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Natural Resources


DoD Wildland Fire FAQ

  • Why is DoD interested in wildland fire?
    • DoD Manages over 27M acres of land. with fires posing a threat to military training and infrastructure, creating potential threats to DoD’s mission. The threat wildfires pose to the Department’s mission is only increasing with climate change as wildfire frequency and severity increases. Wildfires outside of DoD’s boundaries have the potential to impact critical infrastructure and increase the demand on federal resources potentially requiring further DoD assistance through DSCA. Additionally, wildland fire is a needed natural process that maintains ecosystem function, influence plant and animal lifecycles, and directly supports habitat needed by many threatened and endangered species.
  • How do installations manage wildland fire?
    • Each Military Service, command, and installation manage wildland fires based on their mission, location, community, and the natural resources, ecosystems, and species that they work to conserve. DoD wildland fires are typically managed by personnel from Natural Resources, Fire and Emergency Services, as well as Federal, state, and local agency cooperators.
  • What is NWCG and why did DoD join?
    • The National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) sets standards for personnel qualifications, equipment, and operations for agency interoperability in wildland fire management. Member agencies work together to develop those standards through the work of dedicated committees, subject matter experts, and consensus process across member agencies. DoD joined to implement and meet the highest standards for wildland fire operations across its installations, as well as to have a voice and use its expertise to benefit the development of wildland fire training and qualification standards.
  • What does NWCG membership mean for DoD?
    • NWCG membership provides DoD with standards for wildland fire training and qualifications across the Department. NWCG membership is one step in a long process to empower the DoD wildland fire workforce to safely and professionally manage wildland fire incidents on DoD installations.
  • Does NWCG membership change how we will use military resources for federal firefighting?
    • No. DoD membership in NWCG does not change Defense Support for Civil Authorities (DSCA) response. USNORTHCOM will continue to coordinate with NIFC to assist federal incidents with existing personnel training and qualifications required by NIFC for military use. The National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) Handbook can be found at: Military_Use_Handbook.pdf (
  • Can military installation civilians go on federal fire assignments now?
    • Individual DoD Civilian personnel and resources are not mobilized on interagency federal incidents through the current DSCA process under the interagency MOU. NWCG membership provides for training and qualifications standards, not operational deployments. DoD Civilians will continue to follow their Military Service policy and procedures related to interagency support, mutual aid agreements, local/regional interagency agreements, and installation Immediate Response Authorities (IRAs) for local and regional wildfire incidents.
  • How are military resources used for wildland fire now?
    • Military equipment and personnel assist with federal wildfire incidents through Defense Support for Civil Authorities (DSCA). Additionally National Guard personnel and equipment support state and local fires as required by their state. The National Guard’s FireGuard program provides satellite detection of potential fires, increasing the remote sensing capabilities of wildland firefighting efforts across the country.
  • What are the next steps now that DoD is a member of NWCG?
    • DoD is working on developing department level policy establishing NWCG qualification and operations standards as those accepted for use on DoD managed lands.
  • Where can I find more information on NWCG?

The NWCG website is: NWCG | NWCG is an operational group designed to coordinate programs of the participating wildfire management agencies.

  • How can I get involved?
    • Anyone wanting to help DoD with wildland fire operations should work through their appropriate chain of command to learn how to participate on NWCG committees as a DoD representative or to find the best opportunities to help DoD continue its professional management of wildland fire installations.
    • For anyone who wants a job in DoD wildland fire, search USAjobs and any of the interagency cooperators that DoD works with.