Suppression Operations

Firefighters cut fireline

The Suppression Operations activity funds the emergency and unpredictable aspects of the Department’s Wildland Fire Management (WFM) program.  Suppression Operations include a range of actions taken to manage wildfires in a safe, cost-effective manner, while protecting values at risk in a manner consistent with resource objectives and land management plans.

Wildfire response actions range from intensive suppression when wildfires on public lands threaten communities, high value resources, or critical ecosystems, to monitoring wildfires in areas where burning accomplishes resource benefits or where it is too dangerous to place firefighters.  Emergency stabilization (ES) of stream banks and soils is undertaken during and immediately following a wildfire to reduce the risk of resource damage caused by floods, landslides, and erosion.  Emergency stabilization is performed within one year of containment of a wildfire; these projects may be monitored for up to three years after containment using ES funding.

Suppression Operations program costs include expenses incurred by fireline, command, and support personnel required above those costs covered by Preparedness. The Suppression Operations activity also funds temporary emergency firefighters, aircraft flight operations and support, logistical services, supplies, equipment (including replacement of lost or damaged capital and expendable equipment), contracts for goods and services, administrative support directly associated with incidents, and immediate measures to repair damage as a result of wildfire response activities.

Severity funding, which provides extra preparedness resources in above-normal or extreme conditions, is included in Suppression Operations.  Severity funding is used to improve initial response capabilities when abnormal, severe wildfire conditions occur.  Abnormal wildfire conditions arise when wildfire seasons start earlier than normal, last longer than normal, or exceed average high fire danger ratings for prolonged periods.  Severity funds typically are used to temporarily increase firefighting staff, pay for personnel and equipment, pre-position wildfire response units, conduct additional aerial reconnaissance, and acquire other supplemental contract services.  Severity authorizations are subject to strict controls to ensure expenditures are appropriate and warranted.