The U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region recently welcomed French fire officials Captain Philippe DelQuie and Major Pierre Bisone. The visit was part of a very successful seven year educational collaboration between France and the U.S. through the Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management’s International Fire office.
They hail from the Bouches-du-Rhone (Aix-En-Provence) Fire Department, a provincial fire agency in the south of France.
At home, their duties include wildland fire management in a Mediterranean climate similar to that found on national forestlands in southern California.
Their 12-day tour included stops at several national forests, national parks and local fire agencies.
Bisone and DelQuie visited the Southern Geographic Area Coordination Center in Riverside, Calif. Local media joined the pair as they met with San Bernardino National Forest fire officials at the San Bernardino Air Tanker Base.
Among the aspects of Forest Service operations the pair observed were aviation, emergency communications, multi-agency coordination and managing complex fire programs in wildland urban interface areas adjacent to large communities.
A similar contingent from France visited the U.S. in 2010. On that visit they observed prescribed fire operations in Florida. In 2012, a Forest Service fire instructor and a French Canadian instructor will travel to France and teach incident management courses.