USA — The U.S. Forest Service has entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Volunteer Fire Council to develop the Wildland Fire Assessment Program (WFAP). The two-year program will provide firefighters with training on how to properly conduct assessments for homes located in wildland-fire areas. This will be the first program that specifically prepares a firefighter for how to conduct an assessment and what to look for during an assessment, as well as provides departments with the printed materials they may need.
The NVFC will identify existing resources for wildland fire planning that can provide volunteer firefighters and Fire Corps teams with the background information they need to accurately perform assessments. Through this process, the NVFC will identify gaps in training and resources and work with partners to address unmet needs.
Based on this review, the NVFC will create or modify materials in order to develop a classroom-based course complete with an instructor guide, handbook, and PowerPoint presentation. The course will be offered in 10 locations determined by need, rates of wildland fire incidents, and geographic diversity. For those unable to attend a live class, an online course will be available on the NVFC website.
In addition, the NVFC will develop a toolkit that will include a checklist that departments and Fire Corps teams can use when meeting with homeowners. The number of assessments will be tracked and the data gathered will provide invaluable information regarding the level of protection that currently exists. Departments will be able to determine how close they are to becoming a fire-adapted community where the people, structures, and landscaping are prepared to withstand the effects of wildfire and whether or not their area is a community at risk.
Any department or Fire Corps program that is interested in participating in WFAP or would like to be added to the email list for updates on the program can fill out the WFAP online form. The in-person courses will be offered starting in summer 2012.