U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 01/09/2007
Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-038
To: State Directors
Subject: Prescribed Fire Policy and Direction
Program Area: Prescribed Fire Management
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) issues new prescribed fire guidance for implementing the 2006 Interagency Prescribed Fire Planning and Implementation Reference Guide (IA RX Fire Guide) and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Supplement to the IA RX Fire Guide (BLM Supplement) (Attachment 1).
Policy/Action: The IA RX Fire Guide was signed by the National Fire and Aviation Executive Board (NFAEB) on September 1, 2006. It provides policy, direction, and standardized procedures associated with the planning and implementation of prescribed fire for the five Federal land management agencies. This guide and prescribed fire plan template can be accessed electronically at http://www.nifc.gov/fire_policy.
The IA RX Fire Guide describes what is minimally acceptable for prescribed fire planning and implementation. Agencies may choose to provide more restrictive standards and policy direction but must adhere to the minimum standards identified in the guide.
To ensure that prescribed fire operations unique to BLM are planned for and safely implemented by BLM personnel, additional prescribed fire planning and implementation standards have been developed. The BLM supplement identifies the additional standards that all BLM personnel will follow when involved with BLM prescribed fire planning and implementation. State and local field offices may choose to implement stricter standards or additions, but must adhere to those identified in the IA RX Fire Guide and BLM Supplement.
Timeframe: This IM is effective upon receipt with a two year transition period to update existing prescribed fire plans. All existing prescribed fire plans must be updated within two years. Those updates must include the elements in the IA RX Fire Guide and a technical review certifying that the prescribed fire plan has the minimum elements found in the IA RX Fire Guide. Those prescribed fire plans that are still in development stages are required to be completed utilizing the new IA RX Fire Guide standards.
Budget Impact: There is minimal budget impact from this IM.
Background: Federal prescribed fire programs are guided by the principles of the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy and Program Review and the 2001 update. Collectively, these principles establish that wildfire suppression, wildland fire use, and prescribed fire programs be implemented equally, consistently, and concurrently as a means to mitigate fire risks. This policy emphasizes firefighter safety as a consideration in planning and as a priority in operations (Wildland Fire Management Policy, June 2003).
The IA RX Fire Guide was developed by an interagency team of prescribed fire subject matter experts in response to the NFAEB task to develop common language and unified direction and guidance for agency/bureau manuals, directive handbooks, and guidelines related to prescribed fire planning and implementation. The direction and procedures in the IA RX Fire Guide meet all policy requirements described in the 2003 Interagency Strategy for the Implementation of Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy.
Directives Affected: The IA RX Fire Guide and the BLM’s additional standards replaces IM No. OF&A 2004-003 and the attachment (Prescribed Fire Management, July 2000, Updated October 2003) which provided BLM’s direction for prescribed fire planning and operations.
Coordination: This IM was coordinated with the Office of Wildland Fire Coordination, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), National Park Service (NPS), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the United States Forest Service (USFS).
Contact: If you have any questions about this guidance or other prescribed fire planning and implementation procedure issues, please contact David Mueller at 208-387-5151.
Union: Offices with a union must follow negotiated procedures.