U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Spotlight on Partners: Border Area Fire Council
The Border Area Fire Council recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The Council was formed in 1996 to develop a coordinated bi-national strategy to offer protection of life, property, and natural resources in the border areas of San Diego County and North Baja.
The value of the Council was highlighted when a 4,100 acre wildfire along the U.S./Mexican border was successfully suppressed through a cooperative effort of Mexican and U.S. agencies. Like several other wildland fires, this fire started in Mexico and spread rapidly into the U.S., then continued to expand in Mexico. Mexican police escorted a strike team of 12 U.S. fire engines and 50 firefighters through the city of Tecate to stop the fire at the doorstep of city neighborhoods. Air tankers supplemented the on-the-ground force. A relieved Tecate fire chief told the crews that 2,000 homes had been saved.
"People were lining the streets, waving to us, giving us the thumbs up," said a San Diego fire chief.
A 4,100 acres brush fire burns along the U.S. / Mexican border near the town of Tecate, Mexico
This collaborative venture was facilitated by the planning of the Border Area Fire Council, which is made up of 38 federal, state and local organizations from the U.S. and Mexico. The Council has strengthened the ability of U.S. fire crews to go one mile into Mexico to save lives and property. In addition, the Council has agreements in place to quickly allow the U.S. Border Patrol, Bureau of Land Management, the California Division of Forestry, and others to fight fires under a unified command.
Some of the accomplishments of the BAFC are: improved radio communication between agencies, a Resource Guide for border areas, an annual media safety day co-hosted by the Cleveland National Forest and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, trash removal from wilderness areas, Spanish warning signs posted in border areas, annual accomplishment reports, and regular elected official briefings.
San Diego County Supervisor Diane Jacob discusses border fire issues with BLM California director Mike Pool:
Members of the Border Area Fire Council pose after the signing of their interagency agreement:
BLM California Director Mike Pool adds his signature to the interagency agreement to coordinate border area firefighting efforts:
BLM California News.bytes, issue 296
|Last updated: 08-20-2007|
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