What do we mean when we say ‘Preparedness Levels?’

Smokey Bear always prepares for wildfire

Each year, you may hear about ‘Preparedness Levels’ during the wildfire season. The National Multi-Agency Coordination Group (NMAC), located in Boise, establishes the National Preparedness Level for each day throughout the year to help assure that firefighting resources are ready to respond to new incidents.

In a similar manner, the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC) in Portland sets the Preparedness Level for the Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon) for the current day. Fire managers use National Weather Service fire weather forecasts, along with Predictive Services products from the NWCC, to set fire precaution levels and anticipate the workload associated with initial attack and large fire support which are key components in preparedness planning.

Adequate preparation means knowing the preparedness levels. Preparedness Levels are set after considering fuel and weather conditions, current and expected fire activity, as well as factors that influence the availability of firefighting resources.

The five Preparedness Levels range from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest level. As the Preparedness Levels rise, more firefighting resources are generally engaged and needed.

For additional information, check out the documents on Preparedness Levels on the NWCC Publications page.

For current wildfire incidents throughout the nation, go to the Incident Information System website.

Also, stay connected during wildfire season:

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