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Operation Care and Recovery


Four wildland firefighters silhouetted by the flames of a forest fire in front at night.

One of our jobs is to care—to care for our own, for the people we serve, and for the lands we manage. As a caring organization committed to core values of service and interdependence, the Forest Service has in place, Operation Care and Recovery: a system-wide approach to supporting the Washington Office, regions, stations, Job Corps Centers, and communities in care and recovery from the all-hazard events of 2021, including fires, hurricanes, pandemic, and other natural disasters.

Our intent is to create an efficient, centralized location where our employees can learn about programs and resources to assist and support their needs. We focus on five areas:

  • Helping our employees recover
  • Helping our administrative units recover
  • Helping the communities we serve to recover
  • Coping with short-term impacts on natural resources
  • Meeting needs for long-term recovery
  • Pandemic/COVID-19 Resources

    Image of the COVID-19 virus.

    This link leads to an internal/employee page that can only be accessed by computers on the Forest Service network.

  • Wellbeing and Support

    Risk Management and Firefighter Safety and Health

    What’s available to you in the USDA Forest Service for wellbeing and support?

  • Work Environment and Performance Office (WEPO)

    Chris French, Chief Moore & others look at a map to discuss post-fire treatment.

    "Working to ensure everyone feels safe, valued, respected and enjoys a sense of belonging."

Avatar of a faceless human character pointing at a map on the wall while two other sitting avatar humans watch.

We’re all Human…All of us go through difficult situations at the times and need help in dealing with issues that can dramatically affect our work and our lives. Reach out to your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Provider.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Information on topics such as subsistence/personal property claims, emergency leave transfers, use of weather and safety leave, and Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) contacts can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions about Employee Resources page.

NEW EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM PROVIDER!
While most regions and stations will begin their transition into the new contract, regions with current contracts will transition on a rolling basis once their current contracts end. Clients who call from these identified regions will be routed to their current EAP provider/contract plan.  Contact Shelly Pacheco, for more information: Email:  shelly.pacheco@usda.gov; Phone: (505) 328-5725.

Services Provided by ESPYR our new EAP Provider

This information is also available as a PDF (208 KB)

USDA Forest Service has partnered with Espyr® to provide employees and eligible family members with a comprehensive EAP, including all of these services:

  • Health Coaching - 6 telephonic sessions with a certified health coach who will help you set and achieve goals to improve your health and wellness.
  • Life Coaching - 6 telephonic sessions with a coach to help you develop skills, maximize strengths, and overcome barriers to reaching your full potential.
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Training - 6 virtual one-on-one sessions to develop calming and focusing strategies and to learn and practice mindfulness in everyday life.
  • Counseling Support for stress, marital and family problems, job related concerns, life transitions, work-life challenges, emotional issues, and other concerns.
    • TalkNow® provides immediate access to counselors for in-the-moment support, and guidance.
    • Up to 6 EAP sessions for assessment, short-term counseling, and referral.
    • Telephonic, video, and in-person options available.
  • Legal assistance for issues such as divorce, family law, wills, adoption, and more. Identity Theft Recovery and mediation services are also available. Get a free 30-minute consultation and 25% discount off the mediator or attorney fees for services rendered beyond the EAP.
  • Financial consultation regarding debt matters, investment options, money management, taxes, and retirement planning. Financial personnel services are discounted at 25% as are CPA tax preparation fees.
  • Work-Life specialists provide consultation, information, resources, and verified referrals for most all personal and family needs such as:
    • Childcare and Eldercare
    • Adoption
    • Academic
    • Health and Wellness
    • Pet Care
    • Relocation
    • Concierge

FS Agency-wide: ESPYR®
Member Login/Agency: USFS
Phone: (833) 621-2989 
Smart Phone App: Espyr Connect (Download to work or personal cell phone)

CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS MANAGEMENT
Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Peer Support provides education, support, and assistance to government employees for incidental or cumulative critical incident stress experienced in the performance of their jobs and/or in the event of other emergencies, natural disasters, or other traumatic events. Interventions provided by Critical Incident Peer Support Groups (CIPS) and Mental Health Providers (MHP) follow the protocols of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF). The national CISM framework under the Casualty Assistance Program promotes a consistent response across the Forest Service and in cooperation with interagency partners.

CASUALTY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The Forest Service Casualty Assistance Program (CAP) takes a coordinated approach to assist employees, their families, and the larger interagency community following a casualty (while people usually associate the term “casualty” with death, casualty support also refers to support the Forest Service provides after a serious or traumatic injury or illness). CAP provides support for both work and non-work related (off-duty) fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. The program educates employees and agency leaders on what support, benefits, and resources are available to employees and their families following a casualty; ensures managers understand agency procedures and legal authorities; trains official agency liaisons to engage with family members and hospital staffs; and provides critical incident peer support to those impacted by the casualty.

Interim Directive for FSM 2358 - National Saw Policy

Good afternoon colleagues - In October 2020, the agency issued an Interim Directive (ID) for FSM 2358- National Saw Policy to extend expired sawyer qualifications for one year until October 8, 2021. This extension was issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions that limited the agency’s ability to conduct in-person saw trainings for staff to keep current on their saw certifications. The ID enabled the agency to continue mission critical operations that involve saw work.

We have heard that there is a need to provide another extension due to the ongoing pandemic and associated restrictions on travel and in-person trainings. I want to let you know that on October 8, 2021, a new Interim Directive to FSM 2358 - National Saw Policy will be published to extend expired sawyer qualifications until December 31, 2022. This extension only applies to sawyers with current certifications and does not apply to initial sawyer training and certifications. This extension will allow firefighting efforts to continue as well as other critical field work, and will allow ample time for necessary training and certification reevaluations to occur. The new ID will be posted here: https://www.fs.fed.us/im/directives/.

Please contact Pete Duncan, National Saw Program Manager, at Peter.Duncan@usda.gov with any questions.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/employee-services/care-recovery