 Stat 653, 16 U.S.C. 564 Passed and extended federal ability to buy lands for National Forest System; encouraged cooperation among federal, state, and private sectors in forest management.

RELATED ITEMS: The Clarke-McNary Act

Two men building fireline on smoky forest hillside. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1926

Colonel John White

Sequoia - Kings Canyon Superintendent Colonel John White orders his rangers to conduct a number of controlled burns to reduce ground fuels even though this was against policy.

Men on an old fire truck. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

January, 1927

Forest Protection Board Established

Forest Protection Board established to ensure a "coordination of effort through a central agency to facilitate cooperation among these (federal) agencies a well as with state and private protection services." The member agencies were the Interior Department's National Park Service, General Land Office, and Indian Service, and Agriculture's Forest Service, Weather Bureau, Biological Survey, Bureau of Entomology and the Bureau of Plant Industry.

Two men by truck fighting fire with water hose. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1932

The Economy Act

The Economy Act (47 Stat. 417; 31 U.S.C. 1535) authorizes Federal agencies to enter into contracts and agreements for services with each other.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt having lunch at Civilian Conversation Corps camp in Shenandoah National Park. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1933

Civilian Conservation Corps Established

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established "...that the unemployed could work for the prevention of forest fires and for soil erosion, flood control, removal of undesirable plants, insect control, and construction or maintenance of paths, tracks, and fire lanes on public lands."

RELATED ITEMS: American Forests with the Civilian Conservation Corps Roosevelt's Tree Army

Men building fireline on slope with smoke in background. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1936

10 A.M. Policy Adopted

10 A.M. Policy adopted by US Forest Service which stipulated that a fire was to be contained and controlled by 10 a.m. following the report of a fire, or failing that goal, control by 10 a.m. the next day and so on. This policy is implemented on a national scale and marked a high point in wildfire suppression.

1941 poster "Forst Defense is National Defense". Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1942

Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Program

USDA Forest Service organized the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Program. War posters carried fire prevention messages, "Careless Matches Aid the Axis" and "Our Carelessness, their Secret Weapon." In 1944 the Wartime Advertising Council decided to use an animal to carry the fire prevention message. Walt Disney agreed to lend the image of Bambi, for a year, to be the first to carry the message.

Man lighting fire in palmetto and pines using driptorch. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1943

Prescribed Fires

After viewing extensive fires in Florida that resulted from years of fire exclusion, Lyle Watts, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service gave national forests there permission, on a case-by-case basis, to use prescribed fire for the reduction of unnaturally high fuel accumulations. This policy change gave tacit recognition to the wisdom of managing the landscape with fire as practiced during the previous several thousand years by Native Americans and the European settlers who replaced them.

RELATED ITEMS: Florida's Revised Prescribed Fire Law: Protection for Responsible Burners

Logo of the Bureau of Land Management. Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management.

1946

Bureau of Land Management

The Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior.

RELATED ITEMS: McCall Smokejumper Base

Smokey Bear artist R. Wendlin and posters. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1952

Smokey Bear Act

Public Law 82-359—This law gave control of the image of Smokey to the Secretary of Agriculture so that there would be no unlawful use of Smokey Bear's image. The Act provided for the use of collected royalties and fees for continued education on forest fire prevention.

Men with hose fighting fire in brush. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1953

Principles of Organization for Fighting Forest Fires

Principles of Organization for Fighting Forest Fires—issued by the U.S. Forest Service.

Men with axe and chainsaw felling tree. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

MAY 27, 1955

The Reciprocal Fire Protection Act

The Reciprocal Fire Protection Act 69 Stat. 66, 67; 42 U.S.C. 1856a as amended by The Wildfire Suppression Assistance Act of 1989 102 Stat. 1615 Authorizes reciprocal fire protection agreements with any fire organization for mutual aid, with or without reimbursement, and allows for emergency assistance in the vicinity of agency facilities in extinguishing fires when no agreement exists.

Men standing near smoky fire in forest. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1957

Ten Standard Fire Orders

U.S. Forest Service convenes a special task force to study fires where firefighter fatalities occurred, and devise safety guidelines; among other recommendations, the Ten Standard Fire Orders (SFO) are implemented modeled after U.S. Marine Corps general orders. In addition to the SFO, this report marks the origin of the 18 Watchout Situations and of the research into and use of fire behavior knowledge in wildland firefighting. It was also a milestone in the development of both National Advanced Resources Training Center and the incident command system.

