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Revising State and Federal Approaches to Fire Policy Coordination

Introduction

For nine decades, the central tenet of American wildfire policy was to protect natural resources and human communities from damages caused by wildfires. After 34 firefighters lost their lives on the front lines during a 1994 wildland fire in California, state and federal approaches to fire policy were irrevocably altered. Plagued by funding woes, climate change and increased development the US fire season grew longer, with already taxed firefighting personnel and equipment in perilously short supply. A collection of federal, state and community agencies are attempting to stem the tide, although require both social agreement and political action by state and federal government. Long term economic and environmental implications of continued outbreaks are profound, and requires both a dedicated set of on-call firefighters, as well as equipment extensive enough to meet the workload demanded not only by a major wildland fire, albeit that of two or three simultaneously.

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