New BLM Program Will Help Boost Rural Wildland Firefighting in Oregon
Portland, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management is launching a process to transfer excess vehicles, equipment and supplies to local fire departments and Rangeland Fire Protection Associations in Oregon to enhance their wildland firefighting capabilities.
Under BLM’s new Rural Fire Readiness (RFR) program, local wildland firefighting cooperators that meet certain requirements may receive at no cost wildland fire engines, water tenders, radios, pumps, hose, chainsaws, hand tools, personal protective equipment, fire shelters and other items the BLM no longer needs. This year the BLM will be transferring five engines to local fire departments and Rangeland Fire Protection Associations. Each fire engine will come stocked with $3,000 worth of firefighting tools, hose, and appliances.
“The Rangeland Fire Protection Associations and local fire departments are sometimes the first responders to a fire and fight alongside BLM firefighters. In addition, they benefit public lands by bringing a local knowledge of road access to remote areas, and a desire to protect the public’s land,” said Chris McAlear Acting Oregon/Washington State Director.
Oregon has a robust network of 23 Rangeland Fire Protection Associations covering over 16 million acres of rangeland. The BLM works hand in hand with other federal and state agencies, local fire departments, and Rangeland Fire Protection Associations to respond to wildfires on land under each other’s protection.
To receive wildland firefighting vehicles, equipment and supplies through the RFR program, local fire departments and Rangeland Fire Protection Associations must meet a number of requirements:
- have an existing cooperative fire response agreement with the BLM;
- serve a rural community or area;
- have wildland fire protection responsibilities;
- located in the vicinity of, or within, the wildland urban interface; and
- in close proximity to BLM-administered lands and respond to wildland fires in support of BLM when available and as needed.
The BLM is currently accepting applications from local fire departments and Rangeland Fire Protection Associations to receive any available vehicles, equipment and supplies. The agency expects to complete the initial application and evaluation process in December and to start transferring the excess items to local fire departments and Rangeland Fire Protection Associations prior to next fire season.
Additional information about wildland firefighting in Oregon/Washington is available at: https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.