RELATED ITEMS: Report of Task Force to Recommend Action to Reduce the Chances of Men Being Killed by Burning While Fighting Fire

Men with axe and chainsaw felling tree. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

JANUARY 28, 1957

Rayonier v. United States

RAYONIER, INC., v. UNITED STATES, 352 U.S. 315—which the Supreme Court decided that under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the United States is not immune from liability for negligence of employees of the Forest Service in fighting a fire, if in similar circumstances a private person would be liable under the laws of the State in which the fire occurred.

RELATED ITEMS: U.S. Supreme Court, Rayonier, Inc. v. United States 352 U.S. 315 (1957)

Grizzly bear with three cubs by river. Courtesy of National Parks Service.

1963

Leopold Report

Wildlife Management in the National Parks: Leopold Report, released and set the course for future management of national parklands by recommending "...that the biotic associations within each park be maintained, or where necessary recreated, as nearly as possible in the condition that prevailed when the area was first visited by the white man. A national park should represent a vignette of primitive America."

RELATED ITEMS: Wildlife Management in the National Parks: The Leopold Report

1964

Wilderness Act

Wilderness Act (Public Law 88-577) passed and established the National Wilderness Preservation System. The Secretary of the Interior was directed to review every roadless area of 5,000 acres or more and every roadless island within the national wildlife refuge and national park systems for possible inclusion in the System. The Act also included some national forest lands in the System and directed the Secretary of Agriculture to recommend others. Over 100 million acres have been included in the National Wilderness Preservation System so far. Its implication to fire management was in the fact that these lands would be: ...protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition and these lands generally appear to have been affected primarily by the forces of natures. Section 2 (c) The following special provisions are hereby made...In addition, such measures may be taken as may be necessary in the control of fire...subject to such conditions as the Secretary deems desirable. Section 4(d)

RELATED ITEMS: Wilderness Act

Smoke rising from mountain in Glacier National Park. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1967

Fire Policy Revised

National Park Service fire policy revised to allow "prescribed natural fires" in areas with approved fire plans.

Hazy view of mountains outside Yellowstone National Park. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1967

Clean Air Act

PL chapter 360, 69 Stat 322, 42 USC 7401 et seq Amendments added in 1970, 1977, and 1999. The main purpose of this act is to protect and enhance the nation's air quality and to promote the public health and welfare. The act establishes specific programs that provide special protection for air resources and air quality-related.

Smoke rising from mountain in Glacier National Park. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1968

Administrative Policies for Natural Areas of the National Park System

Administrative Policies for Natural Areas of the National Park System was released and stated "The presence or absence of natural fire within a given habitat is recognized as one of the ecological factors contributing to the perpetuation of plants and animals native to that habitat." This was a major shift in the Service's approach to fire, from one of suppressing all fires in national parks to that of managing fire. The new policy permitted the use of prescribed burning and allowed lightning fires to burn to help accomplish approved management objectives.

View of mountains against blue sky. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1969

National Environmental Policy Act

PL 91-190, 42 USC 4321 et seq.
83 Stat. 852, 42 USC 4332, as amended
Forms the basic national charter for environmental protection. It ordered federal agencies to carry out their duties in such a way as to avoid or minimize environmental degradation. It required those agencies to conduct planning with studies of potential environmental impact for all management projects. The planning procedure, further, was to be open for public input.

Forest shrouded in smoke. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

1971

Natural Fire Experiments

U.S. Forest Service modified its suppression policy and begins initiating natural fire experiments.

Firefighters and equipment during training. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1972

The Rural Development Act of 1972

Public Law 92-419—Authorized establishment of Voluntary Fire Assistance Program with up to $7,000,000 to organize, train, and equip local fire forces to prevent, control and suppress fires in rural areas.

Lake in Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. Courtesy of USDA Forest Service.

1972

Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area

First U.S. Forest Service wilderness fire management plan written for the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. If weather and fuel conditions permitted, wildfires would be allowed to burn in the shrub fields and open ponderosa pines at 3,000 feet, along the breaks of the Selway River, and in the alpine larch at 8,500 feet.

Grizzly bear with three cubs by river in Yellowstone. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1973

Endangered Species Act

PL 93-205, 87 Stat 884, 7 USC 136, as amended—Requires federal agencies to ensure that their activities will not jeopardize the existence of any endangered or threatened species of plant or animal or result in the destruction or deterioration of critical habitat of such species.

