Wednesday, February 28, 2007

IAWF survey: Fewer Wildland Firefighters To Be Available

The Thirtymile fire, started by an escaped campfire near Winthrop, Washington, claimed the lives of four U.S. Forest Service firefighters July 10, 2001. On January 30, 2007 the U.S. Attorney in Spokane, Washington, charged the Incident Commander of the fire with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and seven counts of making false statements.

The International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF), a non-profit, professional association representing members of the global wildland fire community, initiated a survey of wildland firefighters after hearing speculation that some firefighters were no longer going to serve in certain key management positions on wildland fires due to the new threat of going to prison for making mistakes on fires. The objective was to collect data to determine the scope of the issue, and provide objective information to the wildland fire agencies. Wildland firefighters were invited by e-mail and postings on wildland fire forums to take the survey, which could only be taken once from each computer.
The survey was taken by 3,362 people. The IAWF hopes that the data it collected about the effects of the criminal charges will assist wildland fire agencies and policy makers to formulate a strategy for mitigating the adverse impacts that the survey identified.

The complete survey results can be found on the IAWF web site at in the News Releases section.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer." --Abraham Lincoln

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