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USFS Fire Suppression: Foundational Doctrine

Sen. Maria Cantwell's April, 2005 statement on:
Wildland Firefighter Safety Act of 2005

Ed Hollenhead's March, 2005 proposal:
The Review of Fire Suppression Doctrine for the USDA Forest Service

Jim Cook's June, 2004 analysis:
Trends in Wildland Fire Entrapment Fatalities

Jim Saveland's 1995 Wildfire article:
Creating a Passion for Safety vs. Management Oversight & Inspection

Professional Status:
The Future of Fire Service Training and Education

USMC Doctrine: Warfighting


Foundational Doctrine

June, 2005


Forest Service Mission

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.” We express our mission as, “Caring for the land and serving people.”

Fire management is central to meeting the Forest Service mission. Fire management is holistic and we believe that fire can be both beneficial and destructive.

Fire is a natural process that has profoundly shaped the landscape and is vital to restoring and maintaining ecosystem health. We will take initiative to enable fire to play its natural role where appropriate.

Like wind and water, fire also can be destructive and can be a formidable threat to critical ecosystem components, human life, and communities – such instances require decisive and creative action on the part of the Forest Service to protect values both within and adjacent to National Forest system lands.

Fire Suppression

When it’s time to fight fire, we will do so with maximum efficiency and the highest regard for safety, operating in and occupying that critical ground between risk aversion and unacceptable risk. Our intent is to protect life, property, and at-risk lands and resources.

We expect creative and decisive action and directly support our people on the ground. We grow and adapt while preparing for and learning from the chaotic and ever-changing operating environment.

Every Forest Service employee will support fire suppression emergencies.

The Forest Service’s greatest asset is our people and their knowledge, skills, and initiative working within our highly adaptive organizational approach. In emergency situations, we effectively mobilize a professionally trained, highly efficient workforce able to bring order to chaos. We will manage incidents as effectively, responsively, and efficiently as possible, providing the American public with the best value for their investment.

Other Emergency Response

While the primary responsibility of our fire suppression force is wildland fire suppression, we will support national emergency situations when asked or ordered.

We also will respond when human life is immediately at risk, or there is another clear emergency, and the responders consider themselves capable of assisting without undue risk to themselves or others.

In responding to emergencies, we will bring the same highly adaptive organizational approach, professionalism, and passion for safety to these situations.

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