Wildland Fire Suppression

The Washington Post published an article on May 13 about the impact the Sequester cuts will have on the Interior and Agriculture Departments’ budgets, specific to funding firefighters and equipment for the upcoming wildfire season. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the article that his agency would be trying to manage fires with 500 fewer firefighters and 50 fewer engines, using money normally used for funding prevention programs.

“I hope we can get through this fire season without any fatalities,” Vilsack said.

“When fires burn uncontrolled in our nation’s wildlands, it means a loss of homes, businesses . . . and all too often lives,” said Ernest Mitchell Jr., the U.S. fire administrator who joined Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at a news conference in Boise, Idaho.

The sequester cut more than $115 million from the federal wildland fire program budget, USDA officials have said, at a time when the nation continues to face abnormally dry conditions, particularly in the West, as a result of climate change.

While we are never in favor of budget cuts that endanger the lives of those fighting fires, or those whose lives are impacted by wildland fires, we see this as an opportune time to re-think our fire suppression strategy.

When it comes to protecting structures threatened by wildland fire, we encourage agencies to shift their strategy away from the old water-supported engine model to a more nimble, and effective compressed air foam system (CAFS) model. Here’s why:


At a time when we’re looking at wildland fire seasons that are growing more severe with each coming year, combined with an ever-shrinking funding source at all levels of government to combat those blazes, we need, as a fire community, to make smarter choices about how we attack and suppress those fires.

Tradition is important, but finding solutions that require less manpower, less maintenance, and increase our overall firefighting capacity for fewer budget dollars isn’t just a good idea, it’s a critical necessity.

Are you tasked with procurement for the upcoming wildland fire season? We can help. Contact our Sales Department for more information about our TRI-MAX 200 Super-CAF system or any TRI-MAX product.

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