NVFC Participates in White House Summit on Wildland Fire
May 31, 2016
On May 18, National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chairman Kevin D. Quinn and NVFC Wildland Committee Chairman Ron Roy represented the Council at a summit meeting hosted by the White House to address complexities associated with wildfire in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and other senior federal officials participated in the meeting, which featured several panel discussions, including one on firefighter safety and operations.
“I’d like to thank President Obama for convening this meeting to discuss the nation’s increasingly serious wildland fire problem,” said Quinn. “From the perspective of the nation’s volunteer firefighters, who live in and protect many of the communities that are under direct threat from wildland fire, the critical piece that cannot be lost in this discussion is the importance of protecting people and property. When it is your home town that the fire is bearing down on, nothing else matters.”
During the summit the NVFC representatives stressed the importance of the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) program, which helps fire departments located in the WUI purchase equipment and training to fight wildland fire. Volunteer fire departments provide initial attack on 80 percent of the wildland fires in the United States but many lack the resources to pay for critical equipment, apparatus, and training.
“As we talk about the wildland fire problem and consider possible solutions, I encourage you to take a minute and look at it from the perspective of volunteer firefighters who live in the WUI,” said Quinn. “Many of them use older equipment and rely on used or converted vehicles, but when the fire is burning and the tone sounds they head out to fight it. This happens thousands of times every year all across the country and we need to do everything that we can to ensure that the boots on the ground have the tools that they need to fight fire safely and effectively.”
The NVFC also has a program in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to train fire service volunteers on how to properly conduct safety assessments for homes in the WUI to help make their communities more fire adapted. The Wildland Fire Assessment Program prepares volunteers to identify steps homeowners can take to better protect their property from the next wildfire. Learn more at www.nvfc.org/wfap.