All too often Americans hear about wildland fires ravaging various corners of the country. Each and every day there are brave men and women working to suppress and prevent wildland fires on a nearly 700 million acres of federal public land – that’s approximately one-fifth of the total land area in the U.S.
At the heart of our nation’s wildland fire fighting efforts is the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). NIFC is the definition of interagency cooperation and is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The more than 600 employees representing eight different federal and state agencies serve as the logistical and support base for wildland fire across the nation.
From the National Interagency Coordination Center – a “Command and Control” center – NIFC monitors the entire nation. But more importantly the center is engaged in proactive fire management including hazardous fuel treatments, fire-use, and integrated fire and land-use planning. This means that although we may not see a fire burning on the news, these dedicated men and women are working hard every day to keep us safe. Their track record is impressive to say the least. Each year tens of thousands of fires ignite and that is when NIFC springs into action. The result is that 95 percent of these fires are suppressed within 24 hours.
NIFC and its employees are a model organization and a great example of the power of collaboration