The state of California and the nation are still reeling over the devastating Butte County Camp Fire last month.
The toll is staggering. Eighty-six people killed. Twelve civilians and five firefighters injured. The inferno incinerated 18,804 structures and caused billions of dollars in damage. More than a thousand fire personnel responded and a number of agencies worked closely together to fight the monster.
Statistics indicate wildland fires are causing more widespread destruction than ever. They take a massive financial and emotional toll on our citizens and communities. The cost of firefighting response and suppression continues to rise.
There are several reasons the risk of wildland and wildland-urban interface fires is increasing. Our forests are dense and less healthy. Climates are hotter and drier. Homes are built compactly in a wildland-urban interface.
So, what can be done?
The IAFC believes in collaborative efforts to reduce public risk. Communities can better prepare for wildland and wildland-urban interface fires. We support the initiatives to do this through our policies and programs. We urge our nation’s fire service leaders to follow suit.
The IAFC through its Wildland Fire Policy Committee (WFPC) is focused on supporting the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (Cohesive Strategy). The Cohesive Strategy utilizes a collective and scientific process to address the national wildfire risk through three crucial tenets:
- Resilient landscapes
- Fire-adapted communities
The IAFC promotes activities that work to improve collaborative risk reduction in our communities. It is in the best interest of all our constituents to attack these challenges head on.
Through the efforts of the IAFC Wildland Fire Policy Committee, the IAFC Board of Directors has adopted two position statements this year that call for continued focus on community risk reduction and continued and increased utilization of local government resources. These directly address those three important tenets.
By focusing on maximum utilization of local government fire-service resources and cooperation from partners, the IAFC continues to promote consolidated efforts to protect our communities from the danger of wildland fire.
Fire Chief Dan Eggleston
President and Chairman of the Board