Three firefighters, shrouded in smoke, digging fireline. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

OCTOBER 19, 1974

Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act

Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of et seq. 88 Stat. 1535; 15 U.S.C. 2201 as amended Authorizes reimbursement to State and local fire services for costs incurred in firefighting on Federal Property.

National Wildfire Coordinating Group logo. Courtesy of National Wildfire Coordinating Group.

1976

National Wildfire Coordinating Group Established

National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) established with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to facilitate the development of common practices, standards, and training among the wildfire community.

RELATED ITEMS: National Wildfire Coordinating Group

View of Fire Shelter case. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1977

Mandatory Fire Shelters

US Forest Service makes it mandatory that all Forest Service firefighters carry a fire shelter.

Smoke by river and Grand Teton Mountains. Courtesy of National Park Service.

1977

National Park Service Fire Management Policy

NPS-18—Provided the Service with standardized terminology, direction and guidance for its fire management program. Each park was required to evaluate its fire needs and develop a fire management plan.

Pine trees silhouetted in smoky fire. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

1978

National Forest Manual

USDA Forest Service released the National Forest Manual that accepted fire management and the use of fire, and abandoned the 10 A.M. Policy.

Logo of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

1978

Fire Management Program

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service establishes a formal Fire Management Program.

Regrowth from the Ouzel fire - 2004. Courtesy of National Park Service.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1978

Ouzel Fire

Ouzel Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park threatens nearby community of Allenspark, Colorado. Initially managed for resource benefits as a prescribed natural fire, the Ouzel Fire was driven by strong downslope "Chinook" winds toward the park boundary. Winds eventually subsided and the fire was controlled within the park boundary. Recommendations from the fire review further clarified the NPS fire management planning and use of natural fires for resource benefits.

Logo of Bureau of Land Management. Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management.

1979

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management issued its first policy for the management of lands designated as wilderness study areas. Fire management policy for designated wilderness areas was issued in 1981.

1982

Supplemental Appropriation Act

96 Stat. 837—Authorizes both the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into contracts with State and local government entities, including local fire districts, for procurement of services in presuppression, detection and suppression of fires on any unit within their jurisdiction.

Man pointing to chart at fire briefing. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

1985

National Interagency Incident Management System

National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS) adopted by federal land management agencies.

Forest shrouded in smoke. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

1985

U.S. Forest Service Policy Revised

U.S. Forest Service policy revised to clarify wilderness fire management objectives and the use of prescribed fire within wilderness.

Towering cloud of smoke. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

SEPTEMBER 28, 1988

Fire Management Policy Review Team Established

Fire Management Policy Review Team established to review national policies and their applications for fire management in national parks and wilderness and to recommend actions to address problems experienced during the 1988 fire season.

Smoke rising from mountain in Glacier National Park. Courtesy of National Park Service.

MAY 5, 1989

Final Report on Fire Management Policy

Final Report on Fire Management Policy was released by the Fire Management Policy Review Team. It made 15 recommendations, some highlights include reaffirmation and strengthening of the prescribed natural fire policies, reaffirmed that fires are either prescribed or wild, fire management plans need to include interagency planning, stronger prescriptions, and additional decision criteria, daily confirmation by managers that adequate resources exist to manage the fire, and the use of prescribed fire to complement prescribed natural fire programs and to reduce hazardous fuels.

Sun glowing above firefighters working in smoky forest. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

June, 1989

Bush Administration

Bush administration directed the Department of Interior to fight all fires, regardless of origin or prescription, until each park or management area had revised its fire management plan to reflect the new, tightened policy.

OCTOBER 1, 1990

The Florida Prescribed Burning Act

State Statute 590.125(3)—This law authorized and promoted the continued use of prescribed burning for ecological, silvicultural, and wildfire management purposes. The statute promoted the use of fire, described the benefits of prescribed fire, the value of public outreach initiatives, and the need for continued prescribed burner training. It also protected prescribed burners from civil liability as long as they or their agents were not found generally negligent as defined in the 1990 Florida Supreme Court ruling Midyette v. Madison, 559 So.2d 1126 (Fla. 1990). In addition, prescribed burns conducted in accordance with the statute could no longer be terminated because of nuisance complaints. Since its passage, seven other southern states have passed identical or very similar legislation including Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

RELATED ITEMS: Florida's Revised Prescribed Fire Law: Protection for Responsible Burners

Fire burning in Southern pine forest. Courtesy of National Park Service.

