County Officials Want Access to Wildfire Fighting Equipment
The National Association of County Officers (NACo) on Monday passed a resolution introduced by Laramie County Commissioner Buck Holmes to support the continuation of programs that provide surplus military equipment to state and local governments for use in fighting wildfires.
Citing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations related to emissions standards, the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has recently halted the transfer of this equipment, including trucks, pumps, generators and engine parts. Passage of the resolution adds NACo to the growing list of groups concerned about the new policy’s impact on local governments’ ability to fight wildfires.
According to a news release, until recently, the surplus military equipment has been made available to state and local governments through two programs, the Federal Excess Property Program (FEPP) and the Firefighter Property Program (FFP). These programs typically result in the transfer of equipment with a total value of approximately $150 million to states and counties. Over the past five years, Wyoming has been the beneficiary of over $4.5 million in firefighting equipment through these two programs. So far in 2014, 83% of all wildfires have been responded to by state and local fire agencies, even though many of the fires were on federal lands.
Approximately 40% of the wildland firefighting equipment in Wyoming was acquired through the FEPP program.