Wildland Fire Policy

We develop and review federal policy to ensure consistent and effective wildland fire management across the Department of the Interior and with our many partners.

 Wildland firefighters assemble a sling load of gear on a wildfire near Helena, Montana.

Wildland firefighters assemble a sling load of gear to be transported via helicopter on a wildfire near Helena, Montana. (Matt Irving, BLM contract photographer)

Why Policy?

Policy provides the playbook that guides the Department of the Interior’s Wildland Fire Management Program, which includes thousands of people working in a variety of bureaus and offices across the country. This playbook helps with all facets of wildland fire management, such as planning for wildfire suppression, post-wildfire recovery, fuels management, safety, training standards, or ensuring that wildland firefighters are wearing the right gear. 

Many people contribute content to that playbook. The president issues proclamations and executive orders. Congress enacts laws. The Secretary of the Interior publishes departmental manuals, secretarial orders, and strategic plans. The Office of Wildland Fire director issues policy memos and other directives, and the Interior bureaus issue policy as well.

Policy Development

Staff in the Office of Wildland Fire develop, interpret, and review policy so that the Department of the Interior implements a single, coordinated wildland fire program. We also coordinate policy and program reviews to ensure the Department’s wildland fire activities follow applicable laws, align with strategic plans, and comply with existing policies. Further, we respond to requests by the Office of Management and Budget, members of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, and other governing bodies. This consistency promotes interoperability with other federal and non-federal institutions.

Department Policy

The Interior Department develops policy to guide operations across the department. These policies can be found in the Electronic Library of the Interior Policies. Handbooks and policy memoranda specific to wildland fire are available in the Wildland Fire Management folder.

Bureau Policy

Four bureaus manage wildland fire on behalf of the Department of the Interior: the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Visit their websites to learn about policy specific to their operations.

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