Providing equipment or services for wildfire suppression

Bulldozer clearing a firebreak on the Maxwell Fire (2006). Photo: DNR
Bulldozer clearing a firebreak Photo: DNR

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works well ahead of each fire season to develop and improve its access to fire suppression equipment and services. As part of this effort, DNR seeks preseason agreements with privately contracted resources, so it can pull in outside resources quickly when needed.

This year, DNR is taking an interagency approach to preseason agreements by partnering with the U.S. Forest Service Region 6 Fire and Aviation Contracting Team (FACT). The goal is for more efficient dispatching of resources and a streamlined contracting process.

This year, DNR will use the following agreements to contract with private contractors to supplement its wildland fire response.

  1. Virtual Incident Procurement (VIPR) Agreement

VIPR agreement system allows contracting officers to electronically create, award, and manage solicitations and agreements – most of which have three-year terms. This year, the VIPR agreements include DNR-specific terms and conditions making them suitable for use on incidents where DNR is the paying agency. Resources that have a VIPR agreement will not need an additional agreement with DNR.

  1. U.S. Forest Service Emergency Equipment Rental Agreement (EERA) Source List

If you have equipment that is not currently awarded on a VIPR agreement, you may sign up through the EERA process to place that equipment on the Region 6 Source List. Resources that have completed a preseason sign-up through the U.S. Forest Service EERA process will not need an additional agreement with DNR.

  1. DNR EERA Agreement

If you are interested in participating only on DNR-managed incidents and do not already have a VIPR or U.S. Forest Service EERA, then you will need to complete the DNR preseason EERA sign-up process.

To reduce duplication of effort and unnecessary paperwork for contractors and contracting officers alike, DNR now replies on one joint interagency database for VIPR, U.S. Forest Service EERA and DNR EERA agreements. Resources are dispatched based upon closest forces, cost effectiveness and other considerations.

Questions & Answers:

  • Will I be required to respond outside of my preferred area? No. You decide where you are willing to take your equipment, regardless of agreement type.
  • Will I be required to respond to specific incidents or to a certain number of incidents each season? No. You are always free to decline any assignment.
  • Will I be required to maintain ‘availability’ at specific times or for a specified length of time? No. VIPR agreement-holders state their availability online to help dispatch centers select the most appropriate contractor. Those signed to EERA agreement simply decide to accept or decline an assignment when contacted by dispatch.
  • What Equipment Operator Training is required?
    • RT-130 or equivalent training from an approved provider is required for VIPR and Forest Service EERA agreements. For a complete list of approved training providers for Washington and Oregon, please go to the FACT page and view the list of Approved Training Providers.
    • DNR’s Equipment Operator Training (formerly called “Blue Card Training”) is adequate ONLY for the DNR EERA Agreements. As in previous years, we will send notification of training dates and locations. 
  • Does my equipment need to be inspected? Maybe. An inspection by an approved provider is required for some equipment. For more information about which types of equipment require an inspection, links to each inspection documents and a complete list of approved inspection providers, please visit Equipment Inspections.
  • Why are these changes being made? This year, DNR is taking an interagency approach to preseason agreements. Partnering with the U.S. Forest Service Region 6 Fire and Aviation Contracting Team (FACT) will be more efficient for dispatching resources, with the added benefits of streamlining contract use, payments and financial obligations. One joint, interagency database will allow DNR to search and use VIPR, USFS EERA and DNR agreements. 
  • Where can I find more information?
    • For more information about VIPR agreements and how to apply before March 14, 2017, please visit VIPR agreements.
    • For more information about the U.S.. Forest Service EERA Source List, please visit USFS EERA.
    • For more information about DNR EERA agreements, please visit DNR EERA or call 360-902-1300.