Spotlight On Wildland Fire Management
NFPA Journal®, March/April 2012
What fields, industries, or occupations do your members come from?
The Wildland Fire Management Section has a very diverse membership. We have representation from wildland firefighters, foresters and arborists, mitigation and prevention specialists, and related industries such as apparatus manufacturers and protective equipment providers. The section includes members from federal, state, and local government, and the private sector, as well as homeowners.
David Nuss is NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division Manager, overseeing all of NFPA’s wildland fire activities, including the Firewise Communities program, and national and international outreach and advocacy for wildfire issues.
Previously, he served for 10 years as the NFPA Denver Regional Manager. Before Dave joined NFPA, he was a career firefighter and progressed through the ranks to deputy chief over 22 years of service in Colorado and Oregon.
What codes and industries are important to your section?
There is a wide variety of codes and standards of interest to section members, ranging from wildland apparatus design and personal protective equipment to standards for infrastructure design in the wildland/urban interface and home ignitability. Equally important to our members is the information we provide for Fire Adapted Communities and the Firewise Communities Program. Proactive, community-based prevention and mitigation strategies are a big part of what our members do.
What are the key code issues for your section right now?
The standards related to wildland fire apparatus seem to get the most attention. Identifying the differences between structural fire apparatus and wildland apparatus is generating discussion.
What key code issues do you anticipate your section will face in the near future?
As we accept the report on the regulatory environment for the wildland/urban interface that the Fire Protection Research Foundation worked with us on over the last year, we see regulations around land use, infrastructure design, and home ignitability getting a lot of attention, particularly how NFPA standards might be used as a basis for local requirements in wildland/urban interface communities.
What’s an example of a specific event recently in the news or of an ongoing trend or upcoming issue that provides a real-world connection to your section’s code concerns?
The wildfire activity in Texas this past year really brought to light the fact that it is not just a west coast issue and that pre-fire prevention and mitigation strategies to reduce losses can and do work. There were significant losses in those fires, but also many examples of saves from people who took precautions for their own homes.
What are members saying about those Texas fires?
As all levels of government cut budgets, there has been a lot of discussion about, and interest in, other sources of revenue such as fees put in place in California on homeowners who live in the wildland/urban interface.
What events and activities has your section recently completed, and what’s coming up?
We have made some significant changes in the past year in an attempt to provide section members with up-to-date information and ways in which to interact more with each other. First is the advent of Fire Break, a new monthly e-newsletter that goes out to all section members and other interested parties. The second is the section’s Linked-In page, which has served well as a forum for discussion and connection on wildland fire issues. Third is the re-design of the section logo with a new and fresh look. And finally, the section has a greater presence at NFPA’s Conference & Expo, with more presentations on topics of interest to our members.
What do members get out of belonging to this section?
We provide up-to-date information through our e-newsletter and website, as well as opportunities for members to interact with each other and discuss issues that are important to them through our expanded social media sites.
How can section members become involved, and what is available to help them?
The best way to be involved is to participate in, and initiate discussions on, the section’s Linked-In page and to attend the section meeting and related presentations at the NFPA Conference & Expo.