Aquatic Invasive Species - Fire Operations Guidance Background

Aquatic Invasive Species heading

Why? Because of the large expanses that fire crews travel, their potential to serve as vectors for spreading aquatic invasive species is significant. Firefighter and public safety is still the first priority, but aquatic invasive plants and animals pose a risk to both the environment and to firefighting equipment.  Avoidance and decontamination can prevent the spread of these organisms.

The National Wildfire Coordinating Group and the Invasive Species Subcommittee have approved the 2017 ‘Guide to Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species Transport by Wildland Fire Operations’, an interagency, nationwide guide to mitigate the risk of transporting and spreading invasive species in all fire management activities. This document is backed by research at San Dimas Technology and Development Center and recent scientific literature, and has been vetted by interagency fire aviation and ground operations groups, as well as invasives scientists. The intent is to provide clear and straight-forward, yet effective, preventative measures and decontamination methods for use in wildland fire operations.

The Guide moves firmly away from wholesale use of large volumes of chemicals for decontamination, and instead relies on procedure. For example, instead of decontaminating the insides of 500 gallon engine tanks which may or may not contain AIS, the focus is on priming the engine pump with source water and not the tank water. This eliminates the possibility of residual tank water entering a new waterbody through a leaky footvalve.

list itemGuide to Preventing Aquatic Invasive Species Transport by Wildland Fire Operations (NWCG 2017)

Safety and Chemicals Information

list itemEffects of the quaternary ammonium disinfectant Green Solutions High Dilution (1.8%) on metals and non-metallic materials used in fire operations [McBride, G., 2013]

list item Precautions for mixing quaternary ammonium and chlorine products - a near accidental mixing of hazardous chemicals at the 2013 Little Queens Fire (Idaho City Ranger District, Boise National Forest)


Material Safety Data Sheets

list itemClorox - this is an image only.

list itemGreen Solutions High Dilution

list itemSanicare Quat 128



If you have questions or comments,
please contact Cynthia Tait, 801-625-5358 or