Overview: National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy
Elements of a National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.
Vision for this Century
The WFLC adopted a vision for this century, “To safely and effectively extinguish fire when needed; use fire where allowable; manage our natural resources; and as a nation, to live with wildland fire.” The Cohesive Strategy will address the nation's wildfire problems by focusing on three key areas: Restore and Maintain Landscapes, Fire Adapted Communities, and Response to Fire.
In response to requirements of the Federal Land Assistance, Management, and Enhancement (FLAME) Act of 2009, the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) directed the development of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (Cohesive Strategy).
The Cohesive Strategy is a collaborative process with active involvement of all levels of government and non-governmental organizations, as well as the public, to seek national, all-lands solutions to wildland fire management issues.
The Cohesive Strategy is being implemented in three phases, allowing stakeholders to systematically develop a dynamic approach to planning for, responding to, and recovering from wildland fire incidents. This phased approach is designed to promote dialogue between national, regional and local leadership.
Phase I: National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy
Phase I involved the development of two documents: A National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (PDF, 1.7 MB) and the The Federal Land Assistance, Management And Enhancement Act Of 2009 - Report to Congress (PDF, 1.3 MB). These documents provide the foundation of the Cohesive Strategy.
To develop these documents, 15 listening forums (14 in-person and one on the Internet) were held across the country from April through June 2010 with representatives from all levels of fire-fighting organizations, state and local governments and non-profit organizations to engage stakeholders and gather input regarding critical issues, values, timelines, concerns, priorities, and planning. Forums were held in locations throughout the country from Alaska to Virginia and drew more than 450 attendees and garnered 375 comments.
- Cohesive Strategy Forum Comment Summary (June 30, 2010) (PDF, 257 KB)
- Anchorage Forum (PDF, 42 KB)
- Barnegat Forum (PDF, 38 KB)
- Billings Forum (PDF, 27 KB)
- Boise Forum (PDF, 27 KB)
- Casper Forum (PDF, 107 KB)
- Chattanooga Forum (PDF, 77 KB)
- Olympia Forum (PDF, 54 KB)
- Phoenix Forum (PDF, 78 KB)
- Reno-Great Basin Forum (PDF, 35 KB)
- Ruidoso Forum (PDF, 49 KB)
- Sacramento Forum (PDF, 39 KB)
- San Antonio Forum (PDF, 19 KB)
- Washington DC Forum (PDF, 30 KB)
The draft documents received rigorous review by the WFLC, agency leadership, and stakeholders. The final drafts were approved and released to the public in March 2011. The Secretaries of the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture transmitted the following signed letter to specific United States Senate and House of Representatives Committees submitting these documents.
- Letter from Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and United States Department of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack (PDF, 90 KB)
Several of the partner organizations in the cohesive strategy effort also submitted transmittal letters in support of the reports and the continuing cohesive strategy process.
- Letter from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (PDF, 222 KB)
- Letter from the National Association of Counties (PDF, 114 KB)
- Letter from the National Association of State Foresters (PDF, 129 KB)
- Letter from the National League of Cities (PDF, 119 KB)
- Letter from the Western Governor's Association (PDF, 126 KB)
Phase II: Develop Regional Goals, Objectives and Portfolios of Actions and Activities
On June 7, 2012, the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture, together, released (PDF, 155 KB) the A National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy-Phase II National Report (PDF, 7.1 MB). The report was crafted working closely with Federal, state and local governments, tribes, non-governmental organizations, and citizens.
In Phase II, regional assessments were completed to address the national goals to the needs and challenges found at regional and local levels. Regional Strategy Committees representing three regions of the country—the Northeast, Southeast, and West—examined the processes by which wildland fire, or the absence thereof, threatens areas and issues that American value, including wildlife habitats, watershed quality, and local economies, among others.
In Phase II, three regions are identified by the WFEC: Northeast, Southeast, and West.
The Regional Strategy Committees provided the executive leadership and oversight to the Phase II process. They include one representative from each organization (i.e., the membership reflects that of the WFLC membership).
- Northeast Regional Strategy Committee
- Southeast Regional Strategy Committee
- West Regional Strategy Committee
The Secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture transmitted the following letter submitting the Phase II National Report and outlining Phase III of the Cohesive Strategy.
- Letter from Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and United States Department of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack (PDF, 52 KB)
Several stakeholders expressed support of the Phase II development process and committed effort during Phase III, including:
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and United States Fire Administration (USFA) (PDF, 34 KB)
- International Association of Fire Chiefs (PDF, 79 KB)
- National Association of State Foresters (PDF, 181 KB)
- National League of Cities (PDF, 104 KB)
Phase III: National Risk Trade-off Analysis
Phase III involves taking the qualitative information gathered in Phase II and translating it into quantitative models that can help inform management actions on the ground. Once the strategy is finalized, it will be implemented across the country and overseen by the WFEC, which will establish a five-year review cycle to provide updates to Congress.
Regional Risk Analysis Reports
Trinity Ridge Fire (Idaho, 2012) operations planning. Photo credit Kari Greer, National Interagency Fire Center.
The Regional Risk Analysis Reports were designed as a practical decision support tool for wildland fire management organizations, Federal, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and local communities. The Regional Reports suggest how key elements can be integrated into a strategy; examples of how-to “braid” Federal, state, local and private interests; ideas on how projects and funds can be better aligned and leveraged; and profiles of organizations that have blended these lessons to build stronger collaborations. Recommendations and strategies identified in these reports can make lasting improvements to the safety of our communities and health of our landscapes.
- Northeast Regional Risk Analysis Report (PDF, 5.2 MB)
- Northeast Regional Risk Analysis Report Executive Summary (PDF, 139 KB)
- Southeast Regional Risk Analysis Report (PDF, 23.0 MB)
- Southeast Regional Risk Analysis Executive Summary (PDF, 3.4 MB)
- Western Regional Risk Analysis Report (PDF, 11.7 MB)
- Western Regional Risk Analysis Report Executive Summary (PDF, 151 KB)
Final Regional Action Plans
The Wildland Fire Executive Council (WFEC) accepted the final Regional Action Plans for each of the Cohesive Strategy Regions: Northeast, Southeast, and West. The WFEC tasks the Cohesive Strategy Sub-Committee (CSSC) to use the regional action plans to inform the development of the national action plan. The National Risk Analysis Report and National Action Plan will become WFEC recommendations to the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) and ultimately to the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture. The regional action plans reflect the regional perspective that is important in the development of that national-level recommendation. Implementation of actions identified in Regional Action Plans is the responsibility of the sponsoring organizations at the discretion of those organizations.