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Interagency Wildland Fire Chemicals Policy and Guidance

Retardant drop over Cove Creek Fire

Aerially applied fire retardant and other fire chemicals reduces wildfire intensity and rate of spread, decreasing risks to firefighters, enabling them to construct fireline safely. In many situations, the use of retardant in concert with firefighters on the ground allows the Forest Service to safely meet its responsibilities to protect landscapes, resources, and people.

Interagency Policy

Interagency Policy for Aerial and Ground Delivery of Wildand Fire Chemicals Near Waterways and Other Avoidance Areas

Aerial Fire Retardant Avoidance Map

U.S. Forest Service Aerial Fire Retardant Avoidance Areas Map Viewer

USFS Aerial Fire Retardant Implementation Guide

Interagency Wildland Fire Chemicals Reporting Tools and Forms

The Wildland Fire Chemicals Reporting on-line tool is currently off-line.  To report misapplications and to complete your 5% assessments please use the forms below and email your completed forms to Laura Conway. 

Getting Started with the Reporting Tool 

Reporting and Monitoring Requirements by Agency - Which Form Do I Use?

Wildland Fire Chemical Misapplication Reporting Form Instructions

Spill Calculator

The spill calculator executable file is relatively large and the program must unpack and load temporary files every time the program runs.  the first time the program opens it may take a minute or two to load so please be patient.  

PDF Forms (for field use)

Interagency Wildland Fire Aerial Fire Retardant Misapplication Report 

Aquatic Site Assessment Report (for USFS only as part of report #1 above) 

Terrestrial Report (for USFS only as part of report #1 above)

Interagency Wildland Fire Aerial Foam, Gel or Ground Misapplication Report

Assessment of Fires Less than 300 Acres 

Project Documents

Supplemental Information Report 2020

Record of Decision

Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion  (Pages 1-395) (Pages 396-789)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Biological Opinion 

Aerial Fire Retardant Use on National Forest System Lands

Previous years – see Appendix C, Final Environmental Impact Statement 

What's New:

  • Webinar: Aerial Fire Retardant, The Forest Service and You: Fire Operations Resource Advisors and Managing for ESA Species - May 2017

Nationwide Aerial Application of Fire Retardant on National Forest System Lands

Background Information:

In October 2007, the U.S. Forest Service issued an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (DN/FONSI) entitled “Aerial Application of Fire Retardant.”

In February 2008, the U.S. Forest Service amended the DN/FONSI by incorporating the reasonable and prudent alternatives proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries during the Section 7 consultation process prescribed by the Endangered Species Act.

In response to these activities, on July 27, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Montana issued a decision that invalidated the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to adopt the “Guidelines for Aerial Delivery of Retardant or Foam Near Waterways.”

These historical documents are located here.

In 2011, the U.S. Forest Service released a Record of Decision (ROD) and an Environmental Impact Statement

In response to the ROD, the Interagency Policy for Aerial and Ground Delivery of Wildland Fire Chemicals near Waterways and Other Avoidance Areas was revised from the 2000 and 2009 Guidelines noted above, a new reporting tool was developed and an Implementation Guide for the U.S. Forest Service was completed.

Ferguson Fire helicopter dropping retardant
Ferguson Fire helicopter dropping retardant