DECEMBER 5, 1990

General Accounting Office

General Accounting Office issues report titled Federal Fire Management Limited Progress in Restarting the Prescribed Fire Program that found benefits of allowing some fires to burn in controlled situations, progress and constraints on implementing a revamped prescribed fire program, and the need to monitor the program's implementation.

Burnt trees silhouetted against colored sky. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

JULY 6, 1994

South Canyon Fire

near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, kills 14 firefighters—An interagency team was formed to investigate the fatalities and contributing factors. The subsequent 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Policy and Program Review, signed by both Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior, directed Federal wildland fire agencies to establish fire management qualifications standards to improve firefighter safety and increase professionalism in fire management programs.

RELATED ITEMS: South Canyon Fire Investigation

Fire burning on ground and up Ponderosa Pine. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

1996

Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy and Program Review

The Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy and Program Review was chartered by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to ensure that Federal policies are uniform and programs are cooperative and cohesive. The report addresses five major topic areas, presents nine guiding principles that are fundamental to wildland fire management, and recommends a set of thirteen Federal wildland fire policies. While unique agency missions may result in minor operational differences, having, for the first time, one set of "umbrella" Federal fire policies will enhance effective and efficient operations across administrative boundaries and improve our capability to meet the challenges posed by current wildland fire conditions.

RELATED ITEMS: Federal Wildland Fire Policy

Remains of burned house. Courtesy of National Interagency Fire Center.

May, 2000

Cerro Grande Fire

Bandelier National Monument— prescribed fire in escaped control and burned over 45,000 acres and destroyed 235 homes in Los Alamos, New Mexico. National Park Service prohibits all prescribed fires west of the 100th Meridian for approximately one year.

RELATED ITEMS: Cerro Grande Fire

Firefighter with drip torch in front of burning trees. Courtesy of National Park Service.

2000

National Fire Plan

National Fire Plan adopted which increased funding and committed federal land management agencies to treat, by burning and thinning, 40 million acres of brush and dense forest during the first decade of the new century.

Firefighters walking on road through smoke. Courtesy of National Park Service.

2001

Thirty Mile Accident Prevention Plan

Following review of the fire, the Thirty Mile Accident Prevention Plan was developed and contained 38 action items, including 28 that are Interagency in nature to enhance fire fighter safety and training.

RELATED ITEMS: Thirty Mile Fire Information

Firefighter with drip torch in front of burning trees. Courtesy of National Park Service.

MAY 18, 2002

Cerro Grande Prescribed Fire Investigation Report Released

Cerro Grande Prescribed Fire Investigation report released and found that federal personnel failed to properly plan and implement the Upper Frijoles Prescribed Fire, which became known as the Cerro Grande Prescribed Fire. Throughout the planning and implementation, critical mistakes were made. Findings and recommendations cover planning, implementation, and qualifications.

President George W. Bush with Superintendent at Rocky Mountain National Park. Courtesy of National Park Service.

DECEMBER 3, 2003

Healthy Forest Restoration Act

P.L. 108-148—President Bush signs the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (P.L. 108-148), designed to reduce the risk of wild fires by thinning dense undergrowth and brush in forested areas.

JANUARY 12, 2004

Cramer Fire Investigation Report and Accident Prevention Action

Cramer Fire investigation report and accident prevention action is released. The investigation report contains 44 findings, nine causal factors and three contributing factors; the accident prevention action plan, which has agency-wide ramifications, contains five steps to implement. The key actions that, when implemented, would best prevent similar mishaps in the future, include strengthening command and control performance of agency administrators and fire managers and periodically re-certifying fire management leadership positions nationally.

OCTOBER 1, 2004

Interagency Fire Program Management Qualifications Standard and Guide

Implementation of the Interagency Fire Program Management Qualifications Standard and Guide (IFPM Standard) begins.

  • 14 key fire management positions (Appendix B) and established minimum qualification standards with consideration for the complexity of the fire program where the position is located.
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved Supplemental Qualification Standard for GS-0401 Fire Management Specialist, the selected series for professional fire management positions.
  • Competency descriptors for key fire management positions.
  • A rating guide for evaluating fire program complexity.
  • Minimum grade levels predetermined by application of the complexity guide and the appropriate position classification standard.
  • Standard Key Performance Elements based on the competencies for each position.
  • A list of required and recommended training for designated agency managers.
  • A system to determine when a "specialist" or center manager position is professional or technical based on pre-determined competencies and job complexity.
  • Agreement that all IFPM fire positions classifiable at GS-11 and above are professional positions based on the required competencies and job complexity.